I made a mistake the other day. My beautiful friend told me she felt fat and might skip a summer event because she needs to lose some weight . . . and I was quiet.
I was quiet because I was shocked. She is someone who radiates confidence, grace, kindness, and gorgeousness to me.
“What? What are you even talking about?” I said. Then she was quiet.
I wish I’d said to her instead, “Listen to me. You feel how you feel, and that’s real, but what you see is not what I see. It’s not what the world sees. It’s not what your kid sees. If you want to work out, let’s get a Peloton date going. If you want to start eating some kale, you do you, girl. But listen to me: you are beautiful. That’s what I see.”
A few days later she sent me some photos she’d taken at a birthday party of me and my daughter. I instinctively typed back, “Ugh! Look at my face! What am I doing with my neck??”
But I stopped. I deleted it. I sent a smiley instead. I reminded myself what I wanted her to know in her moment of insecurity. What I see and hate in those photos isn’t what she sees, and more importantly, it isn’t what she cares about.
Our friendship isn’t built on my photogenic abilities or lack thereof. Thank God.
Our friendship isn’t dependent on either one of our appearances. Our friendship is about conversations when we say, “That is exactly how it is,” about hugs in hard times, shared snacks on the playground when one of us forgets, and laughing as our daughters wear matching Disney princess dresses and skip down the street together. We are deeper than how we look, and we are better than calling ourselves fat or ugly.
Our feelings are real but fat, we are not. We are two regular people navigating marriages, small kids, being back at work, and trying to feel healthy in the middle of it all. We don’t have time for being hard on ourselves, the world needs better from us.
We are more than that. We are gorgeous, strong, and smart, and we have work to do here, raising the next generation of strong women and men. The way we talk about ourselves is the way our kids feel about themselves. We teach them how to feel. Let it be fabulous.