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Side View Mirror

In the car yesterday, as Vinnie drove, I stared out at the side view mirror. Specifically, I stared at my upper arms, my shoulders, my obnoxious little underarm chub (that every tank top puts on prominent display) and if I turned my head just-so and tilted it down ever-so-slightly, the soft bump under my chin.

Silently critiquing, I recounted the calories I had eaten over the weekend, the steps I had taken, the plank poses I had held. I tightened my abs, flexing like a crunch for the ride, and resigned myself to do better in the morning.

Unprompted, as I sat quietly, scanning for faults, crunching, inwardly scowling, Vinnie turned to me and smiled. My goodness, you’re beautiful. 

I gave him a pathetic smile in return.

Convinced he was taking pity on me, I pulled down the car visor and flipped open the mirror, expecting to see a sweaty, exhausted, frazzle-haired woman with underarm chub and the occasional double chin.

To my great surprise, there was only me.

To my even greater surprise, this made me happy.

Unlike in the side view mirror, I looked like myself. My shoulders looked strong, my arms looked fine, the nub of chub looked, well, like it always does, but it didn’t bother me so much to be seeing it straight on, just as it is, as I am.

The side view mirror was a distortion. Truth, (albeit freckled and perhaps a little crows footed and probably in need of a shower after such a long, unairconditioned ride), was right in front of me.

I have had four children and I am forty-five pounds less than I was when I entered my senior year of college, my wedding dress from ten years ago still fits, I spent the weekend mumbling to myself that the stupid size four pants kept getting too loose and saggy after only wearing them for an hour or two. And still, there I sat, scowling at my imperfections in a side view mirror.

Time to turn away from the window and focus straight ahead.

And so, I stretched and ran today, not because I feel the need to change my body, but because I am thankful that I am capable and I am strong (enough) to challenge my body.

I love that I have arms that can lift children and strong shoulders for them to rest their heads on as I walk them back to sleep.

I am not perfect, but I am healthy.

I am flawed, but I am loved.

I am not going to stop traffic, but I am going to catch my husband’s eye driving down the road.

And, honestly, any day of the week, that is more than good enough for me.

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Writer, Photographer, Wife, Mother to four rambunctious and amazing children.

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