Do not give me a compliment under any circumstances. I’ll just say something like “This old thing?” or “It really needs a trim” or “I forgot to add enough salt”. And we’ll both feel awkward and embarrassed. So let’s just agree, right here and now, that compliments are completely wasted on me.
Because I have no idea how to accept them.
Case in point: I was waiting for my appointment with my hair stylist the other night when my hair colourist came over for a chat. (OK, OK, yes I have a stylist and a colourist. It’s just the way things roll in Darlinghurst.) She said: “I just wanted to tell you how great you look. I noticed the moment you walked in – so stylish.”
And instead of saying “Why thank you, that’s so lovely of you”, I said “Oh, really, because I’ve been feeling self-conscious. My pants are too tight and they’re making my belly bulge over the top and I’ve spent the whole day trying too hide it.”
My hair colourist almost visibly blanched at my response. She assured me that she hadn’t noticed my belly bulge and started edging away from the fruit loop on the couch.
And I felt so STUPID. I did a bit of internal berating about how easy it would have been to just accept her kind words and not spoil them with my ridiculous angst. But it was too late, the damage was done.
What is WRONG with me? Why am I so hard on myself?
I wish I could be more like these women showcased by Jade Beall on her photography studio’s Facebook page. They are proud of who they are and their battle scars. After Jade Beall uploaded a series of self-portraits of her semi-nude postpartum body, hundreds of mothers wrote to her, asking if she could take portraits of them “just as they were” as well.
She’s currently in the process of collating the photos and written accounts of mothers’ journeys from self-doubt to body confidence in a book called “A Beautiful Body”.
As Huffington Post reports: “Put together, these images are meant to show mothers as they really look, imperfect but no less beautiful for what society might consider their physical ‘flaws’.”
Good for them, but I’ve still got a bit of a way to go. OK, a looooooooong way. How about you?