I’m writing this blog for all my single girl friends who fear that a man won't find their bodies attractive.
Before meeting my husband, when I would imagine my future and the kind of man I would marry I always pictured myself thinner. In my daydreams I was perfectly proportioned. I imagined myself about a size six, with gorgeous hair, silky smooth skin, and a no-gummy smile. Do you daydream like that too? No double chin. No body acne. No squishy rolls here and there. And you begin to believe your thoughts that one day you will be thinner, one day you will have long gorgeous hair and acne free skin. And until you are at your desirable size your husband will then walk into your life and everything will be just right.
Friend, I understand the fear of having your flaws seen. I am a tall, curvy, Mexican-American who has had her share of severe acne, facial procedures/reconstruction, fluctuating weight (and we Mexicans are hairy - thank you Jesus for laser hair removal!) After almost three months of talking on the phone with my husband, Matt, I flew to Louisiana to see him in person for the first time. (You can read more about us here.) I was confident behind the phone for our first three months, but the thought of Matt seeing me for the first time was scary. My biggest fear was that he would not find me attractive.
I also understand that sometimes being uncomfortable with your body can keep you from putting yourself out there in the dating scene, or keep you from simply having a conversation with friends or family about dating. “It’s just not God’s timing,”or “I’m focusing on myself right now,” were excuses I used to cover up the truth that I was afraid a man wouldn’t find me attractive.
After dealing with body issues that went back all the way to my high school years, it took me some time to truly believe that Matt found me attractive. And now that we are married I wish I would have not spent so much of my time wishing than actually living.
HE SAW ME UNDONE
Before Matt and I were married, we took turns visiting each other every 2 - 3 weeks. During one of my visits to Louisiana, we finished dinner and Matt dropped me off at the apartment I was staying at. Before saying goodnight Matt said he would come see me in the morning before heading to work. In my mind I thought, Ok, I’ll need to wake up at 6:30am to do my hair and make up. I’ll have to iron my clothes and…but before I could finish my thought Matt said to me, “Don’t wake up so early to do your hair and all the other stuff. You’re going to be my wife and I will be seeing you when you wake up for the rest of our lives.” All I said was, “ok.” I knew that part of stepping into this new chapter with Matt meant that I had to break off some fears.
So the next morning I washed my face, brushed my teeth, and tied my hair into a bun. Matt saw my acne scars and my frizzy hair. He saw me undone. And you know what, he didn’t gasp when he saw me. He acted like himself and thanked me for being me because he knew my story and that it wasn’t easy for me not to be covered up. (You can read my back story here.)
I WORE A BATHING SUIT...WITHOUT SHORTS!
I grew up going to a bunch of summer youth camps, and there was always one day in our camp schedule that I dreaded - swimming day. Some girls were comfortable in their one piece, and others, like me, wore a dark colored shirt and shorts over their bathing suit. I would literally put on a bathing suit no one would ever see. As I got older, I kept doing the same thing.
During one of Matt’s visits to South Texas, we made plans to spend a day at South Padre Island and get in the ocean. Matt had already seen me without makeup and I was determined to keep breaking off other fears. I decided to not wear shorts over my bathing suit, so I planned to wear a black one-piece bathing suit with sheer see-through fabric in the tummy area, and a white beach cover top that looked like an oversized button blouse. We arrived at the island and I walked into a changing room. I put on my confident woman suit and my white cover top. I rolled up the sleeves of the top and left it unbuttoned in the front. I wanted it to flow in the air as I walked to my man...but really I just wanted it to hang low in the back to cover up my butt! You guys, I walked out of the changing room and for the first time ever I did not wear shorts over my bathing suit! And you know what happened…nothing. Everything was fine. Everything was normal. In my mind I had imagined people staring at me or giving me mean looks. That might have happened, but I will never know because when I walked out of the changing room I chose to not give anyone my attention. I chose to walk out of the changing room to Matt who did not freak out when he saw me but instead whispered cute things in my ear. My cellulite wasn’t a big deal. My stretch marks were not a big deal.
I SHOULD HAVE SHOPPED AT TARGET
On my way to meet Matt for the first time, I landed in the Dallas airport for my connecting flight to Louisiana. I was afraid that my make-up and other cosmetics would not be allowed in my carry-on bag, so I checked them in my luggage and I planned to go through several of the airport shops and purchase some items. (Days before flying out to Louisiana, I spent an afternoon going through the airport website and searching through the shops.) I was so nervous about meeting Matt and I wanted to look my best, so I purchased make-up, deodorant, hand cream, hairspray, body spray and other things - all travel size. Everything at the airport was overpriced! I spent about $80 bucks on travel size items I could have bought at Target for way less. I spent that much money because I made tiny flaws a big deal.
This was just one of the many ways I obsessed about my insecurities. When I look back and remember things like this, I shake my head and regret that my time and money were spent on things that I now see as meaningless. Matt has seen my flaws and it's so liberating - not only to talk about them but to have someone not care that I have stretchies or squishies here and there. He’s not following me around the house pointing at me and saying, “you gotta fix that.” He loves me and has chosen me as I am. That love does exist. I wish I could have heard that a lot more when I was single and heard less, “get your nails done because guys look at that.”
What I'm trying to say in this blog is this…girls, please don’t hide.
Let them see you! Don’t hide because you are uncomfortable about your body. Sometimes you just gotta get angry and say, “and so what?!” Go on that blind date. Make new friends. Ask someone out. When you are loved by a man who has experienced God’s love and is living in it, the way they love you casts out fear. With Matt, my fear of being seen has gone. To feel cherished, loved, and wanted by a man is not a daydream. It is real.
And now, the teacher in me would like to share with you a few takeaways:)
The Holy Spirit in you is the most beautiful thing about you. A godly man will see that. “Your inside amplifies your outside.” - Matt
It feels so good to conquer a fear! Don’t back out of dealing with a fear whether it’s putting on a bathing suit or going out on a blind date. That is the only way to grow and take steps forward.
Steward well the body God gave you. Healthy is the goal - not perfection.
When your mind begins to wonder of all the things that could go wrong when they see you, cut that thought off. Ask yourself who is narrating that thought. Something I like to do is to replay that thought but this time let Jesus be the narrator.
Don’t hide! Let them see you!
Con mucho amor,