This weekend was exhausting. By the time we were travelling back from the Midlands, trundling down the motorway at 11pm with the boys strapped into their seats and slumbering away, I felt like my eyelids were weighing me to the floor. On Saturday alone, by the end of the day – which began at 5.30 thanks to Hero deciding it was time to play – I’d been to Drayton Manor Park and photographed the two bigger boys on VertiGo, rushed back and met my cousin to photograph her and her lovely husband before their at home reception, raced home at 6.30pm to shower and was then back for the evening reception by just after 7pm.
Add dancing, parenting and being sociable into the mix [when you wish you could sneak forty winks] an early start for Sunday, and now, on Monday morning, my poor body is screaming for recovery.
I look awful. So bad – although my nails are still pretty – but let’s face it, by the end of today I’m not going to look any different – and on the school run I’ll appear to have been pulled through a hedge backwards, but I’m pretty comfortable with that. Better that than the other option….the compliment.
Compliments. Not on my work, but my appearance.
I’m not good with them at all. How do I handle a compliment? So badly. And it’s not because I don’t want them, either. Because I do. I would love to feel good about the way people see me. Yet kind words I just find them so, well, uncomfortable.
Here’s what happens…
Kind person: I love your dress, it’s gorgeous on you.
Me: Ahhh, I’m only wearing it because my jeans are filthy/it’s only cheap/I’m holding my breath in.
Poor Husband: You look lovely. Me: Are you sure? Do I look alright? I’m still huge. Do you love me? Am I too fat? Do I look fat? Do I look awful? *Cue breakdown, tears and husband wishing he’d kept quiet*.
I’ve worked off 2 stone in weight since March [although there has been a reversal of this over the past month as I’ve been unable to make it to my Slimming World meetings and have comforted myself with chocolate biscuits] but I know I look better than I have done since Hero was born. So I should feel good.
Should. But it’s hard. What if feeling good about myself means I’m a narcissistic, egotistical person? What if people laugh at me, for feeling happy with my looks?
I veer away from vlogging – or rather, having myself on a vlog – because I worry people will think I’m a monster – and the more I become concerned with others’ perception of what I look like, the more I completely forget the values that I perpetually try to encourage in my boys – that it’s not the outside that matters, but the inside. Feeling good should come from who we are in our hearts, shouldn’t it?
Essentially, because we’re sadly a superficial species – and as my husband will tell me, that’s how it’s always been since the dawn of time. We look for attractive traits in people that we’re surrounded with. And as a person that cares very little for the way other people see him, I wish I was more like him.
However, whilst I do cringe if anyone compliments me [unless it’s my husband – then I just plain try to convince him he’s wrong] I do wish I had the time to take care of myself more often, to feel good about myself, which means trying to look unlike I’ve been wrestling with a bear and wearing something I feel happy in. This afternoon, my mom volunteered [read: was handed camera and forced] to take photos of just me and my husband, in a gorgeous new dress I have from ASDA, to see if I could feel good and believe in compliments.
I uploaded the photos to photoshop – and left me as I am. No shrinking. No reshaping. Just me.
Am I happy with my size? No.
Is my size who I am, does it change my intelligence or personality? No.
Will my boys love seeing me and their daddy, happy together in photos when they look back through our albums, or will they be worried that I wasn’t a size 10?
Despite my size, can I overlook it and like the way I look?
Honestly, I can say that yes, I do. And, although no one in my entire household except for Lyoto [who always takes time to tell me I’m his princess] said I looked nice, I felt pretty. And yes, I feel obnoxious for saying that.
In the photographs I look happy – I felt happy, in my new dress. Blue is my favourite colour and I love the style of the shoulders on the dress, which was light and airy, and so comfortable as it didn’t constrict me at all.
Wearing my sparkly Summer flip flops and having literally just hopped out of the shower [no chocolate smeared through my hair yet] I felt fresh, and clean, and happy. It doesn’t take much, but it happens so rarely that I feel good on the inside.
I read the YouGov survey about women and compliments – and as a nation we’re quite appalling at accepting and believing them. I know that I need to create a balance. I need to look a little better than I generally do every day at home, in order to feel good. But I also need a little better perspective on the me that people see. Big is not bad. Big is not ugly. Big is just as beautiful as every other size, and just as deserving of love and care…and compliments.
THIS IS A COLLABORATIVE POST WITH ASDA.
How do you see you in photographs?