After writing Beautiful Me, I was asked how I got to this point, and if I could write about it. Someone had wanted to know the steps I took to get to the point where I am at now. I am going to preface this with saying…. this may not be the answer you are wanting to hear. I do NOT have some magical way to get you to love you. What I did, have done and continue to do, did not happen overnight, though it did happen fast for me… that is my PERSONAL experience. It is a process, and what worked for me. It may not be what does it for you. With that being said… I challenge you, all of you, to try. Find what DOES work for you and DO IT! Why wait? Why say “meh” and carry on thinking of yourself as you do? Why not at least TRY to find your own Beautiful Me? She’s in there… I know she is….
One wonderful woman gave me pause after writing my last article. She said “as someone who has avoided mirrors myself” the article, and how we treat ourselves, was something she could relate to. I was kind of stunned when I read that. I have so many beautiful friends. This person however, shocked me when she said this. To me, she is amazingly beautiful! Not only that but her beauty shines from within. So for her to say that, kind of left me sputtering for a bit… dumbfounded. I couldn’t imagine someone as radiant as she is, someone who has a smile that lights a room, someone whose true joy shows on her face… could struggle so. Could even have the inclination that she was anything less then amazing. Proving my point… we all have our own demons we struggle with, that others just don’t know about. We face things each day, or don’t… depending on what it is we struggle with and how we deal with.
To my dear friend… know you are beautiful. Know that you have a cheerleader here, hoping that one day you will see how amazing you are. I hope, as time goes on, that you can face yourself in the mirror with confidence. That each day you can walk by the mirror without turning away, or looking at yourself in disgust. You ARE beautiful. You deserve to feel beautiful! You have raised beautiful daughters, and you think nothing less of them. So why not give that gift to yourself. They are, after all, images of you. Their beauty is a reflection of you. Don’t forget that. Never forget that. -Love, Your Cheerleader
Maybe this is you… maybe you go through, struggling day to day with your own image, your own self worth. I sure know I did. Some days it was just AWFUL. I can’t stress that enough. If anyone has walked in the shoes of a woman struggling with self image, perception and worth…. It. Is. Me. I have been overweight for most of my life, so my body image and self worth are something I have struggled for the longest time. Actually, I struggled with it so much when I was younger. I was the tall, big boned, tomboy in school. I was not a small girl. I was NOT a girly girl. I towered over everyone. I didn’t titter behind my hand. I didn’t dress girly. I loved sports. My favorite thing to wear was jeans and a plaid shirt. Most of my friends were guys. I was different. I know now that different is fine… different is great! I didn’t know that then though, and it tormented me every day.
Fast forward to my newlywed years. Now, this is going to be blunt and brutally honest, as my writing always is. I can’t share if it’s not. I can’t help if this can’t be a walk in the REAL shoes of a REAL woman. Not hypotheticals, but from someone who has been there. At this point in my life, I had ZERO idea what it was like to feel beautiful, let alone sexy. Sure I felt pretty sometimes, but…. but what I didn’t realize, and wouldn’t realize for years is that I needed to feel SEXY. My wonderful husband made me feel pretty, and then started to make me feel beautiful… but I still had ZERO idea what it felt like to feel sexy. Honestly, I don’t think I even had a concept for what “sexy” even was. Each day was a struggle to feel comfortable in my own skin, to love me, to feel beautiful. Even when it came to sex… I didn’t feel sexy, but again… I was lacking that concept. That idea of what it even was. So I struggled my way through those beginning years of our marriage, both as a wife and a lover.
Then I got pregnant. Ok, let me stop right there. I love my babies, with my entire being, and I wouldn’t give them up for anything. I would do it all over again if I had to. With that being said, if you read My Aching Heart article, you will have read how difficult my pregnancies were. Now I barely touched on it in that one, but I will tell you.. it is incredibly hard to feel beautiful when you are puking ALL day, EVERY day for 9+months…. and I did this FOUR times. I would be lucky if I could get past PJs most days. My wardrobe for my pregnancies consisted of baggy, ratty clothes, or over-sized dresses. My hair was usually back in a bandana or ponytail, that way it was out of the way when I had to make a mad dash to the bathroom. I just felt…. horrid. I mean, I did the best I could, but I felt like HELL, and looked it! It was a daily struggle for me.
This stage of my life brought on some major struggles for me. Not only did the pregnancies NOT help with my self… well, self anything! Caring for multiple small children left me feeling frumpy and worn out. My clothes from my pregnancy became my daily attire. My daily grind, my daily struggles began to wear on me. I remember times when I would look in the mirror and tell myself how ugly I was, how much I hated the person I was looking at. My heart hurts for that part of me. For those years I struggled through. It aches remembering. I remember crying because I wished….. I wished I was someone else. Something else. Some other form of who I was. That elusive idea of “perfection”.
That became my life… starting in 2004, all the way through until leaving Georgia in 2013. 9 years. There were times where I was decent, but so much time of self-hatred. I will say that there were glimmers. Every once in awhile I would catch a glimpse of my Beautiful Me. I honestly would. Whether it was something I wore, something we did, something I managed to see about myself. I did see glimmers. I was ever so slowly, wrapping my brain around the idea of being sexy. I think it slowly started evolving in the back of my mind.
There would be certain songs that would make me want to start moving my hips and dancing… and I’m not talking “white girl” dancing. I’m talking just sexy dancing. Certain things I would wear would give me glimpses of being desired. Things I would do would help push that door open a little more
Jump to January of this year, 2014. My world changed. Forever. Honestly, it started with 15 minutes – a beautiful article my wonderful husband wrote about, and for, me. 15 minutes was a gift my husband chose to give me. He chose to sit down for 15 minutes every night and take the time to talk. No tv, no phones, no computers…. just us. That was a start. A great one too, but just a start. January 20 was the date…. I started talking about things I had loved and/or wanted to do when I was younger but never did. Even as an adult I hadn’t. Things that involved my appearance, my wants, my wishes, my dreams. Things that I didn’t usually think about, let alone TALK about.
Remember that mirror, the mirror we all so carefully avoid if we’re struggling with ourselves. Or the one we use to say horrific things to ourselves. Guess what I did…… I faced myself. I literally would stand and look at myself in the mirror. However, this time I wouldn’t let myself say anything negative. I didn’t have to say anything positive either. I just studied… well… me. For the first little bit, with clothes on. Then I would do it without clothes on. Ok, do you know how hard that was? Being stripped down to nothing, and have to look yourself in the eye. Have to study what you have loathed for so long. Not allowing yourself to be negative, but then to try and think of the positive. I’ll never forget the first day I did it. It was so hard. Like almost hurt, but I did it. I faced me… and guess what? I smiled. At. Me. Did you hear that? I smiled at me. Naked. Stretch marks. Curves. Scars. It all. I did. And the next day… do you what I did then? I told myself I was beautiful. Now I wasn’t able to look myself in the eye when I said it, but I did it. And that is all that matters to me. Nothing else. I cannot tell you how proud I was of me. I cried. I told my husband what I had done, and I cried. Cried because I had done it. Cried because I had made this major step to loving me….. to accepting me. For once I could feel that grip slowly sliding off. I could feel the woman I was always meant to be, coming out.
I had made a habit of telling myself I was beautiful, because no one else has such a profound affect on you.. then you do. So why not? It might sound stupid. It might sound trivial, but it isn’t. Really it isn’t. I didn’t do it with my clothes off until the time I just mentioned, but I did it… and I slowly started feeling it. I also started doing things for me. This seriously started by getting bras. Yup, you heard me. Bras. Not “mommy” bras, but sexy bras. Fun and sexy colors and prints that made me feel…. for the first time ever, in my life…. sexy. Again, did you hear that? I felt sexy. Like sexy sexy. That day was a pivotal moment for me. I stopped wearing my frumpy clothes. I started dressing nicer, wearing perfume and even putting on some make-up. I started to feel beautiful every day.
One of my fears is having my picture taken. Well, one of my fears WAS having my picture taken. So, I decided to take that head on. Grab the bull by the horns they say. I have very few pictures to show for the last 12 years of my life. Really I don’t. So, that changed. I started taking pictures of myself. I started letting my hubby take pictures of me. I started getting more comfortable with that idea… that notion. Granted we kept it from the waist up, or even higher…. since my biggest “issue” is with my lower half…. well, was…. my biggest issue WAS with my lower half.
Shortly after that a major life event happened. It forced me to really look at myself. To really really look at myself. The deep core of who I am as a person, a mother, a wife and a woman. Something I had NEVER done before. Ever. I didn’t have the time, the patience, the energy or the desire. It also forced me to do something… I had to do SOMETHING. Something had to change, and NOW. So, that night I got my ears pierced, something I have wanted to do for a very very long time. So I did it. Let me tell you…. this started a snowball affect. A positive one, but a snowball affect nonetheless. Now for you, you might not “go crazy” like I did… maybe baby steps are better for you… for me it was a plunge head first into the deep end. I was ok with that though. It was what I needed to do. If I didn’t, I may never.
Let me pause here again… this is what I did, for me. I am not saying that this is for you, or this is what you should do… but it’s something I did for me and it made all the difference in MY life. Just think about it. Really truly think about what you need, what you want and go for it. Start making YOU a priority.
I took another major step, now I will say that this next step is not for everyone. In fact, it’s probably for very few people. It’s just something I did. It was so far out of my comfort zone, but I did it. For the sake of honesty, I am going to share it with you. A discussion my husband and I had lead me to make a decision. We were talking about our bodies and compliments, and how we perceived ourselves. My inner sexy was slowly starting to come out, but I was asking him if he really truly liked my curves… my hips and butt to be exact. Sir Mix-a-lot was writing about me in his song… haha. I told my hubby that I had never really had guys appreciate the way I look until him, and had never really received a compliment from guys, or girls. So, a decision was made the next morning, after sleeping on it. Ok, pausing again… please check your judgement at the door. This is what I did. Me. It was a choice that I made. Period. Moving on….. An account was created on a website that had a place for curvy women to post their pictures for people who like curvy women, whether they wanted to show off their bodies, needed a confidence boost, etc. It took me a day to get the nerve up to do so. I either didn’t include my face or used angles to where you couldn’t see it. Then I did something I have never done before. I posted full body pictures of myself, not only that but ones that’s showed my lower body in specific, which I usually keep strategically hidden in pictures. I will tell you right now…. I have never received such an overwhelming response in my life. Ever. I was shocked. No, really, you have zero idea…. I was shoooooocked. Soooo many compliments!? Again, this move is NOT for most people, but I did it… compliments were something I just never got. So it was an big part of propelling me forward with my progress.
I then got the courage to face one of my demons one morning. Actually, two of my demons. As I mentioned above pictures are not something I usually do. I am a behind the camera person… well, I was. Not anymore! Two of my fears, full body pictures of myself(though this is different then above… just keep reading), and being naked. See? That bull…. those horns… me…. I won. During one of my “getting ready for the day” mornings I seriously…. and again, this is BRUTAL honesty… so I’m laying it ALL out there for you! Before I got dressed I decided to grab my phone, and snap a picture of me smiling. Ta da! I did it… yay me! Then I stopped, and thought for a second. I got really uncomfortable. Then I stopped, shook my head and said… “no, I’m doing this.” And I proceeded to take fully nude photos that included all of me… my upper body, my hips, everything. That step was a HUGE one for me. I remember my husband coming into the bathroom shortly after that, and I started to get really emotional. I told him what I did, and he gave me the biggest hug. He KNEW how huge it was for me. He KNEW what it meant to me. And he just held me while I cried. Not sad tears, but tears of accomplishment. I had faced an inner demon that had plagued me for years, and won. And honestly, I didn’t mind the pictures at all… I think maybe THAT was the shocking part for me… that I could look at them and be happy. I saw the changes I was going through, and I had defeated a giant.
Now my snowball started rolling, and picking up speed. First, I pierced my ears… always wanted. Next, I died my hair red…. always ALWAYS wanted!!! I can’t tell you how happy I am to be a redhead. That in itself has made me feel so wonderfully sexy. I am never going back. Redhead forever!! I added painting my nails to the mix, thanks to the coaxing of a wonderful friend! I made time to do it, and I love it! I THEN got more piercings… yep I did! I got my upper left ear pierced and my nose pierced – again, one I have wanted since 10th grade and the other since 2007 when my sister came to visit. Each step I took for me just made me feel more sexy, more wonderful, more beautiful. After all these years I was finally doing things for ME. Being just a tinch selfish. And guess what, that’s ok. That is perfectly ok. You shouldn’t have to justify doing things like this for yourself. Taking time for you. Doing things for you.
The final thing I have done, up until this point because there WILL be more, is that I got ink. Not just any ink, but something that means something to both my wonderful husband and myself. I have wanted to get a tatt for awhile now, and finally got the nerve to do it. I. Love. It. It was my statement to the world.
Let me pause here again… this is what I did, for me. I am not saying that this is for you, or this is what you should do… but it’s something I did for me and it made all the difference in MY life. Just think about it. Really truly think about what you need, what you want and go for it. Start making YOU a priority. YOU should be a priority. You shouldn’t have to feel guilty for wanting to do something for yourself, buy something for yourself or spend some “you” time. You shouldn’t. Taking care of you makes you a better… well…. you! There is nothing more wonderful then doing something for you. It truly changed my life.
My life is continuing to evolve, and it will continue. Whether noticeable changes or not. I am not going back. I am the happiest I have ever been in my life. I love me. I love who I am. I love what I stand for. I know I am beautiful. I know I am sexy. I dance now. I sing. I glow. I sparkle… nope, not a vampire. I am… me… and it’s been worth it. To get here, to get to this place, has been so very very worth it.
I hope that you can find the courage and strength to be you. To love you. To think you are beautiful. To think you are sexy. To think that there is no one in the world more wonderful then you. There is nothing wrong with thinking that. In fact, there is everything RIGHT with thinking that. You can’t be the best you if you don’t take care of YOU. You can’t. It’s just not possible. So, lift that chin…. look yourself in the eye… tell yourself how wonderful you are… how amazingly beautiful you are. You deserve it. Each of you do. The joy you will get back is irreplaceable.
If you have a daughter, wouldn’t you want her to feel beautiful? To feel amazingly wonderful in her own skin? I know I do… my baby girl is part of why I have changed. I want her to be a proud, beautiful young woman. One who can look to her mama for an example of beauty, confidence and courage. Besides ladies, our daughters…. like I said earlier, are copies of us. They are a reflection of who we are. They are. To say that we are less the beautiful, is to cheapen who they are. At least that is how I view it. And I won’t accept that. So I will be a Beautiful Me for not only myself, but for my daughter…..
And everyone… all of you… every last amazing woman reading this… deserves to be a Beautiful Me……… own it, because you are.