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You’re Beautiful to Me (Angela)

December 14, 2010

~Age: 44
~Number of pregnancies and births: 2
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 14 & 11 years old

I find it ironic that I appreciate my body now more than I did when it was a relatively tight little thing in high school. I used to curse what I called a “pot belly” and would wear oversized sweatshirts to hide it. Over two decades later my tight little pot belly is softened, scarred and sagging in places, yet I can now look in the mirror and rejoice in the beauty of my body. I no longer try to hide it, but wear clothes that reveal my curves and in which I feel feminine and sexy. I also now know that my body is not just for looks and I appreciate and feel grateful for all its blessings. First of all, it gets me through my life just fine: I walk, skip and dance. I give and receive hugs. I make love. I’ve made and nourished babies. I am strong, flexible and healthy!

When I see teenaged girls and young twenty-somethings with bodies similar to the one I had, I just laugh to myself and think “I used to have that cute little body and I didn’t even appreciate it!” When I see teenaged girls and young twenty-somethings with bodies larger than the one I had wearing cute outfits and strutting their stuff confidently, I am filled with a longing to have had that kind of confidence when I was their age.

I didn’t treat myself very well as a young woman and I now ask her for forgiveness: “Forgive me, dear girl, for not appreciating you. Forgive me for discounting your beauty and your worth. Forgive me for trying to hide you and all your love and light from the world.”

But how did I get from self-loather to self-lover? It’s something I’ve been actively working on since my late twenties when someone suggested I look into my own eyes in a mirror and tell myself “I love you.” Have you ever tried that? I couldn’t even maintain eye contact with myself! But I did it anyway, even though I felt like a liar as I uttered the words.

After I had children, I was struck by the way they and my husband loved to touch my belly; they told me it felt good! So I tried it. I closed my eyes and pretended I had no judgements about my belly. I touched, caressed and kneaded. I felt the texture of the skin, the softness of the fat and the firmness of the muscle. I felt the smooth parts and the bumpy parts; the taught parts and the parts that fold over. I was surprised that I was actually enjoying this very sensual experience! From that moment on I vowed not only to look at myself in the mirror lovingly and appreciatively, but to touch myself lovingly and appreciatively as well, and I can honestly say that I now mean it when I tell myself “I love you!”

In case you’re wondering, YES I still treat myself unkindly at times! If my clothes don’t look or feel right for whatever reason, I can easily spiral into a desperate place. If I’m going somewhere where I think there might be people who may judge me harshly, I feel anxiously insecure. Luckily, I’m very creative with clothes and I’ll try on item after item until I come up with a combination in which I feel at least presentable. And I feel grateful to my husband for being so patient while I fling clothes all over the room as I make us late for a party.

I’ve learned to be very kind and patient and compassionate with the self-loather in me. After all, she’s just a girl who got hurt by some pretty insensitive and sometimes cruel remarks when she was at the tender and confusing age of adolescence. She’s still trying to protect me by hiding me. It’s up to me, the woman I’ve become, to hold her lovingly and calm her fears: “It’s OK sweety – you’re beautiful to me!”

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18 Responses to “You’re Beautiful to Me (Angela)”

  1. Mina Says:
    December 14th, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Thank you for this wonderful post! I relate to much of it (and I thought I was the only wife who flung clothes all over the bedroom making us late for a party…).

  2. ginny Says:
    December 14th, 2010 at 11:38 am

    i really admire you. u r a very strong woman,be proud of that, u look fantastic!!xx

  3. Amy Says:
    December 14th, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Thank you for writing this! I think I’m on the same path. Even though I’m older and I’ve had two children, I would rather be me now than me when I was younger. I value the perspective and self-acceptance/appreciation that I’ve earned. My attitude is a work in progress, but I’m getting there! Your words are encouraging!

  4. bryana Says:
    December 14th, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    This is one of the most beautiful and honest posts I have read in a very long time. It is so important for us to love ourselves and to praise our bodies for the work they have done. I love your body, its beautiful and womanly.
    Thank you for sharing this, you put many of my own thoughts into words that I have not been able to do myself.

  5. Aberlee Says:
    December 14th, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing. I have a 20 month old and a 3 month old- I am slowly beginning to get over what my belly looks like. I could not understand how my husband thought I was beautiful until recently. Thank you for making me feel “normal” and that these emotions are part of being a Mom.

  6. Arianne Says:
    December 14th, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. I am a mother of 3, who is constantly cutting myself down for not being the ‘right’ size.

    Thank you for showing me that there is no ‘right’ size and that I can be happy where I’m at!

    This post brought tears to my eyes!

  7. Melanee Says:
    December 14th, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I am a mother of 3; one of whom was lost to adoption when I was a child. My body was scarred at 15 and has never looked the same; stretch marks, loose skin, saggy breasts…but I love me. I love who I am. I love all of my kids equally and pray that one day I will meet my son and tell him that, too.

    I have 2 daughters whom I want to grow up strong and secure; both in themselves and in their bodies. There are no ‘perfect’ bodies; we are human beings that are flawed, each and every one of us.

    We are real women. We are not air-brushed toothpicks parading around television or on a movie screen. We do not have personal trainers. I am a real woman. I am proud to be.

    Live your life in peace and be grateful for what you DO have….when you concentrate on what’s wonderful about you the Universe will provide more for you to be grateful for.

    Hugs to all.

  8. aa Says:
    December 14th, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    loved your post. you are indeed beautiful!

  9. Judith van Praag Says:
    December 14th, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Angela!
    Fantastic, thank you so much for your uplifting post. You made me smile so many times, and I’m still grinning, ear to ear.
    A lot of recognition. My husband always says I have a Pooh belly and that I’ve always had it, even when I was little. He’s got a picture of me as 3-year-old wearing nothing but sandals on his desk to prove it.
    Decades ago a woman told me about looking in the mirror and saying I love you without blinking. I remember how it made me cry and the longer I cried and stared into my own eyes, the more I felt what I said.
    I love your photograph as well, and you clearly do know what to do with your clothes ;-)
    Happy Holidays,
    Judith

  10. Maria Says:
    December 15th, 2010 at 2:33 am

    Thank you, thank you :) from the bottom of my heart. I needed that…:))

  11. Luann Says:
    December 15th, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Wow Angela!! You are one of a kind. Really amazing that you shared so openly and honestly and such an inspiration with no judgement whatsoever. I loved it. Thank you! You really are a special gal!

  12. Mrs.Petunia Says:
    December 15th, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    What a lovely post! I am so inspired by your courage to love yourself. Lord knows it isn’t always easy and takes a lot of discipline to keep on telling yourself the good messages. Yet, it is so worth it in the long run. It definitely beats self loathing, right? Thanks for sharing and inspiring me and others to keep up the good fight and be kind to ourselves. You are clearly amazing.

  13. Carolyn Says:
    December 16th, 2010 at 12:48 am

    Thank you for sharing this Angela. It is so wonderful, powerful and inspirational! It brought tears to my eyes, as I could relate to many parts! You are truly a beautiful woman, and I know what you share helps so many other women recognize their own beauty and self worth. What an amazing gift!!

    Thank you
    Lots of Love
    Carolyn K.

  14. Kim Says:
    December 18th, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    This really resonates with me Angela. You are so brave to say what we all are thinking. I have always been hard on my body, and I’m still working on walking down the path to acceptance. This is inspiring.

  15. Beba Says:
    December 19th, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Wow Angela,
    You really put things into perspective. I am so bombarded with impossible images in the media, that it is hard not to loathe my imperfections. Your post is a great reminder to love who I am, imperfections and all.

  16. L Says:
    February 2nd, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    thanks for this beautiful post! its very encouraging and I think your mentality comes from maturing. now most of us are new moms and still trying to understand motherhood with young children. you look beautiful by the way!

  17. Mandy Says:
    April 17th, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Ah, beautiful! Thank you. That’s what I needed to hear.

    I’m 36 and 6 weeks postpartum with my first child. It’s a wonderful time and I feel so blessed, yet today, tired and a bit emotional, I got to looking at the stretch marks on my now fully in demand breasts and just had to have a little blub for what was.

    I know deep down that nothing is more sexy than self confidence, but whilst grieving for my previously pert pair I wasn’t sure quite how to go about realizing the reality of that truth. I have always thought my mother (now 72) is so beautiful, but she has such low self image – she has shown me the way by letting me see the untruth of her self perception.

    Thanks again, I look forward to being a fully realised woman in due course!

    Love to all ladies in their softness and roundness and giving x x x

  18. Dee Says:
    June 5th, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Seriously, such a great post! I love your attitude and the fact that you share it so all of us can feel a little uplifted by your strong words also.

    I’m 17 and had my daughter almost 7 months ago. My body has recovered pretty well and even though I have stretch marks and smaller, saggy breasts I often love my body much more than I did before pregnancy. I’m so glad I’m still young so I still have the opportunity to show of my body. I never understood how wonderful my body was until after it experienced pregnancy and childbirth.

    Thank you for posting your story. You look great and I lovee the tat.

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