Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Guest Post: Vampire Teeth

I have known Hayley since high school. We are members of the same church and saw each other at a lot of activities, although she would tell you I was a snob back then (not true) and I would tell you that she forgot my name when I went up to say hello to her before class in college (totally true). We both would tell you those things because they make us laugh at each other and ourselves. Hayley is now married to a great guy named Jerry and is the mother of a beautiful little girl (with another baby on the way!). She works hard to help provide for her little family and she does a great job. She is one of the strongest women I know. Enjoy!

In the last few weeks I’ve thought a lot about how much we view ourselves as imperfect. We, as women, are never satisfied with who we are--how we look, how we act, and how we are viewed by other people. According to statistics, 4 out of every 5 women in the US are unhappy about their appearance. That’s 80%!!! An estimated 7 to 10 million women have eating disorders--all of it because we grossly exaggerate our flaws. We all have things we dislike about ourselves. Me? Well, let’s start with a brief history.

I started to have bad acne in about the fourth grade. Add to that large glasses in the fifth grade, and an unusual amount of body hair around the seventh grade, and things tend not to mix well in socially horrific middle school. People called me “Hairy” instead of Hayley, and to this day I shave my arms and upper lip all due to the self-consciousness I’ve carried with me since then. I allowed other people to dictate how I felt (and feel) about myself. I’ve had a “ghetto booty” since around the eighth grade, and I absolutely abhor buying jeans because I have to get them to fit my butt first, not my waist. Even through my years of training for swim team and my black belt in TaeKwon-Do, I hated that I weighed more than most of my guy buddies simply because I was built to be muscular, and not thin.

Oh, and I have vampire teeth. :)

So there we have it. Flaws. I have them. You have them. And you know what? I’m learning to love them!

We live in an era of "if you don’t like it, fix it." As the mother of a two and a half year old, with another child on the way, I find myself wanting to set a better example. I love when my daughter is getting dressed and she says, “I so pretty!” And I hate that the older she gets, the more she’ll doubt that statement. I’m saddened when I hear a gorgeous woman in my ward tell me that one day she wants a lift and a tuck. Why does she need those things to be “more beautiful”? Wouldn’t she be more lovely if she learned to be confident with the way she is now?

In the post “
Something for Everyone,” a magazine article is quoted on why men love women’s bodies. How many of them say that they love the confidence their women exude? It’s so much sexier than just getting implants! In order to provide a better example I find myself realizing I need to learn to love my own flaws. I need to be comfortable in my own skin--not my adapted skin. I find myself looking in the mirror in the mornings with this lovely flair up of acne during this pregnancy and I say, “Well, I’ve looked worse.” It might not be, “Wow that zit is sexy!”, but it’s a start. I find myself proud of my stretch marks and of the saggy boobs that I have EARNED as a mother. When I’m old, I hope and pray I have long gray hair that I will earn as a mark of the knowledge and wisdom I’ve gained in my years. I also hope and pray that my daughter will always know she is beautiful, even on her worst day, because she is my daughter and a good person.

And so, in honor of that, I want everyone to think of all their flaws and figure out which one is their favorite. What makes you uniquely you? What is your favorite flaw? While we shouldn’t necessarily focus on how we look physically, we should learn to love the way we physically are. Yes, we need to be healthy, and yes, sometimes that means we need to change ourselves in habit and thought, but we need to learn to love ourselves at our best and at our worst. My favorite flaw, you ask? It’s my vampire teeth.


Lin said...

As soon as I read this I couldn't wait to comment! My favorite flaw is my crooked smile. Although sometimes it really bugs me (like just the other day when I was trying to take a nice picture and couldn't get my smile straight), it's something unique about myself that I like.

Heidi Marie said...

Goodness! I have thought for 5 minutes about my favorite flaw... I have to admit I'm not to keen on loving any of them! I have beady eyes, a huge butt, flabby arms and man calves! I guess I should work harder on loving something about me! I'll post on this later... haha Give me some time to chew on it. :)

Julie W said...

I have been thinking about this topic a lot lately. Recently some of my family and friends have been getting or planning to get a boob job. It makes me soo sad, because what does that say about me if I do not? I love my body and the effects left from having 3 children. I go to the gym to achieve the best results possible, but there are some things exercise cannot change.

Thank you for this post. I need to focus on my love for my body, and not feel peer pressured in to feeling like I need to change it. Happiness comes from inside and from my own belief in my uniqueness!

Miri said...

I am not sure I can decide what my favorite flaw is. I have two that are very uniquely me: my hair and my smile.

My hair is crazy curly and I loathed it with a fiery passion until I got to college and learned to appreciate it. My mom hates when I straighten it because she says the curly hair is just ME. (I don't hate when I straighten it, but I can see what she means. :) Also, it's loosened up a LOT from what it used to be like, which makes it easier to not hate.)

For some reason a lot of my upper gums shows when I smile, and I have always felt very self-conscious about that, but I have also gotten lots of compliments on it and kind of feel like it is a trademark.