A friend at the concert told me her daughter spent a long time curling her hair and getting frustrated that her gorgeous silky straight hair was not becoming full and curly.
I remember these days like they were yesterday, because, well, they were. I am 45 years old and I still work hard to control this body of mine. I know some of you right now are thinking I am going to discuss how we shouldn't do this and how we should love ourselves as we are. And while I believe the latter is true--we should love ourselves--I think this endless battle to control our bodies is all part of getting to know our bodies.
As a mom to three, I've gotten to see this play out. I remember when they discovered they had hands and began jamming them in their mouths and rubbing them together and interlacing their own fingers. I had the privilege of watching my oldest rewire her brain in front of my eyes to relearn how to crawl and how to walk and how to do all the movements most of us take for granted. I've watched each of them learn dance routines and new sports and how to write. I get to see my son figure out how to navigate the world with a beautiful dyslexic brain. They are endlessly getting to know their bodies.
As I age and I notice strange aches and pains and sensations of one leg seeming longer than another, I keep thinking of my yoga teachers who always said if you keep moving and breathing, you won't stop. It is the same with our physical appearances. While we don't have to try to tame our hair or curl our lashes or figure out what cut of dress makes us look most ourselves, when we do these things with love, we are trying to figure ourselves out, also with love.
And yes, sometimes, it seems like an extravagant waste of time and I am sure my husband would rather not wait for me in the car or deal with me changing my outfit 15 times in 15 minutes. And yes, I hate it when my girls are down on themselves after they've changed 15 times. But, the key is what I wrote above--you have to do these things with love.
I always remind my girls the following:
When an outfit doesn't look right--it isn't your body, it is the outfit. When hair won't do what you want, it isn't your hair, it's the hairstyle, try something else. When a lipstick makes you look strange, wipe it off and replace it.
Our lives with our bodies are a long journey--and somedays our bodies and ourselves know each other really well. Other days, well, it's not you, it's the dress, you know?