When I was growing up, I was surrounded by beautiful women. My mother is one of four beautiful sisters. All of varying hues of chocolate brown, my aunts are gorgeous, educated, driven, and have been instrumental in my upbringing. My grandmother was sassy, extraordinary, smart, and dressed her butt off. I like to believe that as I get older I become more and more like my Grandma Tootsie…
Sadly, growing up I felt awkward and out of place. I don’t know why–looking back I had a beautiful smile (still do!), great skin, and always had a fab outfit even if it was that same pink sweater with the tiny metallic Michael Jacksons dancing across the front that I wore over and over. It didn’t help that I shaved my eyebrows off when I was six years old and by the time I was in seventh grade I was 5’7″ at a new school, with big boobs, and the only black girl in my grade.
What I wouldn’t give to turn back the hands of time and give my younger self a pep talk! What I wouldn’t do to give my Grandma one last hug and tell her that she is one of the driving forces in my life each and every day!
Learning to love myself has been a journey but in the past few years has become so much easier after connecting with so many on their healthy living journeys. It helped that I stopped living my life for the scale. Sure, I still track my food and wear wearable tech but I’m no longer tying my happiness and self worth to whatever I weigh. What else helped? Saying #effyourbeautystandards. Yes, I am a huge Tess Holliday fan.
Seeing women of all shapes, sizes, and ages in advertising helps me on my journey. How beautiful are these women in the #ImNoAngel campaign? After years of being bombarded of images of beautiful (albeit thin) woman and wishing/hoping/dreaming I could work harder for a body like that, I now see so many beautiful average sized, curvy, and plus-sized women adorning billboards, magazines, runways….it is like we have arrived! This is important for not just plus size women but ALL women. It is great to see us all represented in these campaigns.
I haven’t been in the single digits in a long time and that’s ok. I’m 5″10″, strong, healthy, active, smart, driven, sassy (like my Grandma Tootsie) and dare I say it…I love myself! We aren’t all supposed to look the same. We are all real women–from the Victoria Secrets Angels to Lane Bryant’s #ImNotAngel. Here I am LOVE-ing on myself:
Today, I tried on clothes for my upcoming trip to Paris. I had just ate Chipotle (yasssss!) so I had a bit of a paunch (and even a bit of the ‘itis) and you know what….not one time did I see “I look fat in this” or “ugh, I need to hit the gym harder so I could wear this in public”. All things that would have went through my head before I had that a-ha moment last year. This is when I realized I am my own worst critic and the things I say to myself, I wouldn’t even say to my worse enemy. I’m working on the self compliments:
Rather I said “this dress isn’t flattering on me” or “that other shirt wasn’t as boxy and didn’t accentuate my curves”. I even asked someone for a size larger because heck, I want to be comfortable and um…hello boobs. Anything with buttons is usually not my friend. The old me would not have asked for a larger size because I had plans to fit into the smaller size…eventually. Eventually sometimes doesn’t happen so why sacrifice looking fabulous because of a label?
I am learning to wholeheartedly love my figure. Seeing diverse groups of women inspires and motivates me especially active and fit women of all sizes. Loving my figure has improved all facets in my life. It’s helped my healthy living journey because I’m working out because I LOVE my body not because I hate it. I’m that girl taking selfies of herself at the gym because the progress I see not only in my physical self but in my mental state is incredible.
It’s helped my marriage because I’m not constantly dogging myself out and I have embraced my goddess self. And most importantly my sons see a woman that is LOVE-ing herself.
Do I have or even want the perfect body? No and heck if I know what the perfect body even is! I know one thing: EVERY BODY IS BEAUTIFUL.
[Tweet “I don’t know what the perfect body is but I know one thing: EVERY BODY IS BEAUTIFUL. “]