I'm often asked by those that know me well how someone who's so "feminist" in their day to day life can perpetuate such glossy magazine stereotypes.
To answer that, let me take you back a few years.
In my Sophomore year in college, I opted for a birth control shot that would literally change my life. This shot (no longer on the market) would literally break me. It broke my endocrine system and within the next year I gained over 100 pounds. I was taken to a few doctors and was told to cut out all the pizza and beer. I was angry and felt hopeless. Sure I drank and ate more than was necessary - but I also worked out and really didn't have a significantly different lifestyle than my roommates. I felt trapped. No longer an athlete, I was sleepy all of the time and was stuck in a body that wasn't mine.
It sucked. For years it sucked.
I was an athlete! I was a sorority girl! I WAS PRETTY!
So I became the fun girl. I was the life of the party and my laugh could be heard miles away. It was the start of my acceptance into who I was. But I still felt like an impostor in someone else's body.
Ultimately I met an amazing man. We got married. We had a family. And life went swimmingly on. Much like anyone else's, there were ups and downs but so far I've led a pretty amazing life.
So what if i can't go shopping at the mall. So what if my bathing suits weigh me down in the water because they are so heavy with layers of lycra. So what if i'm always the fattest person everywhere I go. So what if I get weird looks when I get stuck sliding down the slide with my kids. I love my life and I'm grateful for every day.
After years of getting no where with modern medicine, I've been working to heal my body through food & holistic health. (chiro care, GAPS, now AIP PALEO, supplements galore, and yoga) Though still far from where I want to be - i'm on a path that is working. There is movement and there is LIFE. I am no longer held down by 3 or more bed ridden days of migraines per month. I've learned what foods I can eat and which ones i shouldn't and I no longer fear a "random" attack of IBS while out in public. My PMS cramps have all but diminished, my lower back pain is gone, and the sometimes debilitating fibro (arthritis like) pain always in my wrists, but sometimes wreaking havoc through my whole body has magically disappeared... and I have a neck! Did you read that? I HAVE A NECK - and a CHIN!
And so I take my biggest dream and make it a reality for others. I give tired moms the chance to look like something out of a magazine. I give women in their 50's a chance to see the light and grace in their faces that we all see, but they somehow have begun to look past. I love what i do. But i do it for others.
Until last week.
My husband sweetly coerced me to the other side of the camera. The settings were set and all he had to do was hold & click. A man I love more than air and yet I still had the most difficult time being so open in front of him. I told myself the same things I tell my clients.
But in my head I heard - yea but you're still a lot bigger. Is this tub big enough?
OMG the rolls. How the hell do i move my legs so they don't wrap around my stomach?
And the berating went on and on. You can see it in my photos. This was hard for me. Very hard.
After we finished, I had to get them on the computer asap. If only so I could put the whole experience behind me. But an odd thing happened once the pictures were on my computer. It was no longer me. But a set of photos that I was to edit. It was refreshing that I could look at them much the same way I look at my client photos.
I edited one ~ and smiled.
And so i edited another.
And you know what. I love them.
I love how photoshop can take away the bulges and bumps that are 'not me', yet leave the softness of my skin. I like how the rolls I'm embarrassed by can be swept away, but the 258lbs of curves that hug my loved ones can be just how they are in real life. Looking back ~ I can appreciate how the water enveloped me and made me feel safer. I see how flattering the milk is as it hugs my body yet leaves more to the imagination.
Much like an iceberg - there may be more below the surface. But isn't that ultimately the best lesson in life? I am not just my surface.