January 7, 2009 by Marj Hatzell
Growing up I never cared one way or the other about how I looked. If my hair was messy or my face was dirty or my clothes didn’t match, c’est la vie. I was barefoot, filthy, scabby-kneed and tomboyish. Until my parents put their feet DOWN, I was also without a shirt. Yes, me, without a shirt. Since I was built like a twelve-year-old boy until about sixteen it didn’t matter anyways. But at the age of ten they were all, “OMG! YOU’RE A GIRL AND THE NEIGHBORS! WHAT WILL THEY SAY!” As if they weren’t already rolling their eyes over the nine-million little imps running around the twelve feet of grass we had in the front yard. Or the piles of crap on the porch. Or the duck-taped curtains in the window. Or…
When it finally hit me that I WAS A GIRL I was probably in eighth grade. You know, when all of the other girls were about three years into their cycles and wearing bras? When the other girls were getting their hair layered into “wings” and wearing combs in their socks (Cat-lick school, y’all) and experimenting with jewelry and nailpolish? I had my nose stuck in a book. When the other girls were writing “I love John S.” in their notebooks I was doing crossword puzzles and learning how to do cryptograms. I was a teensy bit of a late bloomer. The boys would tease me, saying things like “You’re a pirate’s delight! A sunken chest!” or “A lumber jacks dream! Flat as a board!” And I’d be all, “Ha ha! I get it” and then inside I was all, “Yeah. I’m flat. Shut up.” And then I turned fourteen in the fall of my freshman year of high school. I started my cycle. I still wasn’t wearing bras. There were BOYS in some of my classes at an all-girl school. The teasing continued. And one day I decided I was going to ask my mom for a bra, which she delivered. It was blue. Our uniforms had white shirts…
Needless to say, I was ONE AWKWARD TEENAGER. I still didn’t get it, I was teased, I’d cry sometimes, but mostly because they were teasing me, not because they hurt my feelings. I honestly DID NOT CARE if I was skinny and short and buck-toothed and flat-chested. I did care, however, that I did not seem to fit in. I’d cry for hours that no one liked me. Then I got involved in band and orchestra and school plays. I met kids as awkward and geeky and unaware of social norms as I was. And then I felt like I fit in.
Yeah, I was a band geek, wanna make something of it? I’ll hit you with my most powerful weapon. My flute.
So, I guess you could say I was popular with the guys. I dated half the band, at least. I didn’t dress the best and bought ill-fitting stuff from thrift stores. I was experimenting with hairstyles and clothing (shaved the side of my head. Dyed it red. Then blonde. Then dark brown. Then red again. Then I pierced the tops of my ears. Myself. With a potato. Don’t ask.). I was still skinny but I had a big butt and I got teased for it. But I was all, “So what! I like it!” And then high school was over and I was all, “PHEW! LESS SOCIAL PRESSURE!” And then I took nine years and four majors to finish my Undergrad. TRUE STORY! And all this time I really didn’t care what I looked like.
And the I got married. And he likes me plain, no makeup, no jewelry, no fancy clothes. Because it’s cheaper. I mean, because it’s more natural. Yeah, that’s it.
Do I like my body? YES. I know I don’t wear makeup. I’m lucky to find two earrings that match. My wedding ring hasn’t fit since I had babies. But I can honestly look in the mirror every morning and say, “I like the way I look.”
Nope, I’m not perfect.
I have stretch marks. On my boobs. Somehow I got NONE in the usual places.
I have spider veins on my legs.
I am getting crowsfeet.
I have cellulite.
I have huge, wide feet.
I have rosacea.
I think my nose is too big for my face.
I have a big butt. I was first, J Lo and Kim!
My ears are two different shapes and sizes.
However, I am healthy. I like my hair color (even if it is currently going grey). I am in good shape. I still get stares when I’m out with my husband (although, I was so gullible I thought they were staring at the logo on my shirt or because I had something on my cheek). I still get mistaken for being younger than I am. People are usually shocked to find out I have two kids. My stomach is very flat for having babies. I still fit into junior’s sizes (when I want to, those rises are WAY. TOO. LOW). My chest is a decent size and not too droopy. I have a cute, perky haircut.
Seriously. I think I’m pretty smokin’ hot. And not in a “LOOK AT ME! I’M AN ATTENTION WHORE!” kind of way. In a “Gee, I’m satisfied with how I look, how I act and how others view me.” Kind of way. I attempt to remain positive in all situations. I do my best to make people happy. I try to reflect my inner beauty at all times. Sometimes I’m successful. I try to wear decent clothing (stuff that fits and that is made for a woman, despite the fact that my husband’s clothes are much more comfy) and do my hair once in a while. And I love my body. Because it has been good to me, so I’m trying to be good to it. Cheesecake for dinner? Ok, not the best I can do, clearly. But once in a while, my body is very happy with it. Salads for lunch? Body is much happier, yo.
I have this theory. If you love yourself, take care of yourself and spend time with yourself, your body pays you back tenfold. You will project confidence and positivity. You will appear to be satisfied and content. And then your attitude reflects your insides and your insides reflect your outsides and then TADA! You are happy. Those around you are happy. Those who notice you on a daily basis want to bash you over the head because you are smiling too much and making them HAPPY when they want to be MISERABLE and complain into their coffee. Some people are content being miserable. I do not understand this. Even when I am at my lowest point, scrubbing poo off my carpet, up all night with Thomas the Tank Engine, no shower, wearing frumpy clothes (yes, today. How did you know?) I’m still, “Hey! It can only get better! At least I still have potatoes!” and all is right with the world again.
Until the little boy upstairs while I’m typing this makes a huge tidal wave and it leaks through the kitchen ceiling. Ooooops.