MAKE ME A PRINCESS
Word count 1030
I get out of the shower, and repeat the same daily routine. I apply makeup to my face, pluck my eyebrows, and smear mousse in my hair. I apply concealer under my eyes to attempt to hide the large, dark bags, and try to make my hair look as if it has volume that it will never accomplish without a wig. I pull some clothes out of my closet and try to match them with the theme color of makeup I happen to be wearing. I think about the way I look continuously, and not because I care of what anyone else thinks of me. I do this to myself because I donít look the way I used to, and I donít like it. Anyone who knows me all say the same thing: youíve had two children only three years apart; of course you look different, everybody looks different after having children. When I hear this I feel like screaming, ĎWELL I DONíT WANT TO LOOK DIFFERENT!í Iím quite a perfectionist at almost anything I do. Perfectionist or not, I think a lot of mothers and daughters think like me. I donít believe in the slightest that Iím alone in this. We, as woman beat ourselves up about the way we look, and for what? Making ourselves look different is just that. Itís a synthetic and temporary physical version of us. I do this to myself, yet still cannot figure out why. I donít feel good about the way I look, and analyze it too often.
I have two beautiful daughters, and a satisfying and solid relationship with the man of my dreams. I also know that he knows Iím beautiful, inside and out. He tells me often that Iím beautiful and intelligent. This does boost my confidence. So, whatís the problem? I know that everything should be fine, but I canít seem to shake these feelings. Is it society, the media, my upbringing, or my adolescent stage with artificial and superficial boys? I wouldnít normally care why I feel this way, but I have two girls that I want to raise as intelligent, and confident women. If not for myself, at least for my daughters, I need to resolve this. I would despise myself if I ever saw them following in my footsteps.
Constantly I go through the same sequence in my head: my breasts arenít where they used to be, my lower half is covered with stretch marks, my hair is falling out, my stomach is like Jell-O with cellulite, and my feet are disgusting. The strange part about this is that I still see myself as an attractive person. The question is why do I beat myself up over these small flaws? My fiancťe is perfectly content with the way I am. He compliments me all the time, and not just saying that Iím pretty, but specific things about myself. Therefore, it comes down to me. Something inside of me is always saying youíre not attractive enough. Who am I competing with? Sometimes I think Iím competing with myself. Itís as if thereís the young me inside of my head mocking the way I presently look. I know that a lot of women, young and old, single and married, go through the same things that I do. That scares me the most. I wouldnít wish this on my worst enemy.
I donít consider myself to be shallow in any way, and anyone who knows me would say the same. Shallow, and materialistic people disgust me. You know the ones, and if you are one, you know who you are. All of these thoughts and feelings make us do the strangest things: breast augmentation, liposuction, face-lifts, hair dye, laser surgery, nail polish, and tons of makeup. What a waste of time and money. The thing I hate most of all is that I have thought about all of these things. I want breast surgery to keep my breasts perky, and laser surgery to rid me of the scars of child bearing. I spend way too much money on hair dye, nail polish, and makeup. Itís such a waste of my money, yet I still do it. When I spend a couple extra minutes on my makeup in the morning, my confidence level for the day is higher than normal. Just a little color on my face, and my mood is completely different than usual. Deep down inside, I know this is merely a temporary mood lifter, but I go for it anyway. I also know that it doesnít change who I am at all. Why do detailed makeup and stylish clothes and hair boost my confidence? Why do I care where my breasts are, how many stretch marks I have, and what my feet look like?
I do the strangest things as well. I always have socks on to hide my feet, even when Iím sleeping. I donít even want to think about wearing shorts. Iím truly dreading summertime. I plan to wear Capriís to replace the shorts I used to wear, and when I flip through a catalogue for bathing suits, I look at the cover-ups more than the actual suits. I only buy shoes that completely cover my feet. I even keep my bra on when my fiancťe and I are intimate so the girls will stay in the place they used to be. I even keep it on when Iím sleeping. Even those water bras are beginning to look good. Forty or more dollars on a bra, and Iím actually pondering it. I even want to get that new pill that supposedly increases your bust size in the hopes that they will be firmer. Sometimes I think I should see a psychiatrist, then I remember that most women think this way whether they admit it or not.
My hope is that things will change. Iím going to. Someday society, and media wonít revolve around bleached hair, big breasts, and long legs. Someday women wonít feel inadequate just because of their sex and they way they look. Someday we will be free of these foolish thoughts and feelings.
(Published in Womenís Health and Fitness February/March issue)
(Featured on Criss Cross Magazine Online; www.crisscross.org)
(Also in the October 2002 issue of the Emphasis On Moms newsletter; www.emphasisonmoms.com)