Tomorrow is my 25th birthday and this year I’m giving myself one of the best gifts I possibly could. When I started on this wellness journey I made a conscious effort to start accepting myself. This is something I have tried many, many times before, always failing miserably.
I am my own worst critic. I am a supporter of the school of thought that everyone is beautiful and no one should be ashamed of who they are. But for some reason I have always applied this logic to everyone else but myself. I have always had horrible confidence. I once told a friend in college that I liked it when it rained because I could walk around campus with an umbrella and no one could see me. I grew bangs, and even though the upkeep was incredibly inconvenient, I kept them because I could hide behind them. I get really nervous in front of people or when I’m in crowds because I don’t like being in situations where people can see me. I go to Walmart at night because there are less people out. Just to name a few. All of this crazy behavior isn’t a result of me being shy—it is a result of years spent being uncomfortable in my own skin.
Today someone told me that I must be incredibly confident to post photos of my back side online for everyone to see. And I was caught so off guard by the statement that I didn’t know what to say. To me confidence had nothing to do with it. All I could think is how I have always struggled with an incredible lack of confidence. I expected people to make remarks about the photos. I was prepared for those remarks. In a small community, I’m sure to some that seeing the bottom part of my boyshort undies was incredibly risqué. (That is if you could see past my dimple-covered thighs.) I was prepared to talk about how in the context of a health and wellness blog, such photos are appropriate. I was prepared to say that if people can post photos at the beach in a bathing suit, then I certainly won’t allow others to shame me for sharing photos showcasing less skin than that. I was prepared to lecture about how body shaming of any kind isn’t acceptable. I was even ready to rant about sexism in our society. But never in any made up scenario in my head did I imagine anyone telling me that I was confident or brave for posting those photos.
The more I fixated on the comment, the more I thought, “Hmmm maybe there is something to that.” When I first began this journey, I decided to look at myself in the mirror every morning and night and say, “I accept myself exactly as I am”. I usually do this right before or after I do my dry brushing. Now imagine doing this naked, under your bright bathroom lights, and in front of a full-length mirror. IT’S HARD. When I first started, it felt more like I was just saying the words and not really believing it. Because hey, its hard to look at all my lumps and bumps and really feel okay with it all. Yet somehow, I think making myself say it every day has had some sort of transformative effect on my emotional state.
Take for example when I started the dry body brushing, I did it because I read that it was a way to get rid of cellulite naturally. I was so focused on getting rid of my imperfections that I hated so dearly. I didn’t really care about the health benefits. But this morning I was able to look in the mirror, and although greatly improved, still see cellulite, see my love handles, my big calves, my face without makeup, and there were no immediate voices saying “You are so gross, you are so ugly, why can’t you just lose weight, etc.…” And you know what else I forgot to do this morning? Weigh myself. This is something I used to obsessively do 2-3 times a day, and funny thing is, lately I haven’t been thinking to do it very often. Why is that? Because I have made the decision to be healthy, to be good to my body. And as long as I do what I should be doing, then I will be how I am meant to be. If I somehow transform into a 5’ 8” bikini model, well that’s cool beans and all, but if all I notice are more subtle results, then I’m okay with that too.
It’s really exciting to be experiencing the emotional side to wellness. And thank goodness. When you are unhappy with yourself, it affects those you love. Ask my fiancé, ask my mom, hell ask my ex-boyfriend for that matter. And I just want to give a shout out to Kyle, who has loved me endlessly, even when I couldn’t find an ounce of love for myself.
Be happy with yourself. It’s okay if you want to improve. I guess all I am saying is that if you want to change, do so because you want to be healthier—both physically and emotionally. I could have saved myself years of heartache if I could have figured that out sooner. And absolutely no shaming of any kind! I don’t have time for any of that shit.