One major reason I became a middle school teacher is her.
The young girl with self esteem issues. With body image issues.
The girl who compares herself to her smaller friends, who longs for straighter hair, who scours over Instagram posts hoping to be different.
Most of us girls (now women) know and connect with this little girl. Because from one insecurity to another, we all have been in her shoes in some capacity.
I knew that if I taught middle school, I would see her.
I would see her every day and she would reflect me. She would reflect the insecurities I have had my entire life. The young girl who continued gaining weight or struggled as acne showed up. Even as an adult when I was told I have PCOS and these were the oh-so lovely symptoms of the it. And even now, as a grown woman typing this, the little 13 year old girl within in me shrivels up. To not share, to hide, to cover up my flaws.
I won’t do that any longer and it’s because of the strength middle school girls give me. How they have empowered me with their resilience on those days. How they build up their friends, lightly hold hands when the other is crying or remind each other that their ex-boyfriend is lying. The ways that middle schoolers love their friends and protect them at such a young age.
I know full well that God placed me in middle school (for all my days, apparently) to speak truth into her life. And then to sit in amazement as they speak into mine.
So for you, daughter, sister, mom, friend–you are beautiful and you are worthy. Your body was made to do wonderful and powerful things.
Your arms will lift people up when they feel broken. Your legs will run further than you can ever imagine. Your body, dear woman, is and will be a vessel for good.
Continue to work on the good, strive for health and well being. I know I still am. But be kind to yourself today. Be as kind to you as you are to your best friends. Speak to yourself like a dear friend.
I’m thankful for friends who challenge me to say 3 things I love about my body and encourage me to thank my body (You know who you are!). I’m thankful for the ones I’ve been able to hold in this skin and thankful for those who have held me.
Maybe this week, write a love letter to you. List 2 or 3 things you love about your appearance. Text a friend why you find them so beautiful.
Let’s move beyond the screens and the scrolling and connect with our own beauty and the beauty each of us holds.
I love you, sister and I hope you know just how breathtaking you are.