I wake up feeling a frazzled mess. I look a frumpy mess, too. Hair going in every direction. My part off. Oily feeling. Bad breath. No make-up. Pale as a ghost.
I see you notice me.
You watch the way I chew my breakfast—my "Mama cereal" as the girls call it, with fiber—probably thinking I'm chewing all wrong. I know I'll never get that tooth straightened out—the one I can barely chew on because it's so sensitive. I really can't help it. No, I don't have perfect teeth. Yes, thank you for reminding me that I ate too much sugar in my younger years. I regret that now.
You notice every new wrinkle. And you even have the audacity to say something to me about it. "Look at that new engraved wrinkle under your eye." You point at it, touch it, probably measuring it.
Why are you so hard on me? Oh, Me.
I'm not young anymore. I'm standing in the middle of the road. I deserve to have a few wrongs that are right. They are right. God made me, so they must be right.
From my head to my toes—you know. Nothing escapes your scrutiny. Do you not have anything better to do? Why do you care so?
You notice my every gray hair. I had a breast cancer scare just weeks ago, afraid I'd lose life and all my hair to chemo. And you're worried about gray hair? You even run your hand over my new ones, pointing them out. It kind of crushes my heart. You even encourage me to use black-and-white photos so that my gray hair doesn't show as much. I just had my hair highlighted for the first time in my life, thanks to you. $$$ I'm trying to cover the discolored. But to be honest, I'm thankful you don't pull my hair out anymore. That really hurt. My daddy's hair is totally white. He used to pull out his gray hairs, but he had to stop that or he'd have gone bald. I know the thought of my hair color permanently changing forever hurts the heart a little ... but if you pulled my gray hairs now, I'd be partially bald. So really, I'm glad you stopped that. Thank you very much.
Oh, Me. No, I'm not going blind. Well, yes, my eyesight is getting worse. So I guess technically I'm going blind. But readers are cute, right?
My nose? No, it wasn't broken. The x-ray showed it wasn't broken. And no, I don't have nose cancer like Ma-Maw thought. Yes, I did fall out of the bed once when I was a little girl, but honestly, do you think it's possible that my nose profile is the way it is because that's how God made me? I know that one profile side is terrible. I know. You really don't have to remind me. No pictures taken from the right side. I got it. I see you throw away pictures that accentuate that side profile. How do you think that makes a person feel?
My slightly deviated septum? Really? You're actually gonna go there? You see me use nasal spray most every morning. No, I can't help it. Yes, I have allergies.
That one dark hair that keeps popping up above my lip? No, I'm not growing a mustache. I'm a girl. I try to keep it pulled. But I just forget about it. This is all new. I'll remember. I'll try. I'll get it pulled and any friends that try to accompany it in the future. Yes, I'll try not to embarrass you.
My teeth. No, they aren't as pearly white as they used to be. I know. But yes, I've started using whitening toothpaste, and I even stopped drinking Diet Coke and coffee. What else do you want from me?
My neck. How could you point out the wrinkles on my neck? Aren't they beautiful? No, my skin isn't as firm anymore. But yes, when I hold my neck a certain way, the wrinkles aren't as visible. I'm trying.
My back. Crooked spine, I know.
No, my skin isn't creamy smooth like in years past. Yes, my arms are speckled like bird eggs, like my grandmother's and my mother's. News flash: it'll only get worse from here on out. We have fair skin. And maybe we spent too much time in the sun. I had a few brown spots removed the other day, causing sores temporarily on my arms. Face it, you didn't like me with the spots or with the sores.
And I've been working on my biceps and triceps. I've improved. I've gone from lifting 2 lb weights, to 3 lbs, and now up to 5 lbs.
My pectorals? Now that's just cruel. But just between you and me, maybe the weightlifting will improve that, too. I'm trying to remedy the sagging. Stop nagging.
But could you just make up your mind about me?
Could you just love me for me?
Don't you dare look at my stomach. No. Don't you dare. But you do. Don't you? I'm not slim enough. When I eat anything with fiber, you comment on the pooch. And maybe there's a pooch without the fiber. Okay, I'll be honest. But why? Why do you always have to look and comment? Can't you just keep quiet? Keep your thoughts to yourself? But no. And then you tell me not to wear those shorts or that skirt because they make my tummy look poochy. Really? Yes, I'm working on my abs. Haven't you seen me doing tummy crunches? I ride the imaginary bicycle most every night, on the closet floor.
Don't you dare say something about my thighs. I know you're dying to. I don't know how to fix the dimples there. If I run, I'll just end up needing knee replacements. My grandmother needed knee replacements, living years in pain. My mama had knee replacements. Bad knees run in my family. I'm walking. I'm trying. I'm trying to age gracefully.
Stop looking so closely at me.
Stop inspecting me.
And my glutes ... stop it. I'm not 18 anymore. I know I wasn't very consistent with the squats. I tried to be. I really did. Six months or more. But clearly, you didn't notice an improvement anyway.
Stop it. Stop it.
Dear Me. And you wonder why I have so many headaches.
My feet? Really? I can't help it that a toenail got crushed years ago. My baby dropped her full apple juice cup ... it's a sweet memory. My body is like a photo album full of memories. So stop picking on me. I keep my toenails painted in red to hide that nail. Ugh. What else do you want from me?
What? Is the roughness on my heels so horrific to you? So you bought me a sander. Stupid me ... I grew up thinking only wood needed sanding. Thank you. I'm trying. And I sand my feet Sunday mornings so I can wear my sandals ... maybe not as often as I should, but I'm trying.
Can't you just love me for me? Please?
Me, you are so hard on me.
God wouldn't be.
Dear Me, please love me for me.
Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them. —Deuteronomy 28:14
Do to others as you would have them do to you. —Luke 6:31
You were ready to pummel "ME" for me? You were, weren't you? Thank you.
How do we remain content with ourselves, when the world tells us we should look this way or that? Because how can we possibly accept others if we can't even accept ourselves? Regardless of our size, shape, status, or color, we all need to be loved. But loving others begins at home.
Loving and accepting imperfect others begins with loving and accepting our imperfect selves.