Have you ever thought about what it would be like to feel truly comfortable in your skin? If you loved your body, exactly as it is.
A few days ago, I was out for a walk with Frankie. The day had started off foggy and cool. I was dressed as if it were January (I wish I was kidding).
As my walk progressed and the morning sun burned off the fog I found myself regretting the sea of black layers I was donning. And as if without giving it any thought, I went to take off my thick, long sleeve shirt.
But then quickly paused.
Had I been walking with my best friend, or my daughter, I would have said, “You’re being ridiculous. Take off your shirt. You’re sweating!”. But instead, my internal voice wasn’t quite as compassionate, and I found myself hesitating.
I didn’t pause because I’m overly conservative about showing my skin. I was wearing a modest full coverage sports bra. But instead, I realized that I had paused because I was afraid of what other people would think as they saw me walking down the street without my shirt on. The quick judgments.
And not so much about how my stomach looks. I know how it looks. It looks like I’m a 40-year-old woman who has had four kids and eats real food. Because that’s what I am.
Rather I found myself pausing out of insecurities of how others would perceive my “self-confidence”.
You see I don’t wear two piece bikinis at the beach or take my shirt off if I get hot on a walk with my kids because I think I look amazing and I’m trying to be flashy. I do it because I’m comfortable in my skin. I like who I am. And I like my body. Exactly as it is. A place that’s taken me almost 40 years to get to.
In a world that’s built on women feeling insecure and striving for unattainable “perfection”, liking you are, exactly as you are, is a rebellious act.
And at times I think that my “self-acceptance” can be perceived as too confident or flashy. A little bit of “who does she think she is”. But in reality, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
I see myself and my flaws with eyes wide open. And I welcome them. Accept them. And then I say heck yes, I still kind of like the WHOLE package. Flaws and all.
I have stretch marks from birthing four kids. A little bit of a pooch from eating too many bowls of popcorn (and curry and hummus and all my other favorite foods). I have wrinkles, and varicose veins, and ankles that get puffy by the end of the day. And it’s not just the physical “flaws” I see. There are the parts of me, underneath all of that, that are still a work in progress. Learning to mother four kids, learning to calm my ever anxious mind, learning to “be enough” in my role as a mother and wife while trying to build a career.
BUT…. I take all those things and blend them with all the awesomeness that I am too, and in the end, I like the whole package.
So when you see me walking down the street in just a sports bra or on the beach in a two-piece bikini, or wearing bright red lipstick on a Monday morning. No, it’s not because I think I look amazing and I’m trying to show off. It’s because I just like who I am and I wear what I want…without hesitation. Without apologies.
I show up, loud and proud and unashamed (or least I try to…)
I talk with Lillian a lot about loving her body. Loving who she is. Embracing ALL of who she is, the good and the things that maybe aren’t our best. And I think to myself; I can’t just say that I have to BE that.
I need to live what I preach. If I can’t LOVE my body, how will she love hers?
I’m 40 years old. 40. That’s almost 40 years I spent trying to change this or hide that. Oh, how much time and energy I wasted trying to fix what was already pretty awesome, and was working pretty darn well for all of these years.
I have 40 years left here on this earth (please God, let it be a whole lot more than that). And I’m not wasting any more of that precious time being critical of my body. There are far too many other important things I’d rather be spending my time on than worrying about a number on a scale or the size of my pants.
As women, I think we can all be so much more than we allow ourselves to be. We keep ourselves small by allowing our minds to focus on all that we aren’t. All that we want to change or fix. And my hope is that someday we change that narrative. That we can shift our internal voices to celebrate our bodies. To celebrate our uniqueness. To embrace our “flaws” and accept our bodies just as they are.
So yes, you will see me on the beach wearing a bikini. You’ll see me wearing red lipstick at the grocery store or a dress to school pick-up, or in just a sports bra as I walk Frankie down the street. And I do it with pride. Because I’m working hard every today to show up FULLY and UNAPOLOGETICALLY as me. Owning the skin I’m in. Celebrating my body. And loving who I am, exactly as I am. And I hope you’ll join me too.