Are you going swimming? Where is your shirt? The questions of my daughter. She turns eight on Sunday and she only knows a mother that swims in a shirt. When had I become that person?
You haven’t worn a bikini top in twenty something years. Why not?
Your stomach hasn’t seen the light of day since you were thirty thirty pounds lighter. Why not?
You used to be so confident, I tell myself.
I used to love myself.
Why does it matter? Does it even matter? Who cares?
The little girl that scrutinizes her mother at every step, every turn, every crossroad and yes, even every shirt.
So, today I took it off and I was more uneasy than I care to admit, ashamed almost. Pale belly, full breasts, thick torso, I haven’t been that exposed on a beach since I became a mother. Why not?
It’s that voice.
The ones that chastises me to cover up.
The one that whispers in my ear, you’re not so young anymore.
The one that remembers every flaw, every dimple, every soft place.
You are flawed, I tell myself. Scars, battle wounds, a c-section scar, none are pretty but they tell a beautiful story.
You are soft, I tell myself. Four babies burrowed their downy heads into my chest many an evening.
You are older, I tell myself. I’m in my forties now and with age, I’ve matured and learned and am still learning to silence the voice that says you’re not enough.
I am enough. I am more than enough. I am strong. I am imperfect and I love with my whole heart.
Where’s my shirt?
Well, my darling, I don’t need it anymore.
@Adrian H. Wood
July 11th, 2017