Updated: Jul 10, 2018
A note from Melissa: After a long day of model shoots for our 'Curves Ahead' project, I sat down with the talented duo behind SR Studio, Stephanie and Breia, for dinner at Dan's Tap House on Main Street in Boonsboro. As the excitement of the day wore off and we filled our bellies with tator tots, I started talking about how I didn't have the luxury of time on my side to share every detail about these amazing women we have met or the inspiring stories that we've been buzzing about for months. That's when Breia shared a deeply personal piece that she had written in her down time. She graciously gave me her permission to use it as a blog post. It was then that I realized that maybe I shouldn't be speaking for these women - rather I should give them the platform to speak for themselves. Thank you for allowing me to share this, Breia. It means the world.
One day while working on our home, just in general conversation, my husband stated that people probably wouldn't recognize me anymore from the girl I used to be because my looks had changed so much. In that moment I thought, you know, he's probably right. Once the sting went away from the reality of the comment and I probably wiped a tear from my eye, I went about my life and only let it rear it's ugly head a few times...until lately.
As a woman now in my 40's, I have come to realize that he was so right. I think back to HER. Although I haven't physically seen HER looking back at me in the mirror in some time, she is still there. HER, with beautiful, slightly tanned skin, the thick, shiny long hair, the bright big eyes that never looked tired. HER without any wrinkles or bags under HER eyes from not getting enough sleep. HER without stretch marks or loose skin from gaining and losing weight throughout life from giving birth or just gaining, well, who knows why. HER...you know the one I'm talking about.
Throughout life, we as women compare ourselves to other women; it's just our nature, but we don't compare ourselves to any other woman as much as we compare ourselves to HER. The girl you used to be.
When I look back through pictures or memories I see HER and my mind always goes to thoughts of 'Geez, and I thought I was fat back then', 'What I wouldn't give to have that body back', 'Look at my flawless skin'. Now, however, I am learning to stop myself. 'Would I want to be HER again?' I think to myself, and every time that answer is a resounding NO. That girl was so naive, somewhat self-centered, and was still learning what it took to be a real woman. I love the woman I am now. The fact is, we all should!
I am trying to look in the mirror now and not see HER anymore, she is gone. Yes, I can try to lose weight and take care of myself the best I can, but trying to be HER in my 40s is just not realistic. When I look at my body and see my weight, I try to see selflessness. I see the woman over the last 25 years who has taken great care of her husband, birthed a child, devoted herself wholeheartedly to him, and tried to be the great friend, helping whenever needed. I pride myself on being the woman that the people I love can count on. No, I don't have HER body but I have the body that this beautiful life has created, stretch marks and all. When I see the wrinkles between my eyebrows I now see the woman who has taken on life and all its responsibilities, baring burdens so others don't have to endure them. When I see those tiny wrinkles at the corners of my eyes, I think back to every time I laughed and enjoyed moments that I will never get back again.
It has taken me a while to not see HER when I look in the mirror, but the older I get, the more I realize 'YOU'RE BETTER THAN HER'.