When you look in the mirror, how do you feel about yourself?
And we’re being honest here.
Do you believe the only value it shows is what’s on the outside? Does the mirror, to you, amplify your flaws or acknowledge the human being that you are with phenomenal virtues inside and out?
Does the mirror reflect your worth?
This is the question that a group of women from Austen, TX came together to answer. But first, they started a band.
Their group is called The Mrs.
Unable to connect with the songs they were hearing on the radio, well past the years of the teenage heartbreak and club beats, they sought to create music inspired by their own lives as passionate – and busy – wives, mothers, and girlfriends.
The all-female rock band is comprised of drummer Andra Liemandt, lead vocalists/guitarists Mandy Prater and Jennifer Zavaleta, vocals/keyboardist Larissa Ness, and bassist Jenny Mason.
They wrote a song called ‘I’m Enough.’ And from that song, they gave birth to a movement.
They plastered stickers around every mirror and window they came across with messages like “You’re awesome,” “I’m Enough,” and “You’ve never looked better!” Then they took it a step further and concocted what some might dub ‘a magic mirror’, a talking mirror that surprised women all over the county.
At first glance, the mirror on the wall appears ordinary. When you walk up to it, all you see is your reflection.
And then a voice comes on.
That voice greets you, perhaps by name. That voice tells you you’re beautiful. That voice tells you you are loved. That voice tells you you’re enough.
The Mrs. performed at BlogHer live on Saturday, and their talking mirror was in the vendor hall all weekend. My pal, August McLaughlin, and I got to experience the talking mirror firsthand before we even knew what it was!
I went up to it first. I put the headphones on and immediately this friendly voice greeted me, “Hi Jess! Look at that gorgeous red hair!”
The person behind the mirror told me I was beautiful. She told me I had beautiful, clear skin.
I started crying.
I wasn’t making-a-scene-hysterical, I just genuinely teared up. I don’t tell myself my skin is beautiful.
As my 30th birthday gets closer, I’ve been battling some body dysmorphia. I wrote about it in To Conceal and Carry…My Muffin Top. Besides recent weight gain, I have trouble with adult acne. It began as “teenage” acne, then “college” acne, and morphed into adulthood “I’ve paid thousands of dollars on skincare and make-up” acne. I know my skin has changed and that it has improved. But when I look in the mirror, I see only the bumps, the redness, the scarring.
I knew my attacks on myself were really bad when I nonchalantly made the comment to my sister, “You know how people sometimes ask you ‘If you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be?’ Well, mine would be clear skin. That’s all I want. CLEAR skin!”
I immediately felt hurt when I said it. Hurt by my OWN words. I had always been the girl who wanted to fly. How had I let myself get so stuck?
Even on my wedding day, my biggest fear was my face. Not the hundreds of dollars we paid in legal paperwork for an international wedding, or traveling to a foreign country with my wedding dress, or that Joe had not written his vows until the day of (he actually had, but was messing with me for fun). No, I was freaking out over my face. I wanted perfect skin for my wedding day, and that was the one thing beyond my grasp.
I started a mantra, “This day is not about my face. This day is not about my face.” And I said it every morning as I put my make up on for that whole week before our wedding.
So yah. I started crying when the woman behind the mirror told me I had clear skin. And then she told me my writing mattered. That my words brought joy and laughter and insight to others. And I felt – this may sound silly – but I felt like I sprouted wings. Little baby wings that flapped and triggered my brain to say “Go after your dreams.”
And remember I’m enough.
Do you need to be reminded?
Follow more of the movement on Twitter using the hashtag #ImEnough.
I’m making a confession today. I have a muffin top.
*phew* There, I said it.
I feel better now.
It started about a year ago when I quit my job. Don’t get me wrong, that is STILL the best decision I ever made. But I didn’t account for what would happen while transitioning from a 50-60 hour job where I was on my feet doing laps inside a mall…to sitting at a computer working, then coming home to…sit at a computer writing.
My diet habits changed drastically. While in retail, I worked so many hours and had interrupted breaks that I didn’t eat much at all for the 9-10 hour days I was there. But sitting at either my work desk or home desk, both conveniently right next to the kitchen…it’s a lot easier to snack throughout the day.
Without working out to balance my new lifestyle, my weight has fluctuated between 4-12 pounds in the past year. Now, I’m a rational person, and on a scale, that still has me at a perfectly normal and healthy weight for someone my size.
The problem is that it all sits on my middle.
I’m only 5’2″. I need all the length I can get, so adding width to my torso, not only isn’t working with my current wardrobe, but it’s affecting my self esteem.
I might have been able to nip the weight gain in the
butt tummy, if all I had to do this summer was lose a couple pounds. But I’m planning a wedding! And I’m on deadline to submit my book to potential agents.
My downfall has been that I want to go work out, but then I feel guilty that I’m not writing or working on wedding stuff, so I go home, but then I’m so stressed out I don’t know where to start and I end up moping around and wallowing the night away, making poor food choices on top it.
It’s tough to admit I’m still in transition. A whole year later and I haven’t magically “figured it all out.” As women, we grow up believing that on our wedding day we’re going to be the most beautiful woman in the room.
But I don’t feel beautiful.
All I see right now are my flaws. When I look in the mirror, I see my gut protruding over my pants and I see blemishes on my face.
And it makes me so sad and angry.
Sad, because I know deep down I’m pretty. And I hear my fiance tell me so. But I don’t listen, and worse, I’ve started countering him by pointing out my flaws.
Angry, because I have a degree in women’s gender and sexuality studies, so I know I’m suffering from body dysmorphia and yet, I don’t know how to turn that off.
But requiring two people to zip you into your wedding dress is a sure-fire way to put that doubt into hyperdrive.
I am a perfectly healthy and talented woman. But I’m struggling with doubt.
I am really struggling with doubt right now.
Is it just me? Is it the wedding? Is it the looming date of my 30th birthday and saying goodbye to the resilient body I had when things were good and I was still 25?
Is it potato chips? I have a hard time saying no to potato chips.
And what about society’s role in all this? My low body image issues have made me angry at society. Why have we invested so much energy into praising women for their looks rather than their brains? Why are more pages in women’s magazines filled with products for me to buy that will change my appearance “for the better” than there are articles about women making real strides for gender equality?
Aren’t we doing ourselves a disservice? Why does something as small as 4 pounds make a woman question her worth? Imagine if we spent half as much time renovating our education or health systems as we did staring in mirrors, avoiding mirrors, picking at our faces, being insulted by cat-calls, being insulted at our lack of cat calls, and only wearing open-toed shoes when our toenails are properly painted?!
We’d have solved the fucking issues by now! But instead, if you’re like me, or if you’ve been there before, we are too busy concealing that extra bit of weight we’ve gained.
~Sincerely, Miffed and Muffin-topped,