The dressing room was crowded, a dozen curtains hung up and down a long hallway capped with a three-way mirror. I could hear their voices drifting up into the air, talk of clothes and sizes, laughter over inside jokes and excitement around events to come. I was finished trying on the things I had taken in my dressing room, and I was waiting for my sister. I can’t remember what she was looking for; maybe nothing in particular, but she wanted my opinion.
She stepped out from behind her curtain and glanced at herself in the mirror standing at the end of the hall. She twisted; side-to-side, tucked her hair behind her ear, yanked at the top she was wearing, sucked in and gave an unsatisfied huff. She was sizing up her reflection and finding it imperfect. I could see the wheels behind her eyes spinning: if only I was thinner, if only my hair was thicker, if only my legs were longer.
I was suddenly aware of all the girls around me doing the same thing. Judging themselves, heaping on shame for being the way they were. The size they were, the color they were. Girls of all ages, some that looked too young to even be shopping alone, others older and more reserved. Poking at their legs, stomachs and arms, fussing with their hair, messing with their faces. Each of them seeing their reflection, and wishing something was different.
I wanted them to stop. I wanted them to know that they were all beautiful. That each part they were criticizing was perfect, that they didn’t need to change, that they couldn’t be more beautiful. But the words dried in my mouth, because had I not only moments before put back everything I had tried on because I was having a “fat day”? Had I not just stood behind my own curtain and wished my thighs were smaller, and my hair longer, and my face brighter? Had I not just shamed and judged myself. And now here I was, watching my younger sister doing the same thing. How could I expect others to see themselves as beautiful, if I didn’t even see beauty in myself?
They say “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Well, I want my younger sisters and all women to know their true beauty. Imagine what that would be like, for women to see themselves as perfect. Not “I know everything, and I never make mistakes” perfect, but “This is who I was created to be and I see the true beauty in that” perfect. The kind that could transform our lives, the way we see ourselves and treat ourselves and therefore the way we see and treat others.
The kind of perfect that is really magic at its core. That’s the kind of change I want to see. The kind that encourages women to stop comparing themselves and judging themselves and shaming themselves, and instead cheers them on in being unique and different and beautiful.
Want to join me in getting rid of dressing room shame? Tell me about a time when you realized you were perfect. Maybe you haven’t had one of those moments in a long time. Then I challenge you right now to go to the mirror and look at yourself. See the things that you wish could change and tell yourself those things are beautiful, because they are me.
Go on, right now. Stand up, walk to the mirror and look. Really look at yourself. Maybe make a list of things you wish were different and then every morning stand in front of the mirror with your list and say out loud, I love my imperfections. I am perfect, just the way I am.
It might feel uncomfortable at first, even stupid, and I guarantee you won’t believe a word you’re saying the first time. But I’m willing to bet, if you did it enough mornings in a row, that you would start to see yourself differently. Or maybe I’m wrong, but really what do you have to lose?
It has to start with us, with me. So I won’t avoid mirrors, I won’t cut myself short, I won’t wish my imperfections were different, because they aren’t imperfections they are just parts of me. And if I start to believe that I am perfect, than maybe you will too!
How are you going to start seeing the real beauty of you? Tell me below in the comments.
The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through the avenue of storytelling. She writes full time from her home in Nashville, where she lives with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat Blair.