Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Happy in our skin

I was having a right old chortle with my son this morning while we were doing the facewashing/teethbrushing routine. For the first time in five and a half years Junior noticed his feet. Let me explain. He has funny wee toes. Now, I'm allowed to say that because I'm his mum but if anyone ever dared to pass comment on them I might just turn into Mimi McGuire from Shameless, so bear that in mind! Don't get me wrong, it's not that they're really freaky or anything. Let's just put it this way - he's never going to get a contract for modelling open-toed sandals. I absolutely love my wee boy's feet and to me the fact that his tootsies are a tad unconventional only makes them that bit more kissable. Plus I once saw Ashton Kutcher on an American talk show and he wheeked his sock off to reveal toes not dissimilar to Junior's. Having dodgy digits didn't do him any harm! Junior's face was a picture this morning when he spotted his foot from a new angle and announced in a rather shocked voice "What the heck is THAT?!" Of course I immediately burst out laughing which set him off and then we were both convulsing in fits of giggles as he continued to stare in amazement at the toe that, quote "looks like a baked bean" - and it does a wee bit, which added to the hilarity in the bathroom. The sweetest thing was that Junior was in no way self conscious about his quote "wonky toe". On the contrary he couldn't wait to show his pals at school (something which I advised him not to do but he couldn't understand why - let's face it, kids can be cruel at the best of times.)
I wondered, when do we start really noticing our bodies and why is it that at five years old Junior found humour in his little squished (but lovable) toes when at 15 he might be horrified to discover he is different from everyone else. Of course I will always "big them up" just like I do with everything else Junior related (perhaps a bit too much, if I'm honest). In fact sometimes my son's self esteem is so inflated that I worry he might float away on the slightest breeze - "I'm really good at this, Mummy!" "I am very handsome today".
When I told him the story of the first time I ever saw his feet (it goes something like this - "When the midwife placed you in my arms and I checked all your tiny fingers and toes to see that you had ten of each I saw that you had really special feet and I knew at that moment you were going to be a very special person, blah,blah, blah. Actually in my post labour, drug induced haze it was more like "AGH! What's happened to his feet?) he smiled down proudly at his toes, wiggled them around and then skipped off to do something more important. Not a care in the world - he was delighted to have something a bit special about him.
Now, we could all learn a little from this. Why is it that the majority of us can't just accept ourselves warts and all? When do we start to turn our differences into things to hate and hide?
I'm a big fan of Beth Ditto (pictured above) who is famed for her eccentric style - figure hugging catsuits and flamboyant, clingy dresses. No elasticated waists or granny pants for Ms Ditto. I envy her confidence and attitude. I want some of what she's got, thanks very much. She just seems to be so happy inside her skin and that exudes from every pore making her beautiful. I think maybe the next time we take a look in the mirror and are tempted to say "What the heck is THAT!?" we should maybe try to have a giggle or at the very least skip off to do something more important.

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