Contentment and Self-Image

On my mantle is a small framed antique embroidery that says: Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of what you already have.

When I was a younger woman, I wanted so desperately to be smaller. I wanted tiny cute feet that fit in normal shoes, ladylike hands, manicured nails and a poised demeanor. Fact: that’s not me- and each time I’ve tried on the that shoe, it has  pinched so badly it figuratively flew of my foot and shattered a window across the room. Not doing it anymore. I’m going to sing a song of praise, I’m going to stop buying into anyone else’s notion of what it means to be a woman, and embrace myself.

I’m overweight. Always have been. The fact is, being overweight is what helped me deliver three healthy babies while losing 20 pounds each time because of hyper-emesis. If I had been skinny, who knows what would have happened to my babies.

My feet are big. Like, size 12 big. Yeah, not kidding. My hands are big. My toes are freakishly long. The fact is, these big hands make beautiful things, calm babies, cool fevered brows and paint anything my mind imagines. My enormous feet look right on my body, and they move me through the world. My toes look just lovely with shiny red polish. My German roots are showing, and I love them.

My hair is insane. I feel so unkempt most of the time, because of the nest of curls. When I want to feel sleek and put together, I iron the crap out of it. But it always reverts back. It gets complimented and noticed more than anything about my appearance, and I’ve never seen anyone with hair just like mine. While the craziness bugs me, I also know it can be startlingly pretty; it’s one of my vanities.

So there it is. The things I’m most self-conscious about. The things that used to make me feel like a bull in a china shop, but now are just part of who I am. One of the best things about getting a little older, getting a few more years under your belt, is a certainty of who you are. A calmness and confidence in what you do- and how you do it.

Contentment is the realization of how much you already have.

19 thoughts on “Contentment and Self-Image

  1. This was such a fantastic post, Tracy. I couldn’t agree more. As I’ve grown older I’ve begun to embrace the “freaky-weird” things about myself and am really starting to enjoy them. Thanks for reminding me to continue on that path. Beautiful.

  2. What a great lesson! My problem is that I see something I like about myself and then instantly find a way to turn it into a negative. I’ve never been able to walk the fine line between vanity/snobbiness and self confidence.
    By the way… I’m gonna try to make a tote bag tomorrow! I’ll post pics if I get it done 🙂

  3. This is one of the hardest things to do. I think I’ve started to make the adjustment to love who I am and what it can do for me. It’s only when I’m preggers that I revert back to the insecurities. You posted beautifully.

  4. Thanks for your post. Getting older: while on the one hand everything on my body is sliding into ruin, on the other hand I think getting older helps me get some perspective on accepting life as it is.

  5. That is an awesome statement, and I need to copy this and place it on the mantle, in the bathroom, by my computer, and on the fridge at my home as well!

    We both share the curly hair, yeah for us! I have my unmanageable days with it, but I am learning to love and embrace its qualities. God must have broken the mold after creating what I have; none of my kids inherited it. Maybe some of my grandkids will though!

    My feet are large as well, I am a size 9. I also have a dreadful bunion, so cute, fashionable shoes are out of the question. It must be from my German heritage as well! Women with large feet stand on a solid foundati
    on. Best, Jen

  6. Funny…just talking to a friend about that yesterday. I watched an old TV show from my younger days where I was looking at these teenage girls and I remember thinking how beautiful they were and now I think they just look too skinny and too fake. Now I look at women in their 40’s + and I think about how that is truly beautfiul! A beauty I never realized and it is contained entirely in their self-confidence.

    Another funny thought….could you imagine your DH with the “ideal” you created for yourself and not the real you? LOL…talk about a mental image 🙂

  7. Wow- I just had to chuckle at this because I blogged about a similar subject a couple of days ago- only I don’t quite get it like you do. Thanks for sharing your thoughts- it was just what I needed to hear…

  8. Great post.

    Straight flat hair can look unkempt, too, and I have been known to spend hours putting curls in my hair only too have them go completely flat in no time.

    The hair is always greener on the other side.

  9. I really appreciate this post! I am a plus size mom and always have been and it is so easy to beat yourself up.

    am adding you too my blog roll cause I love coming in and reading you.

  10. I’ve never noticed any of the things you mentioned, you’re such a beautiful person, inside and out.
    I have a snaggletooth and I always feel like everyone is looking at it, but when I mention it everyone always says they didn’t notice. Isn’t it funny how other people don’t see the things we think are glaring?

  11. I love it that the things you are bugged about are all little, ultimately insignificant things, and that you clearly know that.
    You rock.

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