If you told me I’d have a photo of myself in a bathing suit I would have laughed at you...

January 15, 2020  •  3 Comments

I have not been in love with myself, especially my body, for as long as I can remember. I have, however, made a conscious effort since having my daughter in 2004 to be mindful of how I speak about myself and body and how I speak to her and her brother about theirs. I wanted to make sure I did my very best to set them up to love themselves and see the wonder and beauty in everything they are. I could not prevent the rest of the world from thrusting their opinions on them, but, I could control how I laid the groundwork for their own self-love and how they perceived other people’s bodies. I never spoke poorly of the appearance of my body or theirs, but instead talked about all the wonderful things they could do. Things like:

 

“your legs are bigger than your friends’ because you spend hours dancing and building muscle which makes you strong.”

“Mommy’s belly is soft and squishy because it grew you and kept you safe until you were ready to greet the world.”

“Yes, honey, I see...what a neat trick.”


Sometimes the conversations are a bit awkward, I’ll admit, but I can mirror wonder and excitement, while following it up with privacy guidance.

 

I digress...

 

I’ve tried really hard to make sure my children understood the functionality, purpose, and amazing things their bodies can do, were designed to do, etc. rather than placing focus on their appearance. Now don’t get me wrong, it still comes up, but I try to reinforce those foundational concepts. Bodies are different, bodies do amazing (and funny) things, and bodies have certain capabilities that allow them to do even more incredible things as they grow. No body is like another. There is no mold from which people are made. Everyone is different. Everyone is perfectly imperfect.


Hmmm… sound guidance from a self-loathing fraud. Who was I really speaking to all these years? Certainly, my kids, but a shift started happening in me as I started listening to the words I was speaking, without realizing I was listening. I was so focused on the kids, the chaos of parenting, surviving adult life, and its obstacles. (A post for another time perhaps…)

 

That photo on my desk is one of a handful of my husband and I since our wedding, 12.5 years ago. That photo is a reminder of the only trip my husband and I were blessed to experience, just the two of us, in nearly 19 years. That wonderful and {insert all the words here that I cannot begin to think of to describe Aruba and the most incredible reset/recharge of my life} vacation pulled me away from my day to day 'chaos coordinating'. Seven days of being in the moment – mostly unplugged, trying new things, reconnecting, rekindling, gaining perspective, and getting excited about life again. Seven days of removing myself from all the things that I didn’t know were weighing me down.


That photo is a moment of time, I don’t want to forget. Sure, it’s a cell phone pic, a “non-flattering” pose, {insert all the reasons and excuses to never let it see the light of day}, but it means so much to me. It’s my reminder to live, not survive.

 

The person I was, is no longer the person I am, nor the person I am becoming. It has taken time to get here. It required fear of having children that would grow up to hate themselves and place their value in their appearance. It required deep reflection, persuasion, and lots of frustration from those around me (like my husband) trying to convince me I was enough; just the way I was. It has taken scary and significant events to understand that life is happening, now. Life isn’t waiting for me to be svelte and perfect to be photographed or worthy of people’s time. Life isn’t waiting for me to be unafraid. The people I love are here and now and they want me to be with them… here and now. A tomorrow with them is not promised to me.


So that photo is up for the world to see because that photo means the world to me.


Comments

Sylvia Ellis(non-registered)
AWESOME well said my love XOXO
Kelly(non-registered)
This is awesome. And you look beautiful in that photo! You know what the first thing in that photo I see is?? That GORGEOUS smile!!
Michelle(non-registered)
Love this Nikki!!!!! You are truly a beautiful person inside and out!!!! ❤️
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