I was always a small girl. I weighed 98 lbs up until my freshman year of college when I gained the "freshman fifteen." My god, I felt enormous. My whole life I had had nicknames like tiny, adorable, little girl, skinny mini, string bean, etc. The list goes on. My tiny frame felt like it held my identity and when the pounds began to pile on, I lost it. Then I had babies and I have to say, while being pregnant and a literal house for another human was magical...it was also awful. The number on the scale climbed higher than I had ever seen, but I was young and I had always been small, so I figured after I got these babies out, I would just shrink back down like I always had after eating big meals.
This was not the case. I had to WORK to get small. THE AUDACITY. I never in my life had to work for that. I had to work for money, friendships, relationships, and my mental health...but my body? Oh no no no, not happening. I was bitter about it. My weight went up and down throughout the next few years.
At one of my heavier times, people started to comment about my weight. A family member even TOUCHED MY STOMACH and asked if I had any news to share. Another person made comments about how earlier in the year (when I was in a skinny period) I was the skinniest I had ever been and he loved that. I was 120 lbs. but I was only thin because I was too sad to eat. Too stressed to move. Too depressed to care. I was a bad mother, a bad friend and a sad person at this time in my life. I had nothing going on, nothing I was working toward, nothing to be proud of and I wasn't taking care of myself...
BUT I WAS THIN.
Until those moments, I had never been called fat before. I had never had an outside source make comments on my body except to tell me how small I was. This was new territory and my head did not do well with it.
But then, I started to think about what caused this most recent weight gain. I stood and looked back at the time I was in and realized that I was chubby because was because I was happy...
The Club had just launched, the fundraising, the pins coming in, the women pouring out their hearts to me, telling me that my art helped them and made them feel brave and strong. I started working my ass off for those women. For you. FOR ME. What I did for you, you did for me times 10. For the first time in a long time I felt valued and worthy, like I was doing important work and most of all, I felt like I was swimming in love. I had love coming in from every side and I felt solid in it. This is when the weight started to pile on. I was busy, I was working hard at my craft, I was being a mom, I was being social, I was participating in events, I was taking my meds, I was celebrating success with dinner and drinks with friends, I felt like a person again...
but I was fat.
How dare I be fat?
So, I wanted to change it. Duh right? Why wouldn't I? All these months I was just fluffy and happy and how dare I, so I took these pictures to show a "before." They didn't have the desired effect though.
Let me explain.
A before photo is intended to stand as a snapshot of all the work you have to do, the problem areas of your body. You are expected to see them and feel gross and flawed and think to yourself, "Damn, how did I get so disgusting? I have got to do something." Not me, bro.
These photos motivated me to love myself.
I looked at these pics and thought "I look really cute and sweet and sexy in these" and a few years ago, I wouldn't have said the same. I didn't see these pics and instantly become appalled at my own body. I didn't see them and feel ashamed. I saw them, and then I came here, and decided to share them with you.
I have had people say they wish they were my size, at my smallest and at my biggest, and I always tell them "no, I like your size" because I do and so should you.
The first pic is me sucking in and posed
The second one is all my squish leftover from having kids AND 2 C SECTIONS in 1 year. Literally guys November 3, 2009 I had one C-Section, November 15, 2010 I had another. Of course my flipping body was going to change.
All I am trying to convey here is that you are beautiful, exactly as you are because you are more than a body. Your body is of course beautiful in all is swuishy, curvy greatness too, but you're more than that. You are a beautiful brain with ideas and thoughts, a beautiful heart filled with love and feelings, a beautiful person with hope and perseverance and tenacity and moxie running through you. You are more than a number on a scale or another person's opinion on your body.
Your body is allowed to be different than what society thinks and tells you is "beautiful." It is still beautiful and freaking powerful too.
Take a step back like I did and look at all you have, all you've done, all you've still to do and you will see all of the things that make you an incredibly badass human. That makes the weight of your skin, organs, muscles and god forbid fat seem so small doesn't it?