My relationship with my body has always been complicated.
Normally, by the time July rolls around I’m standing in my bikini in front of my mirror, straight pissed at myself for not working out earlier or dieting sooner.
How the fuck did you allow this happen?!
You should’ve been more disciplined.
You should’ve known better.
You should’ve tried harder.
My abusive inner critic would taunt and berate me as I’d peer into the full-length mirror, examining every inch of myself top to bottom, failure flooding my system and pure shame seeping through my veins.
As long as I can consciously remember, I’ve struggled with body image. One of my earliest childhood memories is sitting by my grandparents backyard pool counting my tummy roles with my grandma.
I was only four, but already I felt shame around my chubby little thighs and buddha belly. And that shame deepened throughout my childhood and into my teens.
Like most girls, I was bombarded with images of beauty that showed coked-out thin models who still managed to have DD breasts and perky bums. They appeared so confident and graceful. They seemed so empowered and alive. I wanted that too.
So I began to wildly chase “beauty,” thinking if only I could look like them, I’d feel the way I assumed they felt.
The first time I remember counting calories was at 11 years old. I found myself in a dangerous corner of the internet, a website that taught young women the tricks and trades of losing weight. There, I picked-up dangerous habits that created a pattern of self-sabotage and loathing that would plague me for over a decade.
I admired anorexic women. I wished I could be that disciplined, that focused and that committed to my results. But the truth is, I sucked at dieting. Every time I focused on eating less, I wanted to eat more. And so I began the brutal ritual of bingeing and purging.
Some of the darkest moments of my life involve sobbing on the bathroom floor, hugging the base of the toilet, my throat on fire, the rancid taste of stomach acid burning my mouth. Hating myself for having eaten a box of Kraft Dinner and a pint of mint chocolate ice cream, but despising myself even more for throwing it all up.
As I grew up, my bingeing and purging morphed. It wasn’t about trying to lose weight or reach a certain goal, but instead became a way to exert a false sense of control over my life.
Whenever I felt out of control, like when my university boyfriend and I would get into a fight or I’d get a bad grade on a paper, I’d make myself get sick. It was my way of “managing” my life. If I could control the food that I allowed to remain in my system, my sick mind convinced me I could manage everything else.
For years, nobody knew about this. It was a shameful secret I kept totally and completely to myself. I never shared it with my friends or family, not even my closest girlfriends knew. I felt like I’d be judged, ridiculed and unaccepted as this sick part of myself was in direct opposition to the confident, fun-loving, free-spirited woman I broadcast to the world.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I began to get real with myself and heal.
When my current boyfriend, Dale, and I got into our first real fight, my urge to get sick was huge.
But a tiny, still voice within me said don’t.
Calmly she soothed me and explained to me that I had a choice here. I could continue down this path of self-sabotage and self-loathing, or I could learn to love myself wholly, completely and unconditionally.
That tiny, still voice was my higher self. And I trusted her. I knew I had to heal this. That it wasn’t healthy or acceptable for me to continue this degrading pattern.
So I got up, stood in front of the mirror, stared directly into my own eyes and said enough was enough. I was done, beyond fucking done with doing this to myself.
I made a conscious decision to change.
And that decision set me on a path of deep healing that’s transformed me from a frightened, insecure little girl into a confident, whole-hearted woman who feels powerful inside of her body and alive in her own skin.
I want that for you too.
I’m not sure what your relationship with your body is, but if you’ve ever felt shameful, insecure or frustrated with yourself because of the way you look, I want you to know that you that there’s a better way.
You don’t need to have a flat tummy or Kim Kardashian’s ass to feel beautiful.
You are beautiful.
You are enough.
You are so unbelievably sexy, magical and powerful.
I know this to be true about you.
It’s a tough world for women out there. I’m not naive the cultural conditioning that makes so many of us feel like we’re not enough. It’s such bullshit. But the way to change that begins with changing the way you see yourself.
The reason I can sit here in a coffee shop and share some of the darkest, most vulnerable points in my own journey with you is because I’ve healed. It’s because I no longer feel pain or shame when I look at myself in the mirror. I don’t shudder because my tummy is soft or my arms aren’t toned. I don’t give a fuck. I know I’m a beautiful woman. I feel like a beautiful woman.
Nothing can take that away from me, because it’s the truth.
So if this summer you find yourself staring in the mirror wishing your thighs were thinner or that your love handles didn’t exist, be willing to see yourself differently. Decide enough is enough. Reclaim your beauty. Look into your own eyes and learn to love yourself wholly and completely for who you are.
You deserve to feel beautiful, because you are beautiful.
I love you so so so much.
IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, BE SURE TO CHECK OUT:
- 10 Ways to Feel Like A Goddess This Summer (No Workout Required)
- Wild Wisdom: Lessons From The Edge
- Tune In: Goddess Hour Podcast with Jennifer Cain