Red. Because It’s Me.

DanielleDelaneyIt’s funny.  Ask a woman what she doesn’t like about herself and you’ll likely have to interrupt to get her to stop.

Her nose. Her curls.  Her straight hair. Her hips. Her stomach. Her short legs.  Her long legs. Her freckles.

And the good?  The favorites?  We often have one or two.

I’m no exception.  I have one list that is longer than the other, but I’m working on it.  I’m just days away from the big 4-0 and I’m determined to love more of me.  I’m determined to see fewer flaws, to recognize the beauty in what is unique about being the ‘real’ me.  Yes, I have freckles.  Yes, I have a scar through my right eyebrow.  Yes, my skin isn’t what it used to be…and neither is my weight.  I could go on, but I won’t.

The truth is… this ‘me’ is all I have. And in some wacky way, I’m proud of it.

We are a culture lacking in the self-love we so richly deserve. And yet, here I am, determined to raise a small girl who sees the true beauty in the unique little being she is growing up to be.  I want her to ADORE her freckles, to appreciate her legs for the speed they give her, her mouth for the songs she can sing, her brown eyes for all that she can see, her hands for how quickly she can catch, throw, write and grasp my hands whenever she wants.

She has never heard me pick myself apart.  She doesn’t hear me complain about weight, about wrinkles, about aging.  She doesn’t have any idea that I don’t love my crooked nose but have always been mainly happy with my hair. We stare in the mirror together and laugh.  She has promised me I won’t REALLY be old until I’m 50. (good news, for now )

DanielleRedA few months ago, I visited my hair stylist – someone I adore and have known for years.  Because I can be honest with her, I asked why my hair felt so ‘blah’. That is, in fact, the word I used.  She explained that true red heads (this is me) lose color as they age. (why not?) The color naturally fades out. For someone who counts her hair as one of the things that actually does (or had) make her happy… this wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear.  But I knew she could fix it.

I wanted the ‘real me’ back.  No more feeling ‘washed out’.  No more ‘blah’.

Red.  Because it’s me.

That small ‘burst’ of color put a bounce right back in my step.  When I looked in the mirror, I saw ‘me’ again. So imagine, the smile on my face when I saw this Dove video…. I will tell you I know *just* how she feels…. about her hair, that is.  Take the 30 seconds to watch.  You’ll smile and there just might be a lump in your throat as well.

How do you talk to your small people about self-esteem, about the importance of loving themselves?

**I was not compensated by Dove for sharing this video.  I wanted to do so.