Friday, February 22, 2008


so yesterday morning, I was taking a shower.

this is my time of day to let the hot water calm and soothe, as well as mentally plan my upcoming day.

for the most part, the kids have been agreeable for me to indulge in this hot-water therapy every day. I mean.. they're still running around like banshees... but they're kind enough not to get hurt and to stay within my proximity during the process.

so that morning... just as I was soaping up and looking at my body.. I caught a flash of a very naked rhena streaking through the bathroom.


for once, I did not stress about my child's tendancy to strip her clothes and run 'free' as a regular part of playtime. I actually got a little jealous.

it's not that *I* want to run around with my girly bits exposed... but there was something about rhena's unabashed comfortability that made me wistful. When did I start to hate my body? and more importantly.. how can I keep that from happening to rhena?

I'd LIKE to think we're doing a good job.. cause this child LOVES herself. just ask her, and she'll volunteer how she IS the prettiest dancer and that God made her 'just perfect', and that she's LUCKY to have 'crazy hair' and so on and so on. So it would APPEAR that she has a good body image. So how come I can teach her to be that way, and not take a dose of my own medicine?

I seem to first remember hating myself in high school. It was somewhere in the vicinity of 12th grade. which is odd enough, because ALL through high school it was common knowledge that certain girls had eating disorders and/or took laxatives so they would be thinner. But despite knowing what OTHER girls put themselves through.. I was always fine with myself. I was ME. and I was fine with that.

But just when all was going fine.. settled into senior year, I was class vice president, captain of this and that team... college planned out.... something happened. In true high school fashion ONE girl got a bug up her ass about SOMETHING, and all hell broke loose. I became the target of one girl's hormonal fury, and next thing I knew, my whole world was up-side-down. girls that I had known since GRADE SCHOOL gave me icy stares and muttered "fat" under their breath as I would walk down my row to my seat. one girl, in particular, who was quite homely and had me by at least a good 20 pounds, snarled at me and gave me the treatment. That, I think, was the deepest cut. For all the times I included HER at the risk of being seen as 'uncool'... SHE was turning on me.

needless to say, I shut down. To this day, with the exception of maybe one or two friends... I still harbor an indifference for the people I went to high school with. That period in high school taught me the true value of friendship, and that people in high school were only in my life because of the coincidence of where they lived. By graduation, all the 'surface' appearances and behaviors were made nice and cleaned up. But I left SWMHS a hardened person.

in many ways I suppose it provided me with an invaluable education in life. the next 10-15 years allowed me to socialize, date, and be professional without too many people ever being able to get under my skin. well.. except maybe myself.

since then, I have never really been able to be thrilled with what my body looked like. sure.. I spent a FARE amount of time in college and in seattle dancing on speakers in night clubs, and wore very little clothing in the process. though wearing 'very little clothing' at a club in the 90s seems so PRUDE compared to some of the outfits I see worn on TV these days.

but back to my point. here in stepford and around charlotte, I see MANY women wearing outfits that flaunt and accentuate their bodies. I know of some hens here in the hood that insist on wearing clothes in a tighter size because they can. (not saying that I or anyone else in the free world think they SHOULD... just that they can and do.)

I guess it makes me a little jealous. jealous that they have the confidence or enough self love to not cringe when they look in the mirror. maybe they, too, have a secret self-loathing, but are better at faking it. I personally, am tired of faking it. I just want to feel good in the skin I'm in.

and it's not to say that I don't APPRECIATE the body I have. it successfully conceived and gave birth AND nourished two of my greatest accomplishments. my feet have walked miles for a cause very important to me. my legs have stood against and helped me walk away from ridiculous situations. my hands and arms have touched and held people that this world is truly better off for them being in it. but when I look in the mirror... I don't see that. or at least I FORGET to see that.

I was just reading another blog the other day about surrounding yourself with people who accentuate your life. and that idea is SO applicable in this scenerio, too.

Rhena is happy in her own skin because she is surrounded by people who love every inch of it. I continue to have issues with my outer shell because I choose to associate with people who place high value on external appearances. And have 'friends' who remind me that my arms will always be fat. of course.. I also have friends and family who love every inch of me... but I tend not to hear them as much as I hear the unhealthy 'friends'. I need to stop that. especially before rhena starts to follow suit.

and maybe now, after writing this out, I understand that I'm not jealous of rhena. I'm happy. happy for her, and happy that despite my own image-issues, she remains unscathed and accepts everyone and everything as just right in shape and size.

even me.


WILLIAM said...

Thanks for the shout out. I believe in what I said about surrounding yourself with people that you want want to be like. One of the hardest aspect about that though is making sure you surround yourself with you first and like you first.

Marianna said...

I avoid mirrors at all cost. I know I have a lot of work to do & every time I catch a glimpse, it reminds me HOW much.

That being said, something funny happened at the local craft store last weekend. It was me, John, John's sis & BIL. John's sis & hub were ahead in an aisle & John & I were almost standing side by side. We were in an aisle of mirrors. I caught my backside in one of the mirrors & I actually liked what I saw! I liked what these jeans I was wearing did to me! It was quite interesting & I stared a bit more. Til John said "What the hell are you doing?!" I NEVER EVER EVER do that ~ stare like I was. But what was funnier is that he caught me looking. He hasn't let me live that down yet!


Susie said...

Good post, Carrie. I have thought the same thing of my child. When I help Liam off with one shirt and on with another, in between he sort of tickles himself, lovingly touching his arms and shoulders and chest with his hands. He'll say "I love my skin!" I hope he always will.

And you are one of the most beautiful people I've ever met. MWAH!

Wethyb said...

Birdseed?? LMAO

Great post. I can totally relate to EVERY aspect of it....the high school crap, the wanting another body, all of it.

Glad I'm not the only one.

Rachie said...

Aunt Kathy!!

Carrie is stripping in her room!!

Ah memories

Kelli said...

Loved this one. It's so true. I think that often as well...raising girls is so hard when you struggle with certain insecurities, as we all do.
I, for one, find you absolutely fabulous. You're beautiful, smart, funny and a terrific loyal friend. If my opinion counts for anything. =)