Do something brave.
This step takes a huge leap of faith. To some people it may not seem big but to others it will seem like jumping the Grand Canyon. It is time to make physical changes to align with all the emotional changes you have made.
What acts are considered brave? Who knows. I was told I was brave to post picture of myself in a bathing suit with my tummy exposed in all it’s glory. It feels pretty cool to be called brave. Are there greater acts of bravery happening out there? Of course! I’m not trying to take away from anyone. I’m looking to add to the awesomeness and illustrate my point.
What I love about the idea of bravery is the belief that we have the ability to do things despite our own fears. So, let’s take this picture thing as an example. I am physically capable of purchasing, putting on, posing, and posting a picture. Where’s the bravery in that? At that moment in my life, it seemed to be a series of small steps that built up to a larger one.
Reflecting on this moment. I realized all these tiny acts of bravery lead to one large one:
1. Purchasing costs money. Spending money on myself meant I felt worthy of having whatever it is I was about to spend my very limited funds on. At the time, I struggled to believe I was worth even that. There were so many other things I could have done with that money but I made the decision to do something for me. I felt even the cashier was going to wonder why someone with my body bother to buy a two piece bathing suit. I had to break that thought process. I guarantee you the cashier didn’t notice or care she was just thinking about how much time she had left in her shift.
2. Putting that suit on took some time. So I bought this bathing suit and it sat in my drawer for some time. It fit. I lived in Florida so it’s pretty much always bathing suit season. I felt I had to prepare myself. Buying the suit wasn’t enough, I had to start losing weight and toning up to be worthy of it. So, for 6 months it just gathered dust because I was a newly single mom with two kids. I felt I had no time or energy to focus on ME. Let alone time and effort to worry about putting on a bathing suit. One of the only reason I ended up putting it on was because I felt I had wasted my money otherwise and money was not something I had to waste.
3. Posing takes some pride. There are tons of pictures of me in a bathing suit but I’m either with a group, laying down, turned sideways, or half covered up.I just didn’t feel there was any reason why anyone would want to see all of me in a bathing suit or any other suit. I just didn’t do full frontal. Not the nude kind. Just literally facing my entire body forward toward the camera. I never did it. Never felt good enough. Standing straight at that camera is like saying “LOOK AT ME WORLD!” and I was nowhere near ready for that. At this point I had completed 4 triathlons, 1 Half Marathon, and a dozen 5Ks and yet I still felt ashamed of what my body looked like. I thought about this long and hard and realized the madness needed to stop and the pride needed to show. I have done amazing things and am a person who deserves to be comfortable in their own incredible skin.
4. Posting took guts. Admittedly I took me a lot of time and reflection.to post the picture. I battled between trying to help other people see that they were not alone with their body changes and being thought of as conceited. Worse, I worried what others would think. THAT was the lamest but strongest thought that kept me from just putting up the picture. Then, I thought of all the other girls that are in the same dilemma. They’re sitting in their rooms looking at a picture of themselves. Judging everything they see more critically than any outsider ever could. They convince themselves they are so flawed that they can barely look at their own image. They delete the picture but they do so much more than that. They are trying to erase their own selves. This needs to stop.
Now at this point some people might be surprised that it took ALL that to put up one tiny picture. That’s just the thing. To ME it was not just a picture. It was my desire to move past my longstanding fear so that I could just enough being in my own skin. The skin I worked so hard for and should in all honesty be 100% proud of for all it has accomplished. At the end of the day I posted the picture because I knew I wasn’t alone. I also knew it was just one of those things no one was talking about. How do I know? Because on our way back to our car this young girl was just staring at me. Walking and turning her head just to look at my stomach. At first I was embarrassed. Then I was a little upset by the rudeness. Finally, I put myself in her
shoes flip-flops and realized she was probably staring because she had no clue how my stomach got to look like the way it did.
So, my reasons to be brave that day were:
- I work really, really hard and keeping my body healthy in mind, body, and spirit. If I work hard, I play hard. I see a suit I like, I’m buying it and I’m going to enjoy it.
- My body has done some pretty incredible things and deserves to get some recognition. For the story of how this tummy came to be you can check out How to get this tummy in 5 easy steps series.
- This really needs to no longer be a big deal. People come in all shapes and sizes. The distorted images we have been exposed to our whole lives makes it difficult to see ourselves as beautiful exactly the way we are. Every inch of us is to be loved and appreciated.
- I need to refocus my thoughts and redirect my energy towards a positive body image for myself and for my children. I am their role model and they look to me for guidance. I have the power to break that cycle and therefore I must.
Today I did something I’ve always wanted to do but never had the guts to. This was it:
I totally went to the local water park dressed just like this and you know what happened??? Yep, I walked in and had a blast with the family on the lazy river and water slide. What did I think was going to happen? Something really dramatic and unrealistic which again serves as a reminder that:
Many of the fears we have that hold us back start and end in our own heads.
This marks the end of this series but I am an inspired author I have begun working on my next series which I’m just trying to find the right title for.
Happy Independence Day Everyone!