I don’t know if I’ve ever had a post laid on my heart so clearly and obviously as this one. Over the last 2 days I’ve been inundated with movies and messages of self love. With 2 daughters about to hit the age where their view of their bodies could change for the negative, I contemplate often how I feel about my own body. I remember feeling incredibly ashamed at a heart breaking age of my white, fat legs, my pudgy tummy, my teeth, my hair, my bubble butt (and for the record, I’d kill for that bubble butt these days) my skin etc. The list goes on and on. I wanted to be perfect. I have always taken myself too seriously, painfully aware of people around me.
In high school, I was never the skinny, pretty girl who everyone knew and loved. I was the quiet girl that lacked confidence to be who I really wanted to be. I was pathetically obsessed with popularity and beauty. I wanted boys to like me and they never did. I had a hard time making friends and instead of going to parties, football games or even prom, I stayed home practicing piano. This wasn’t my choice, I just didn’t have the confidence I needed to hold my own.
Now days I have grown my inward confidence and embraced my internal nature. However, I still struggle with body confidence. Instead of feeling fat and awkward, I now fear how aging is going to catch up.
I’m happy to say, this year has been the year I’ve been able to let a lot go. As I’ve aged, I’ve grown more comfortable in my own body. With age, even motherhood-I’ve accepted the parts that aren’t perfect and either hide them or accept them. Seems like this year, it’s hit me how self absorbed and vain I have always been and that it just shouldn’t matter anymore. I still have a ways to go but for the first summer ever-I’m wearing shorts. I’m incredibly self conscious about my legs and cellulite and would swear to you that in certain lights, my legs look like they belong to a 90 year old. Honestly, it’s not that I think they look better, it’s that I’m just owning it and realizing that no one cares.
I say all this to say that I know I’m not alone. As women, 99.99999% of us have insecurities that dictate how we feel about ourselves. I believe it’s the hardest as teens but for many of us, it never really gets much better. It breaks my heart that as women, we judge ourselves and sometimes each other so harshly. Even the deepest among us can forget that we have so much more to offer then what we look like in a swimsuit or shorts. For some, the obsession to look a certain way can cause body dysmorphia, eating disorders and depression. I know there’s nothing I can say to fix any of you that are dealing with this but I do believe that society is changing and I’m seeing movies, TV shows and ads that are embracing all sizes and shapes of women and that is exciting.
I watched the Amy Schumer movie, I Feel Pretty this weekend. The message was spot on. How we perceive ourselves is how others will perceive us as well. Confident girls who accept their physical appearance as is are the ones that look the best. I mean, it makes sense. If we believe in ourselves, most people will too and because we believe in ourselves, we can leave the rest behind-they don’t matter. The character in the movie was very insecure about her body and felt very much less then the women she encountered in her job and spin class. She wanted so badly to be beautiful. She fell off her spin bike, bumped her head, passed out and woke up seeing herself in a new light. Physically she was the same but what she saw in the mirror was a beautiful women. That gave her the confidence to accomplish whatever she desired. However, after a while, her preoccupation on her physical appearance took it’s toll and she began to become ugly on the inside.
After that movie I was exposed to two other movies with a similar theme-Wonder and The Greatest Showman. Both with strong messages that it’s the inside that counts. That we are all uniquely and wonderfully made with a purpose to love and lift others.
Probably the greatest inspiration for all this is American Eagle. I am always checking their websites for sales on bralettes and over the last year, they have replaced their usual models with real women. Now, it is rare to find a model thin women on their site. Everyone looks real and normal. This alone has inspired me to embrace my legs, my tummy, my cellulite. I’ve realized that this body has birthed 2 perfect babies. This body gets up every morning with the ability to do whatever I tell it to. Even my less then flat tummy shows all the wine and sugar soaked nights watching Netflix with my new hubby. I wouldn’t trade those nights for anything and so what if I’m wearing them on my stomach?! So what if my legs really do look like a 90 year old? As if somehow that makes me less of a good person. And as if anyone cares.
I’m not sure why I needed to write this post, I just know I did. I’m not sure if I delivered the message or not but I sure hope I’ve inspired someone to accept their body just a little bit more. As women, we are so much more then our shell. Having integrity, being kind, freely giving love to our children and partners and loving who we are is the most effective recipe to achieving “pretty”.
“I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.”