A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend about clothing choice, during which I was informed that the reason I didn't feel the need to dress more "adult" was because I was already old (those weren't the exact words, just the basic concept).
The initial response was shock and disbelief. I thought of all the people who have told me I look too young to be married, not to mention all the comments and looks I got while pregnant. Then I realized I really hadn't heard that in awhile...almost year to be more specific.
Since then I have looked at myself a little closer every time I pass a mirror. Have I really aged that much in the past year? What could have caused such an abrupt end to my youthful appearance?
I am starting to see now what I think my subconscious has been hiding from me, fearing I would be unable to deal with it.
My once carefully styled hair is now quickly thrown into a ponytail, and bits of food somehow get entangled in it, occasionally going undetected for hours at a time.
My wardrobe, which used to be a priority, has taken the backseat and is now looking fairly pathetic.
My rule of never leaving the house without makeup has been broken on numerous occasions.
Bags under my eyes have formed from the nights I lie awake in bed.
The places of my body that were once thin and tight have been replaced by bulges and literally fallen victim to gravity.
What is the cause of all this?
I believe it has a LITTLE something to do with this:
Motherhood is such a unique experience. My outer appearance has definitely changed as I have taken on this new role. I have most assuredly aged.
However, I see something everyone else may not see.
I see the messy haired, nude faced woman in a t-shirt and jeans who would rather help her child practice walking than spend that extra 30 minutes in front of the mirror.
The bags under my eyes remind me of the nights I lie awake thinking of ways to be a better mother and wife. I see the late nights I spend silently praying for peace as I think of raising my children in this world.
The joy I have discovered as I have found my true place in the world as a mother has translated into "smile" wrinkles around my mouth and eyes.
The new shape of my body links me to all women who have sacrificed tight buns and abs to become a mother.
So to the world, I may just look haggard. Luckily, while looking more closely at myself these past couple of weeks than I ever have, I have discovered a new sort of beauty.
I can honestly say I have never felt so beautiful.