NOTE: After this post went live, I received a reader comment that was too important to ignore. See how I responded here.
I’m stepping out on a limb here. A BIG limb. Or should I say, a really tiny, not very stable, about to break out from underneath me limb… and it scares the hell out of me.
Yes, I said hell. And, yes, that’s a picture of me up there. Half-naked. At least I’m smiling…
But I could sit here all night and criticize the things I see wrong in that photo. I certainly don’t like seeing myself naked, much less letting other people see me in, um, not much of anything. Yes, it was taken by a professional who did some touching up, but she knew that I didn’t want it very touched up – I wanted my fat rolls to show, my imperfections, all of it.
I wanted you to see the real me. Heck, I just got done writing a post about being authentic.
You see, I’m pushing 190 pounds. At 5’7″. I wear a size 12-14. If you’ve seen me in person, you’re probably questioning these numbers, but I promise, I’m not lying. And this may seem skinny to some of you, but remember, coming from the girl who was 100 pounds when she graduated high school and 140 ten years later when she got married, 190 seems awfully fat.
But despite the laundry-list of things I’d change about my body if I could, I’m beautiful. Just the way I am. And so are you.
I’m sure several of you are thinking, “Couldn’t she have just posted a picture of herself without make-up or of her baby belly?” Yes, I could have.
But that’s not all this is about.
It’s about more than that. It’s about learning to let go. Being comfortable in my skin. Gaining confidence in myself and improving my self-image just enough. To love my body. Just. The. Way. It. Is.
It’s about realizing that this baby belly is here because I carried THREE babies at once. I had three babies. This belly gave life to three miracles. Isn’t it amazing?
That this nose, the nose I think is a little too big for my face, is part of my German heritage.
That my pale skin was considered the most beautiful and sought after skin in the old-English days. (I realize we are a bit past those days, but I’ll hold it as a positive still.)
That my sagging breasts that are now uneven in size fed my babies for 14 months AND produced enough extra milk that I was able to help feed two other babies.
It’s also about showing my daughter – and my son – what loving yourself is all about. What kind of mom would I be if I constantly talked down about how I felt I looked? It would teach them that I’m ugly. That beauty is all that really matters. That Tenley must be beautiful to be lovable and that Braden should only go after the pretty girls.
It’s about putting these photos in frames on the wall in my bedroom. And when Braden and Tenley see them, letting them. And telling them that Mommy is proud of her body, flaws and all.
It’s about standing up to the lies that society tells us about ourselves. There are too many negative images and messages being thrown in our faces, our children’s face, about what we should look like, how big our breasts should be, what we should wear, what size we should be.
Enough. I share these images with you to say ENOUGH. To say ‘Screw You’ Mr. Abercrombie CEO. Shame on you for the things you said. To say ‘Thank You’ to Dove for their numerous inspiring beauty campaigns.
You know what else it’s about?
Not sex. This isn’t about sex or being sexy at all. I didn’t do this for my husband. He already loves me and knew all these things before I ever spoke these words. I’m just as beautiful in an old t-shirt sporting bed-head first thing in the morning – morning breath and all.
I also consulted him before agreeing to take this on. He helped pick the outfits. He approved the images I’m using for this post. We prayed about it. And we decided I should do it.
So I did. I did it for me. And for my children. And for you. I did it to let you see inside my scared little girl self and to realize that we ALL have self-image issues. We ALL hate something about our bodies. But we are ALL beautiful. Just the way we are.
I would encourage you to get some photos of yourself like this. It was an amazing experience and I’m SO glad I did it. It helped me see myself in a different light, and for that, I have no regrets. Not about doing it. Or sharing in this post. No matter who balks at my courage.
Thank you to Jodi Catherine Photography for the amazing experience. I always wanted to do it, but never had the courage. Thank you to Mama Owl (Martha) for making me look beautiful and presentable with my hair and makeup. I suck at that stuff. And thank you to The Cakeball Boutique for the yummy cake balls you added to my swag bag and The Girls Room for the gift certificate; although I can’t use it because I don’t live in Dallas, I plan to give it to one of my lucky friends.
BONUS: Jodi Catherine Photography is offering a $100 credit towards prints and products when you book a boudoir session with her. Now you can get some amazing photos like I did! Just click on her name above and you’ll be taken to her website where you can find her contact info. Just mention this blog post when booking.
I want to know what you find most beautiful about your body. Not your personality. Your BODY. Because every body is beautiful. Even mine. Even yours. Leave a comment below and let’s celebrate what we love about ourselves.