I recently shared the photo above on my social media feeds. They are before and after pics with a slightly different slant.
Before: Weight low. Self-esteem lower. Obsessed with how I look and what they think. I buy anti ageing creams and get my life advice from the mainstream media. I hate my job. I want to fit in with the Beautiful People so badly. I want the Cool Gang to like me. I weigh myself every morning and every night. I binge and purge or I starve myself until the bathroom scales give me the number I need. I tumble from one toxic relationship to another. I have no idea how to be happy.
After: Weight much higher. Self-esteem also much higher. I tune into how I feel and I do my best to disregard what they think. I have lots of cellulite on my legs and my tummy hangs over. I only ever step onto the scales at routine visits to the doctor and even though it stings a little when he tells me I “could lose a few pounds”, I don’t make myself sick and I don’t starve myself. I am married to a man who tells me I am beautiful. I believe him.
I took the photo on the right in a store changing room last week after I’d tried on a pair of jeans. As I caught sight of my body in the mirror I had a moment of wishing I had my younger body back.
And then I remembered who I was then. And I reminded myself of who I am now.
I’m not that person anymore, nor do I want to be. And even though my body may be heavier now, I’m actually healthier. I’m certainly happier.
I am so grateful for this body. For the way in which it shows up for me every damn day. I will love every line, every roll, every scar, all the stretch marks and every last bit of cellulite.
There were so many times when depression could have claimed me. So many times when I wanted to dive into the darkness and never come back.
I am here. I am alive. And I am owning it.
I want you to own your beauty, too. I want you to love yourself at whatever weight you are now. If you are struggling with your body image please remember that your self-worth is not a number. Nor is it acceptance into an elite group.
You are good enough exactly as you are. Do not allow anyone to tell you that you are lacking or less than. Say no to that story.
You are loved.