Remember Prom? And all of the excitement that came along with being asked to go to it? And then thinking about it for days…the kind of dress you wanted, the color, style, how your hair would look?
Or on the other hand, wondering why all your friends seem to be getting asked, and why you hadn’t been. And the self-doubt that seems to rear its ugly head in moments like that?
I’ve had time to watch my daughter go through both of these moments…but, she did get asked this year. So, last week, we headed out to go shopping for a Prom dress. She had in her mind what she wanted. It had to be long, and different enough. It had to have a vintage vibe to it, because that’s just who she is. All in all, we went to 5 different stores, tried on many, many dresses…and when it was all said it done, she chose the 3rd dress she tried on from the first store we visited.
It was a silly and fun day…a day of girls. Just two of my daughters, myself, and my daughter’s friend.
Some of the dresses tried on were flat out hideous. Some were gorgeous with a very
outrageous gorgeous price tag attached to them. And some were just ok.
Conversations about colors that complimented her complexion were had, the styles and cuts that fit her body shape best, and the ones that did not were talked about, too. There was laughter as to why certain dresses seemed to place beaded flowers in a manner that made it look like pasties on the chest area of certain dresses. All normal conversations that come up in a day of shopping with girls.
Except, it really made me stop and think about what we are teaching our daughters. Is it important to wear clothes that fit correctly? Ofcourse. We all want to look our best. But, what really made me stop and think about this, is the fact that when my daughter first came out to look at herself in dress #3 (the one we eventually bought) in the the three sided mirror of the boutique, her face lit up. I could tell she felt pretty. And for good reason. It was lovely on her. We all oohed and awed when she walked out in it.
But…and this is a big but…as she continued to turn in mirror and admire the dress, her expression turned to one of doubt. And then she said, “I just don’t know if my arms are thin enough for a dress like this”.
I hated watching her filled with self-doubt. I hated hearing those words come out of her mouth. She is a darling girl with a darling figure. The comment really made me take a hard look at myself.
Y’all, Im not a fan of my arms. I’ll just say it. They have been a “problem area” for me for as long as i can remember. I have been self conscious about them always. I always tease and say, “Y’all, i mistakingly got in the church lady arm line when God was handing out arms!” As i have gotten older, i’ve been able to take it with a grain of salt. I’ve realized that no one looks at me or thinks of me nearly as often as i thought in my younger days. I’ve learned that i’m my toughest critic.
BUT…the comment from my daughter made me realize that she is going through what we all did or continue to go through when it comes to not feeling good enough, thin enough, pretty enough, funny enough, smart enough. Take Your pick. The world can be a pretty intense classroom.
I had to dig deep and think about all the times my daughter probably overheard me tearing myself apart in my moments of self doubt. I had to remind myself that children are sponges. That they are listening and observing us even when we are unaware of it.
So, this post is a call to action. Mothers, sisters, aunts, teachers…our children are watching us, listening to us. We need to walk the walk. Show them that confidence comes from beauty within. Teach them that they are in fact ENOUGH by showing them that we are enough. The next time you think about saying anything negative about yourself, try to catch yourself. Find something positive to say instead.
“Strong Women…May we know them. May we raise them. May we be them.”