I’ve never liked it. In fact, for the majority of my life, I’ve hated it.
I’ve been ashamed of it when it was thin, when it was obese and when it was everything in between. I’ve spoke to therapists and psychiatrists about my body hate. I’ve cried about it more times than I could ever count. I’ve hid from people that I love because of the shame I feel about my body.
I’ve starved myself.
I’ve stuffed myself.
I’ve done things I could never tell a soul to this body because I’ve hated it.
If you’ve read this blog long enough, you know what a struggle my body image has been for me. You know that I’ve missed out on so much of my life because of how disgusted I’ve felt with this body.
But then I read a post that changed everything.
I decided I had to find a way to make peace with my body. So that I could be an example to my children. I never wanted to hear my daughter say she’d “rather be dead than be fat.”
It wasn’t easy to do. I was riddled with health problems and stuck with a doctor who wouldn’t listen. I weighed 237 pounds. Not easy to love a body that unhealthy.
But I did. I loved it enough to fight for it.
I am now 55 pounds lighter, but make no mistake about it– I’m still fat.
182 pounds on a 5′ 4″ frame.
My breasts are saggier than ever. My stomach is too.
I have more stretch marks and we won’t even talk about my belly button.
But I’ve decided to to try love it anyway.
I love it by taking care of it. By taking the proper medications to make sure it functions as it should. By working out every day. By pushing it to do things I never thought it was capable of. By letting my husband enjoy it again,without reservations or hangups. By wearing cute clothes again. By treating myself to pedicures and facials.
By just enjoying every minute of my life.
This is my body. This is the only one I will ever have and the only life I will ever live.
While I was in NYC for BlogHer, I was given an amazing gift– a free Boudoir photo session. The photographer is a long time blog reader, internet friend, who wanted to do something nice for me after how hard I’ve worked to lose 55 pounds. (awesome!) What a perfect way to prove my new found Body Love! I said “absolutely, YES!” despite my fears and insecurities.
Oh, the fears and insecurities!
I haven’t worn anything sexy for at least 10 years– how would I put on something sexy and POSE FOR PICTURES? I didn’t know if I could go through with it, but godblessit, I was going to try!
This was a Really Big Deal.
This meant more to me than taking sexy pictures. This was so much more to me than that.
The shoot was fun and not as difficult or scary as I imagined it to be. Laura made me feel totally comfortable. I definitely had a ton of hangups. I worried about all of the body parts I was ashamed of (basically, every! single! one!) I was afraid my stretched out belly button would show, or my lumpy thighs. I laughed a lot, though and when it was over, I was so proud of myself for doing it.
But then, it was time to view the photos.
A very good friend had done a shoot before mine, so she came and my other friend came along with me so we could view our photos together.
As we watched, I felt a little embarrassed, but over all, I was comfortable with what I saw. Yes, my thighs were huge, but duh, I’m a big girl.
Then, it was time to view my friend’s photos.
And they were beautiful. And sexy.
I instantly felt regret about the photos I had taken. I suddenly became aware of how much time I’d spent covering my body up in my shots. Every insecurity that I’ve ever had about my body overcame my entire being.
Later, when I was alone. I cried in the cab on the way to a dinner party. I cried when a friend asked me how the shoot went. I sobbed in the bathroom.
Every awful thought that I’ve had about my body came rushing back. Not because of my friend’s pictures, not because she made me feel bad. I was proud of her for overcoming her fears — I know it was just as hard for her to do as it was for me. Simply because I was feeling so vulnerable in that moment.
For days, I secretly regretted doing that photo shoot. I hated the thoughts and emotions it brought up. I hated that I was once again reminded of how thoroughly flawed my body is.
I’m happy to say that I no longer feel that way.
When I got the first photo in my inbox, I was nervous. Nervous that I’d start crying all over again. But that didn’t happen. Instead, I felt… proud. Proud of myself for once again stepping outside of my comfort zone. Proud of myself for taking the huge step of buying myself something pretty and, dare I say it, sexy to wear. Proud of myself for working so hard every single day for the past year and a half to lose 55 pounds. Proud of myself for all of it.
Yes, my body is flawed. It’s no longer beautiful (in the way that I define beautiful.) I’m still overweight.
I had a choice to make. Pick myself apart, dwell on the negative, compare myself to others.
Or, just embrace it. My body, this experience, who I am.
And love it anyway.
Today, for the first time, maybe ever, I chose to love.
If you’ve ever felt the way that I have, I hope that you can learn to do the same. I hope you chose to embrace and love who you are, whatever your shape/size.
This is the part where I take a deep breath and show you what was so graciously given to me. Big thighs, saggy breasts and all.
Thank you, Laura, for this amazing gift. I am so grateful. [little voice] and so is my husband.[/little voice} And thank you Lena for being brave enough to do this with me. I love you.
Full set is here.