A Call To Arms..
As women, we tend to be overly critical of our bodies. Society has instilled in us a standard of what beauty looks like. Add those two together and it can be so damaging.
I am no different than all of you.
Growing up I was always fairly slender. The scrawny, freckle-kneed red head on the playground. It wasn't until high school where I started to really notice that I wasn't the right type of skinny. You know, like the pretty, popular girls were. I had slightly bigger hips and thicker thighs.
What I wouldn't give now to have that back, huh?
I became comfortable with my body up until after I gave birth to my first born. I gained about 15 pounds, which let's be real, isn't all that bad for a pregnancy, right? It fell right off after delivery and I was skinny again. Only this time, I was skinnier than ever. To be honest, I probably looked as skinny as a person on hard drugs, maybe 95lbs soaking wet? But I still wasn't happy.
My ex-boyfriend cheated on me numerous times between one woman who was skinny and another woman who was the definition of thick. Both beautiful in their own way. So here I am, caught in the middle, wondering which I needed to look like to get him to myself... but in the end it didn't matter how I looked. He kept cheating regardless.
In the midst of all that, he began to beat me. I'll save this story for another time because it's a long one and deserves it's own stage, but my body was no longer my own and was pummeled and raped on a daily basis for the next 3 years. My body was a mess.
Luckily, I met my late fiancé and sorta got out of that chapter of my life and came into a physically demanding job. I was so in shape and looked fantastic. Then I got pregnant with my youngest. With all the stress and moving out of my home state, I gained 50 pounds with her. I was the heaviest I'd ever been in my life and hated every minute of it postpartum. The weight seemed to go down rather quickly and I soon returned to the size I was before both of my children.
I was happy here. After having two kids and all I went through, 125 pounds seemed awesome!
Until the miscarriages happened..
One following my wedding and another just 3.5 months ago, I now am as big as I was after my second child.
I've been busy HATING myself over this body. This body that has never looked "so bad" in my eyes.
Why? Why am I so mean to a body that has been through so much?
This body was the home to 5 babies.
This body has brought 2 babies earthside.
This body has endured years of emotional abuse and the constant struggle of should I be "skinny" or "thick".
This body has been battered and beaten time and time again by the hands of someone who claimed to love it.
This body isn't gross or ugly. This body is strong as hell!
So ladies, this is a call to arms. A call to be gentle, to be forgiving, to be kind to yourself. The next time you look into the mirror, try to let go of the idea that you're too fat or too skinny, too ashy or too old, your eyes are too small or your nose too big; just look into the mirror and see yourself.
A good friend told me our bodies the way they are, are perfect. Perfectly made for us. Our bodies go through changes and seasons. We all go through the moments where we have self doubt about our beauty and our bodies. But please remember this:
YOU ARE MORE THAN JUST YOUR BODY.
This season will change and you will fall in love with your body again. Be easy on yourself because you are constantly changing and growing and your body holds all of the beautiful memories with it.
Some would say, "Well, your husband loves your body, shouldn't that be all that matters?" to which my answer is NO.
The way men view our bodies should have no bearing on how we are "allowed" to or how we should view ourselves. The only things that matters is how WE see ourselves. It is great that he sees me in such a way, but that does not mean I am unjust in how I view my own body.
Now I know it's easier said than done because I'm still working on it, but ladies, give yourselves some damn forgiveness! Forget about society's messed up standards of what it means to be sexy or beautiful. Regardless of what your body has endured, you're a damn warrior and your body deserves so much love.
So take some time to yourself. Take a bath. Exfoliate your skin. Go do something that makes you feel good about yourself and forget the rest!
You are beautiful, no matter your shape or size.
So give yourself some grace.
You're worth it. <3
- Melissa xoxo
PS: I took this self portrait this morning as a reminder that I am damn beautiful, even on my worst days.