Story time! Liz and I went to the Parade of Lights last night. Liz decided that she wanted to take a selfie. She took this one, and said, “You know, I think I look REALLY GOOD tonight!” I told her that heck yeah she does. She said, “I think it’s because you can kind of see my grown up face.” Exactly, Liz. ❤️
I told her that everyone goes through awkward stages and pretty stages, and that it’s important to remember that the same person is inside through all of them. We talked about makeup (I told her I’d teach her the basics and how to take care of her skin once she’s old enough), and the times she felt awkward (I told her that she’s kind and smart and creative, and those things don’t change with appearance).
We did NOT talk about any flaws or any improvements that could be made to her face. I did not say, “You’d look better if…” I did not suggest or give advice, just let her enjoy one of those “Dang, I look good!” days.
Offhand comments from well-meaning adults did some damage to my self-esteem. Reassurance that I was pretty when I was anything but made me stop trusting Mom on those days that I felt ugly. Reassurance felt hollow. I would have loved to hear, “The awesome person you are will not change just because you look different. Keep being smart and creative and working hard, because appearance is temporary and you’re always capable of good things.” So, that’s what I told Liz.
I unpacked a bit of my appearance hang-ups and had a good conversation with Liz, all because of one selfie.