The other day I came across a Facebook post from a friend which happened to be a Colbie Callait song titled “Try”. The caption read, “She was tired of people photoshopping her, so she did this…” I wondered what THIS was, so I clicked the link. By the end of the song, I was in tears.
If you haven’t heard the song, you can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXoZLPSw8U8
Listening to the lyrics, all I could picture was my little girl. My little girl, whose hair isn’t quite long enough for a pony tail yet. My little girl with soft brown eyes and a contagious laugh. My baby, with perfectly scrumptious cheeks and the most adorable chunky thighs you’ve ever seen. I watched the girls in the video. How long would it be until my girl felt like she had to try for others?
I have a picture of myself from sixth grade or so-I was wearing a blue bathing suit and my skin was so pasty white that I’m surprised I didn’t blind the sun on that bright summer day. For years all I wanted was to get a tan. My friends all had nicely bronzed skin by the end of each summer, but the Irish in me didn’t allow for even a glimmer of a tan-ever. I hated that picture then and I hate it now, 22 years later. I’m not going to lie and say that I didn’t hate my body at times. Boy, have I HATED my body.
I know very very few girls who can tell me they’ve always liked they way they look. And to be quite frank, if they’ve told me that, I don’t necessarily believe them. So you can understand my concern as the mother of a young daughter who will almost inevitably go through this herself.
I get sick to my stomach thinking about her looking in the mirror a few years down the road, scrutinizing herself, because she will. We all have. She will compare herself to others, and second guess her own true beauty. I’m sure I won’t see it even when she points out whatever “flaws” she thinks she has. This is something I will have to address when we get to that hurdle.
But what I think she needs to know is that it is OK to like yourself the way you are. Too often, we’re looking at magazine covers telling us how to burn fat, how to become stronger, or how to get that amazing hair style. Don’t get me wrong, you can admire those girls with great boobs and long legs and perfect hair. You can be impressed with the ones who can hold their own at the gym and turn out a rock-hard physique. You can even be in awe of that one friend that can eat whatever she wants and maintain a size two. At the same time, however, you can appreciate yourself. You can be ALRIGHT with the frizzy hair and the freckles. We’re always seeing ways to change what we have.Not enough of we read or hear sends the message that it’s ok to just be you, and be happy about it.
“When you’re all alone, by yourself, do you like you?
Do you like you?”-Colbie Callait
Now, entire decades after that horrendous picture was taken, I can look at myself in the all-too-unforgiving leggings that I love to wear and think, “Not bad. I’m ok.” When I go to the beach, I don’t try to get a tan like the other girls. I know better. And when I come in from the sun, all SPF 45ed, I can say, “You’re ok. You’re good. This is good.” When I hop on the scale for the sixth time this week, and I haven’t lost a pound, I can say, “This is still good. It’s great. I’m healthy.” I am thankful for Colbie Callait’s song, and I can only pray that more women will send this message to the girls of Ella’s generation.