Friday, May 18, 2007

Pretty Persuasion

I have this friend, she’s a mother of two adorable girls. And every night before they go to bed they play this game where they name a part of themselves that they like, and then explain why it’s perfect. I love this. When my friend told me about it, I actually cried. Of course, I pretended it was just steam rising up from the Jacuzzi, but the truth was, I was touched.

I didn’t grow up loving much of anything about myself. I felt awkward and obtrusive and wondered why I got stuck with wavy hair when my friend’s all had straight hair (okay, I still battle with this). But the thing is, nobody ever sat me down and made me write an ode to my baby toe. And I can’t help but wonder if it would’ve made a difference. My friend’s daughters are wonderful, and confident, and charging through life, and if they’re any indication, I’m thinking it would've.

Growing up in California, a place where Christmas can find you wearing shorts and heading for the beach, you can’t help but be a little body conscious. There’s no hiding under big winter coats and bulky sweaters when it’s short sleeve weather for most of the year. But even if you don’t live in a warm weather place, there’s still that pervasive celebrity culture we’re constantly bombarded with. And the ironic thing is, that most of the stars we’re all trying to emulate don’t exactly look like that either. As a former flight attendant who flew the LA to NYC route more times than I care to remember, I had my share of celebrity sightings and I know this to be true. (With the exception of Natalie Portman and Beyonce who are even more beautiful in person—but I digress.)

The last two years I’ve spent a lot of time in cancer wards as several people I love and care about were diagnosed with the disease. And it gave me a whole new perspective on what makes someone beautiful. When people complimented my sister in law on her weight loss, she’d laugh and say it was the cancer diet. And suddenly being healthy grew way more important than being thin. Having a good hair day is always nice, but the courage and strength I saw when my brother in law lost his, was nothing short of awe-inspiring.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that in a world that’s all too willing to point out your flaws, I think my friend’s solution is the perfect antidote. So the next time you’re looking in the mirror and hating on something, why not try to turn it around and pick one thing, anything, and remind yourself why it’s perfect.

Which part are you willing to love today?