Call Me the Dancing Panda

I’m a mother of three. Soon to be four. I’m short. When I picture myself (aka my body, not my face) I see Rachel Luttrell— short but fit and hard, curved and slender, and then I walk past a mirror and go “AARGH!!!”

I do yoga and bollywood. My 3 year old giggles. (I choose to believe this is because he’s 3, and not because I look like Po the panda trying to do kung fu.)

I used to be a dance teacher during my college years. I weighed 124 pounds of fit muscle when I got married at age 18. Then I did full-time college plus worked two jobs. My time to devote to staying that physically fit dwindled to nill. Then I began struggling with polycystic ovarian syndrome (which played havoc with my weight), and THEN I started having kids.

In today’s day and age it’s really hard to maintain a good self image. Even during my dancing years it was hard; I have curves where most dancers don’t. I’m curvy up top and generously endowed in the back. My thighs have never, ever had a gap between them and I’ve never been able to wear boots that go higher than my ankles; my calves have always been too thick. Being around stick-thin girls with bird-bones and barely-there curves made me feel big, even though I wasn’t.

I wear size 12 pants. My stomach has stretch marks running up and down from my ribs to my hips. My hips and legs look like Chel’s from “El Dorado.” I’m a 38D. I have Eyelid Inflammation (Blepharitis), so I always seem to have bald spots or thin patches in my eyelashes.

My toes are stubby.

But you know what my boys tell me? That I look like a princess. My daughter loves to hold my cheeks with her little 18 month old hands, and after looking at me with large, shining eyes, she kisses me and says “Uv U” and “P’tty.”

Sackett Man thinks it’s the best thing ever when I decide to do bollywood. Sweat, tangled hair, Po the panda doing Dancing Goddess and all. He usually reserves a seat on the couch for the 45 minute show.

Why am I writing about this right now? Because of this blog right here, by Nicole Jankowski, which hit me right where most women feel the most vulnerable. Our self image.

Everything telling us we’re not pretty enough, or doing enough to take care of ourselves? Doesn’t matter. Yes, be healthy. Yes, take care of yourself. And listen to those who live with you and actually SEE you. Every day. That new beauty article can’t see you. Your computer doesn’t care. Those big-time designers, whose clothes almost no one can wear, can’t see you and don’t know you.

Your husband, your kids? They know you. They see you. And I’ll bet they wouldn’t want you any other way than just the way you are.

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