I stare into my reflection and admire my green eyes that seem even greener today because I’m wearing a dark colored shirt. I notice my freckles and pinkish skin underneath them, thanks to the sun I got yesterday while outside scrubbing the area rugs. My lips aren’t extremely full but not thin, either. They suit my rounded Irish face with high cheekbones. My naturally curly red hair falls to my shoulders where my daughter cut it a few weeks ago. I like what I see.

How long has it taken me to get to this point? Why did I think I was ugly for so many years? I’m so not ugly. I’m beautiful. I am amazing. My body is not thin. It never has been. It’s not hard like it used to be. There are curves and bumps and stretch marks and cellulite. But it is what it is. I’ve been hard on this body; having babies and a hysterectomy and not getting enough sleep and putting off eating when I was hungry because the kids needed attending to and then snarfing down large amounts of food because I was hangry from putting off eating when I should have. I love my body. It has served me well and it is mine. It bears evidence of the love that I have for my children; my belly, stretched so many times for 9 months or more, flaps down like an apron; my breasts show the wear and tear of what they were designed to do-breastfeeding; my wrists are weaker from holding my heavy babies when they cried or were fed or just needed holding; my feet have very little cartilage left due to arthritis and heels that scream in pain of plantar fasciitis due to standing and walking for hours on end for years meeting the needs of little humans who cannot do for themselves.

I love me. It took me so many years to recognize the beauty in me; so many years to understand that I deserve love. It took me until I was well into my 30’s to realize that I deserve to be loved fiercely, wholly, completely. I’d always loved hard but never expected to be loved that way. It was my husband loving me that way that made me finally see that he was right to do so. I AM beautiful. I AM special. I AM me.

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