Every now and then when baby girl is sleeping, I’ll bring out my ancient Macbook and scroll through photos of what life used to be before Shiloh.
And damn, I looked good.
For real though, there was this one picture of me in a bathing suit on vacation in Florida with my stud of a husband, and I. Looked. So. Good. I had this thin face that didn’t swell up when I smiled, the definition in my abs was just enough to show I work out (but not too much that I looked like a bodybuilder), my arms were perfectly defined, and dare I say my butt compared to that of Jennifer Anniston in We are the Millers. Like Whooza.
Ok, fine, I’ll let you see.
I quickly thought to myself…If I just had this body back, THEN I would be happy with myself.
And then it hit me.
The way I felt in that picture rushed over me like I was still standing there in front of that camera 3 years ago.
I hope my legs don’t look too big.
I feel so fat right now.
Suck it in, suck it in.
If I twist this way, I might look a little smaller.
Gah, I shouldn’t have had that Gelato last night.
I'm glad I put on makeup.
Pull your shoulder back and rotate your arm so hopefully they can’t see my arm fat.
Arch your back so your butt looks a little bit bigger.
And then I stopped myself.
That was me. But even in that 26-inch waist moment, I still wasn’t good enough. I remember at the end of every day, I would pinch my belly, tell myself how fat I was, and then pack my gym bag before bed. I used to joke about having body dysmorphic disorder, but now I’m not finding that so funny.
Looking back, I spent on average 2 hours a day, 6 days a week at the gym, ate super clean and barely let myself splurge. I was always that annoying girl at the party, denying every offer for a drink or dessert because I couldn’t slip up just once. “Yeah, I don’t drink…Too many calories.”
If I could slap myself 3 years ago I would.
No matter how amazing I looked, in my head I still wasn’t good enough.
Ladies, why do we do this to ourselves? Why does it feel weird to write about me thinking I look good?
Why do we continue to believe the lies that we aren’t good enough? Because that’s all they are….lies.
I unknowingly started my road to “recovery” once I read a lovely book called God Loves Ugly by Christa Black (christablack.com if you're interested). She takes you through her broken and painful past of self-hatred and uncovers how she found healing. I gave away my original copy so I can’t give you any amazing quotes, but what I can give you is the biggest thing I took away from her writings…
The voices in your head…the ugly things you say to yourself…you actually have a choice whether or not to believe those words.
Oh gah I look awful today. Nope.
I hate my dark circles. Nope.
These stretch marks are so ugly. Nope.
Since the moment I dipped into her story, I promised myself I would begin to make the conscious effort to choose self-love. Even though the battle still exists in my head from time to time, I can proudly say I’ve never felt more comfortable in my own skin than I do today.
Oddly enough, I found it very easy to love my body once I became pregnant. It felt so good to be proud of my own growing belly. For the first time ever, I actually listened to my body, ate what I wanted (within reason), exercised without torturing myself, and allowed my body to just be.
Since having my baby girl, I’ve become fully aware that who I am today will directly affect the woman she becomes. Not only am I supposed to show her how to behave, more importantly, it's my job to show her how to be comfortable in her own skin. If I want her to love herself, & be confident in who she is, then that's who I have to be.
And even though I still wake up with some gnarly dark circles under these eyes, and I still pinch my belly hoping those extra french fries choose not to love on these love handles, I have decided not to listen to those awful voices in my head.
Because I’m confident that's not what my daughter sees. I'm sure she sees a beautiful woman who she wants to be like one day. If you could look at yourself the way your baby looks at you, then maybe it would be easy to shake off those lies we hold onto.
So today if you're feeling like you are not good enough…
I want you to know that you are.