3 years ago I had a tugging on my heart. The tug was to share my story. To share my struggles. To share how I came to this amazing conclusion that the things I wanted weren’t out of my reach just because someone insisted on telling me it was.
I’ve always wanted to be me. I’ve always wanted to live out loud. I’ve always wanted to help people. Me didn’t always fit in though. Me was a little offbeat and weird and constantly worried about whether what I felt was who I was would be acceptable. Acceptable to who? I don’t know. When I am the most me, I am the happiest and I learned that is all that mattered. What I learned is that embracing and being myself would end up helping the most people.
So why don’t we spend more time being ourselves? By ourselves, I mean focusing more on what makes us feel alive vs what we feel we need to look like while we’re living.
For me, I have continued to listen carefully to the words that I utter and take a step back and reflect on them. Are they my words born from my thoughts or where they planted there?
Two words I had to challenge:
- Ruined. Do I genuinely believe my body is ruined? By ruined, I mean the literal definition.
reduce (a building or place) to a state of decay, collapse, or disintegration.“a ruined castle”
synonyms: destroy, devastate, lay waste, ravage;
Do I really believe that I am in a state of decay? I am laying waste? All because I have stretch marks, scars, and loose skin? The answer is:
Hells no. I am only beginning. I am nowhere near my end.
2. Perfect. Do I believe that perfection is what my life’s purpose is? By perfect, I mean the literal definition.
having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.
absolute; complete (used for emphasis).
Do I really believe that I have all that is required of me? Am I complete because I have stretch marks, scars, and loose skin? The answer is:
Hells yeah! I am all that I need. I am more than a body. I am a who, not a what.
We have to think, reflect, and live for ourselves. If at the center of that it is love that is guiding that process then I have no doubt that my self-worth will only continue to grow. If at any time I hit a wall of self doubt, stress, or anxiety I have to remind myself that growth is a part of life. It’s not a sign that I have failed or am failing but that I have reached the point of where I now have to do more digging and more expansion.
For this project, my greatest struggle has been my meetups. I have no problem putting up pictures and writing posts. That is now second nature to me even though that’s not the case when I first started. I can stay in this space and keep taking pictures and posting messages but my heart is being tugged once more. I’ve tried the meetup thing though and have failed. I’ve set it up and no one would come. My heart would break and then my self-doubt would come barging in to make itself comfortable again. I’d cry and want to quit everything because it seems like everyone else does it so easily then maybe no one really wants to hear MY message.
This year, I was asked to do a meetup again while I was in Seattle. Again, I felt anxious but I refused to give into the fear and shame that were screaming at me to stop trying. I set up the date and I set out again. I promised that I would still show up and I would stay the entire time I said I would. My sister was with me. She’s ALWAYS been with me and if she could keep believing in me even though no one showed, I’d have to still believe in myself.
On March 3rd, JJ, my sister, and I walked into The Stage Door and no one was there. I wanted to walk right back out but with a lump in my throat and sunken stomach, I sat down. I promised myself and I was going to keep that promise.
Then, 10 minutes later someone walked into the door and looked like they recognized me immediately. She was here to see me! I was probably just as excited to see her as she seemed to see me. Still, the doubts crept in. Maybe they’ll leave since no one else is here. Maybe they’ll just talk for 10 minutes to be nice but would leave as soon as possible. Turns out she invited a friend and the four of us ended up running out of time! We talked fears, pressure, shame, hopes, and dreams. It was wonderful. It’s exactly what I had always hoped to do with this project. Bring us together in the real world.
I can’t begin to summarize how difficult this journey is and it was never my intention to see this seem flawless or easy. Half the time I have so much to say and so many intentions to share more but my time and energy run out. I can’t even blog “right” but I do what I can and I keep going and keep believing in my purpose.
It took 3 years but it finally happened and it started with one thought 3 years ago. One brief moment of wanting to share an image of myself enjoying an afternoon with a friend on the beach. For one picture I focused more on my experience than of my body. For one post I spoke about the experience.
Everything begins with ONE action. I am doing my best to get out of my own way and let momentum build without me trying to stop what is inevitably meant for me.
What will year 4 bring? It will bring the body positive pool party I’ve always wanted to plan and a fitting room meet up to change the way we experience our bodies as a community! How am I going to do it? I don’t know but I believe in me and that’s all I need.