I wrote this many years ago. I have shared this with you before, but because I had so many comments of camaraderie and because I think that many of you can relate–I decided to re-publish this week.
Coming out from underneath the cloak of winter … well, it can be a tough transition. I want you all to know I am here for you and I can appreciate your pain … remember, it always feels good to shed a new layer every spring. 🙂
“Give me your honest opinion …” (wince)
One spring day, a while back, I went shopping for summer clothes with one of my best friends. We shop well together. A day filled with laughs, planning and world problem-solving. AND trying on clothes.
Just today, as I was jumping into my clothes, getting ready to head out to the barn, I did a quick run by the mirror, and twisted around to get a rear view of how things looked from behind. I thought of my friend and that day we shopped together. How fun.
The picture that came to my mind, and still makes me laugh when I think about that day, was that of her twisting herself inside out to look in the mirror, at her butt, as she asked me the age-old question, “Does this make my butt look big?”
At the time, I didn’t laugh because that was a very serious question. I had just asked her the same thing about my own butt 2 minutes earlier when I tried on a pair of jeans in the same dressing room.
We all know this: Our butts are serious business when we go shopping for clothing. It’s how that certain body part looks that is the end-all be-all “bottom line” determiner of the purchase. No pun intended.
This is how it goes: We try on clothing, we look in the tiny mirror, and then we hem and haw and deliberate. We ask that most pressing question to ourselves or anyone else around us while we turn and fuss at ourselves in the reflection looking back at us, which acts as our own magnifying glass.
Will anyone else confirm what I think I know — that all of this fussing is ridiculous!
The color, the cut, the shirt style to go with, the back pocket-size, the belt that I put with it, and the list goes on and on — it all plays an important role in determining how I perceive my butt to look, how I feel about myself. Right?
Is the rest of the world so critical of me — on this point? (Really, I doubt it.)
And it really is just my own perception, my own sticking point. Maybe that is why my friend and I are good shoppers together? We both focus on the same thing — our butts!
I play this voice recording over and over in my mind that fuels my doubts: If I really knew the truth about how my butt looked, maybe I would never buy another pair of these jeans again? Maybe I should cloak myself in loose fabric for the rest of my life? Not very practical around the farm, Kate. Do the cows really care? No.
(Oh voices go away … I am tired. I don’t want to deliberate on this anymore.)
If only I was a man. I could try on a pair of something, surmise that it fits by the way it feels, practically speaking decide that it does the job, and buy it … wishful thinking, I am not a man (sigh).
As a result of my momentary butt mania, I bring in the heavy hitters, the consultants; only my most trusted friends, my sisters, or my mother to weigh in on the backside. I have to be thoughtful on who I ask — I want truth in the matter. Serious truth.
The challenge is that we all have in our minds what we are looking for on the outside of ourselves.
Is it even possible to hit the mark that we set for ourselves?
I’m not sure that my butt has ever been good enough — the poor thing. How terrible for me to always put it under a microscope. I can be cruel and unforgiving on the matter. No wonder it’s so big, it has to protect itself from the wrath of me!
I think that it is time to let go of this. Shed the layer of scrutiny that I put on myself.
Should you consider this too? Letting go of your unreasonable expectations of your body?
When we look in the mirror at ourselves, we should focus on the positive and praise our gifts. Let’s choose to focus on our smiles, good nature, forgiving hearts … everyday.
So, I am going to make a pledge to be better to my butt (and the rest of me!) this season as I start donning my summer clothes.
The reality is, no matter how many hoops I jump through, handstands I do, or bends and twists I make, I am not going to change a thing. I have been here, with me, for a very long time. And try as I may, to get a good, straight-on look at that one thing that so desperately stares back at me, gnawing at me to do something about it, I just don’t think it’s possible for me to see it clearly if I am constantly analyzing and focusing in on it in a negative way.
We all have our moments. I think if we just step away from the mirror and focus on something different, we will appreciate that of which we have been so critical.
You are beautiful, I am beautiful, everyone is beautiful when we are true to ourselves.
Simple. As is. In true perfect form. You. Me. Everyone.
Cheers to sunshine, fitting rooms and best friends! Now bring on the cutoff jean shorts, tank tops, and flip flops — in between the barn chores!