They say that kids say the darnedest things.
They also have a subtle way of teaching us a few things about ourselves; whether it be where we could practice a little more patience or how to be courageous. As a single mother of two daughters, Alannah, 9, and Tahliah, 2, going on 20, I know this far too well!
Over a year ago, I ended a long-term relationship. One of the hardest decisions I've made in a while, considering the time invested, the fact that I thought I was going to marry my ex, recently giving birth to our child, and already having one failed marriage under my belt. Those close to me, know that for quite some time, I really struggled with my self-esteem and rediscovering myself. I even played with the idea of plastic surgery. After all, what's wrong with a little nip here and tuck there to get you back in the game... right?
Instead, I signed up for a gym membership and began working out. My plan was to eat right and get it tight, then go under the knife to tighten up my tummy and rid of some pesky stretch marks.
Only, it didn't go as planned.
I exercised and ate clean and it appeared as if I gained weight. While I could appreciate my rump which had rounded out over time, fact of the matter was, I wasn't remotely close to my pre-pregnancy weight and I wasn't happy! To makes matters worse, I began to eat my feelings, which turned out to be Reeses, Popeyes, Starbucks fraps and Chipotle. I didn't want to get dressed or leave the house, because I felt like a stuffed sausage in my clothes.
I even began a nasty habit of stalking Instagram accounts of new moms who flaunted their six packs and perfect breasts while posing in bikinis.
Before you knew it, I stopped taking pictures altogether.
By last fall, I had saved up enough money for surgery. While this should have felt like a victory, as I thought it was the answer to all my weight woes, instead, I felt ashamed. "Here I have two gorgeous girls who I tell each day how beautiful they are... just the way they are," I said to myself. Yet, here I was crying over my curves and basing my happiness on the size of my waistline. But it wasn't until my nine-year-old checked me one morning while helping her get dressed for school, that I really had my "Aha" moment.
"I feel so FAT!" I gasped, while grabbing my love handles in frustration.
My eldest replied, "Mama stop. You are perfect just the way you are. Isn't that what you tell us?"
Meanwhile, my tot who had been resting in the doorway with her hand on her hip added, "Yeah mama, you're purty." Instantly, I felt like a complete failure.
[Tweet "Here I was crying over my curves and basing my happiness on the size of my waistline."]
I began to look back over my extended pity party and thought about all the opportunities lost where I could have been a real good example. It quickly became clear that it was time to face my bigger insecurities and not just fix what was on the outside, but how I felt personally on the inside as wel.
The problem is, that in today's society, it's ingrained in our minds that women have to be "bad b*tches" at all times, despite their race, age, and whether or not they have children. When in fact, we should be aiming to be queens: a woman who exudes effortless beauty inside and out.
[Tweet "We should be aiming to be queens: a woman who exudes effortless beauty inside and out."]
Society tells us that pregnancy ruins your body, when in fact, my minions have given me a better relationship with mine. Sure, I still have days when I feel like all kinds of yuck, or when my twenty-something girlfriend's incite envy with a series of #aboutlastnight posts, highlighting a scantily clad crew on a night out on the town.
Fortunately, along the way, I've learned that my daughters, family, and friends don't love me for how I look; they love me for the fun, loyal, respectful, and occasionally wise woman I've grown into over the years. Is that to say that I've given up on my fitness goals? Absolutely not! And I am by no means criticizing women who opt for plastic surgery, as every woman should decide what's right for them. But for now, knowing that there are people in my life who love me unconditionally, whether I'm rocking a size 6 or size 10 pair of jeans, is good enough for me!
Ruu Hawkins is a highly dependent coffee life-form, currently working towards her Master's in this thing called life. When she 's not perfecting her pen game, she's a single mother of two queens who prides herself on being a creative, curly mobbin', couture enthusiast! Chat with her on Twitter @ruubabie.