I read this article today about a woman who discovered that what she had perceived as overweight turned out to be just exactly who she is (and not overweight at all). It really moved me to read about her inner transformation and her decision to embrace herself and buy new clothes instead of her usual January-diet-up-and-down-cycle. How beautiful, to be able to discover that maybe you already are, well, beautiful.
Do you have a similar cycle? Have you made resolutions or plans to lose weight this year? How about loving yourself? Has that played into your New Year’s goals at all?
To be clear, I absolutely always support a healthy lifestyle. Eating whole foods with a large produce base, and moving your body regularly is a solid foundation for everything else to follow. Living healthfully allows you to feel better physically and emotionally. But I feel strongly that learning to love yourself is equally as important and, sometimes, must be accomplished before the rest can begin to follow. And the fact is that I have met many women who, for various health reasons (thyroid, food intolerances, adrenal issues, hormonal issues, etc) simply cannot lose the weight no matter how healthy they are. I’ve also met women on the other end of the spectrum – who are underweight and cannot gain enough no matter how they try – their struggles aren’t any less just because they happen to look, at first glance, more socially acceptable. Should woman, over- or underweight, have anything less than love for their bodies, just because they don’t happen to meet some number on a doctor’s chart? Hell no! They should love their bellies and breasts and legs and hips no matter what size they are. Because we are all beautiful. Period.
Working on this website has been such a blessing in so many ways. I get to see such beautiful people every day. I get to read about their struggles and their joys. I get to watch them love themselves. And they inspire me. I had already begun my journey to love myself wholly by the time I started this site, but I cannot believe I ever would have come this far without each of you. I hope I can return the favor.
Over the past year we had some incredible stories shared here. Colleen wrote about making peace with her cesarean and the scar that came with it. Lisa took a moment to ponder what she would say to a friend in her position – this is, in fact, one of my own personal tricks for being loving to myself. Mary wrote an incredible account of her feelings toward her body – beginning in the midst of hatred and coming into appreciation and respect. Emily realized how incredible a mother’s body is and promised to never forget. Proudmama touched readers’ hearts by comparing her body to a well-loved home full of warmth and memories. Eden shared what has become one of my favorite photographs ever. And that is just a drop in the bucket of the stories shared here. The pain, the joy, the emotional growth. I want to thank all of you – writers, readers, supporters. You are beautiful women. I mean that.
So. What resolutions are you making now? I hope that loving yourself, physically and mentally is on that list. Or moving further down that road, or sharing the message of love to others you know. Whatever applies to you. Because, you deserve it, our daughters (and sons!) deserve it, and together we can kick this self-hatred crap right out of womanhood altogether.
Happy New Year!