Maybe I’m just speaking for myself here, but in my experience, aside from a quiet, peaceful house, there are few things a mom really wants for her birthday:
- Less jelly rolls
- A whiter smile
- Fewer wrinkles
- A cure for chin hair
- A tighter butt
- Perkier boobs
Okay, maybe just a few things. My 37th birthday was yesterday and I gave myself a gift nobody else could give me. I gave myself the gift of empowerment. As I stood in front of the mirror looking at myself, fully exposed, I thought about all I had endured. As a girl, as a single, independent, educated woman, as a mother of 3, as a wife; as a lover, as a survivor, as a fighter, I’m all here.
My presence was the best present I got and I didn’t even mean to give it. My husband and kids woke me up to coffee and gifts. Before my amazing hubby left, he gave me a $100 bill and told me to go pamper myself (he’s pretty awesome). By the time noon rolled around, I was just finishing work on my blog and still in my PJ’s. I decided to take a hot shower and go from there.
That’s when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Usually I see fat, then I silently berate myself for not going to the gym enough or eating like crap lately. Usually I see wrinkles and droopy body parts that time (and childbirth) has bestowed upon me. Usually I see spots, and paleness, and unwanted body hair, and the list goes on, and on, and on.
Usually I see flaws, but on my 37th birthday, I saw sexiness and felt empowered. I saw a woman whose strength has carried herself, and her family through sadness, anger, and fear. I saw lines around eyes that first looked upon the miracle of her daughters. I saw wrinkles forming around lips that have been given so many reasons to smile and laugh. I saw soft skin worshipped by a man who loves her. I saw a beautiful, powerful 37 year young woman.
Did this just happen? Is it a gift from the universe? Are my hormones aligned perfectly right now to help me see this beautiful image of myself on the 37th anniversary of my birth?
Nah, although I’m a sucker for Shakespeare, I’m no fortune’s fool. My life has been a culmination of triumph and failure. I have overcome challenges and loss. I’ve created the life I’m living and I’m making a conscious choice not to let insecurity overshadow happiness.
It helps to be surrounded by amazing people. Parents who aren’t perfect, but have always reminded me of my amazing presence in the world. My husband who makes me feel beautiful and encourages me in everything I do. My kids who give me more love than I could ever imagine. Finally, close friends and family who support me without judgement. At 37, you pretty much get to choose your circle and I’ve selected carefully.
I spent a lot of time searching for my purpose; wondering, questioning, guilting myself along the way. I’ve taken a lot of risks in my life in order to find true happiness. While I will continue to make mistakes and fumble through life, I’ll remember my 37th birthday.
I’ll remember to take a moment, and give myself the gift of appreciating who I am right now. From where I’m standing, that naked chick is pretty freakin’ amazing!
3 things you can do to empower yourself today
1. Embrace your flaws
Our flaws are part of who we are; stop fighting them and start accepting them. You may never have that squat booty but you’ve worked your booty off to get where you are today. Eat right, cheat a little, exercise as much as you can tolerate and stop comparing yourself to others who have a different story than yours.
2. Create an unbreakable circle
I already mentioned how important it is to choose a circle of people who encourage, support, love and appreciate you, but I think we all have people in our lives who make us feel bad about ourselves. I have 2 at the present moment. These are people who stalk you on social media and find fault with just about everything you do. As if we don’t already know what our flaws are, these people find it necessary to point them out. If you’re like me, you’ve tried to be who you think they want you to be, only to fail and feel even more inadequate. The thing is, to people like this, you will never be skinny enough or pretty enough. You will never have a better car or bigger house. These people want you to feel small, because it makes them feel better about themselves.
Toxic people usually come in and out of your life, and for good reason. If it’s possible to prevent them for infecting your life for good, move on. If not, take away their control by being yourself in their presence. Maybe your happiness will infect them (probably not, but it’s worth a shot).
Note: If you find yourself comparing your armpit fat to the armpit fat of every new girl you meet, it’s not her, it’s you. Once you can get over your own issues, you’ll develop better relationships, beginning with your relationship to yourself.
3. Be present
Who you were, and who you are yet to be, can only be controlled by how you handle it right now. If you decide to hold on the your failures and mistakes, or live in fear of what may be (or what may never be), it will distort the image looking back at you.
Instead, accept who you are right now. Look at your flaws and remember everything that brought you to this moment. Say them out loud if you’re finding that voice in your head hard to believe. I promise you will stand taller when you realize how powerful those flaws are to who you are and why you are here.
If these affirmations don’t work, seek support. We all need someone in our life we can talk about our fears and inadequacies. If you don’t have someone, reach out via support groups online. If you need information on support groups out there, please let me know.
My 37th birthday was a reminder that while I am not perfect, I am healthy, and happy, and loved, and so proud to be expertly flawed.