The Perfect Life

My first vision of perfection came when I was a tween. It came after a week with my extended family celebrating Thanksgiving on the beach.

Each day leading up to the holiday my cousins, sister, and I ran in and out of the warm Mexico waters. It was so much fun - except for one little thing - I was huge, at least in my mind. All week long I had time to compare my legs to my sister's stick-skinny legs. I had calculated, they must have been at least four-times the size and she's only two years younger! I thought about my stomach - the roll that spilled over my pants every time I sat down. My thin cousin, also two years younger, didn't have an ounce of fat on her tummy. Even my older aunt was skinnier than me!

Finally, Thanksgiving came. I stuffed my mouth full of turkey, potatoes, and rolls. With each bite I could feel myself growing even more - my ankles turning to calves, my arms developing the underarm flab, and my chin jutting out to hide my neck. I then ditched the dinner table, grabbed a couple rolls and went to the second floor balcony of my grandma's vacation home. There I ate my homemade rolls crying. I looked out into the darkness and up at the stars thinking about how my life would never get better, how I could never have a perfect life if I didn't lose weight.

The next day we drove out of Mexico. While I was sitting in my family's car I began thinking about what I would look like if I were perfect. I had this vision, I'm wearing a red skirt - I step out of the car to reveal my tan, thin, and slightly muscular thighs. It may seem weird or silly, but that image has stuck with me for the last 10+ years. I've never had those dream thighs. I've thought about them, oh how I've thought about them. But at the end of each day, I'm still walking on my white, pasty, big, muscular thighs.

While grocery shopping today I saw this woman. Nothing really special about her appearance - sandy brown hair (kind of muddy looking), a few rolls (more than the one's I hate myself for), aging skin. Yet, somehow I stood in the Walmart grocery line envying this woman for what she did have, what appeared to be the perfect life. She had three little kids, all under the age of 5, helping her unload and re-load her full-grocery cart. Meantime, her husband was praising their every effort and talking to the woman about the minutia of grocery shopping -- where the bread was so it wouldn't get smashed and where the frozenables were so they wouldn't melt. It may not sound perfect to some people, but to me I stood in awe... watching the couple working in perfect rhythm with eachother, loving their time together. Not to mention her well-behaved cutie-pies who put down the candy the moment their she said "not this time." I wanted to lean over to the woman and say, "You are so lucky."

Today I realized, perfect isn't about what you look like. Perfect isn't about your chizled abs, or sculpted biceps. Perfect, the perfect life is about being happy. I can't possibly be happy if I tell myself I am less of a person because my thighs will never be the dream-thighs of my tweens. My life is good - great husband, wonderful home, amazing family, steady job. Just because I'm not Kate Beckinsale at the moment, doesn't mean I'm not perfect. I have the perfect life.


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