You're ugly. There's something wrong with you. Perhaps your thighs, perhaps your nose. Maybe it is your crooked teeth or your bow legs.
Certainly you weigh too much. Maybe not a lot, but you could stand to lose at least 10 pounds.
You're not beautiful. No way. You would be crazy to think so. Look at that last photo someone took of you. It really shows every flaw you have. The other people in the photo look just like their regular selves, but you jump out as being a particularly messy specimen of humanity.
Isn't that the way it goes in our heads? We absorb the messages, we repeat them and we believe them down to our bones. Not me. I can't be beautiful.
Yesterday I saw something that put all that in perspective. My old church had a fundraising tea and lingerie show. The models were church members, including the pastor. Including my BFF, CC.
They were regular women, all over 30, and one almost 80. They were dressed in skimpy, lacy, fanciful underthings. Negligees and bras and corsets and panties.
And they all looked glorious. Not "okay for their body shape or size." Not "oh dear." Glorious. Shining. Beautiful.
I know they had all been super nervous before the show, but they had fun once they got out on stage. With an audience of about 100 cheering women, the models came out, strutted their stuff, shook their fannies, smiled, tossed their heads. Some had a hard time walking in thigh-high stockings and heels. Some had fat rolls, saggy bits, flawed skin. And no one cared.
We all appreciated their bravery and they fed on the appreciation. We were smiling, clapping, and laughing with love, not in a mocking way. The pastor dressed as an angel in white - including a halo AND fishnet stockings.
The 80-year-old tossed off her short satin robe and paraded in sky-blue panties and a bra, her wrinkles on show. And you know what? It was beautiful and sexy.
I can't remember when I have seen anything more inspirational. Those women taught me something about showing off and owning what you have.
I'm so glad I have friends at a church that encourages its members and pastor to prance around in panties. I'm gonna go buy me some sexy undies.