Earlier this week it was brought to my attention by a few friends that someone posted a photo of themselves with comments underneath that while passive aggressive, was very clearly directed at me.
This was the picture that was referenced, so I’m just going to leave it right here with a message… Providing a little “history” on my picture, I took this and shared it almost two years ago. What started off as joke to my mom turned into a photo tradition. You see, she called me one February morning telling me it was so cold outside that I shouldn’t leave the house to take a hot yoga class. Being a grown adult I laughed at her concern and told that the cold didn’t bother me. But then I decided to have a little fun with it (anyone who knows my relationship with my mom totally gets it,) so I threw on a bathing suit, stepped outside, rocked my best dancer pose and had my husband snap this shot as a way to show her that I could brave the bitter cold conditions. My mother, who was originally horrified by my picture now finds the humor in it, and every so often I’ll send her a new version and we laugh and joke about it.
But that’s not my point here, and it’s definitely not my anger, that’s just the story behind how my bikini pictures in the snow started. After doing this the first time I looked at my body and felt surprised at what I saw. I remember saying to my husband, “Wait… that’s me?!” He laughed and said yes honey, you look good, I tell you that all the time. A picture that was supposed to be a fun and silly way to tease my mom turned into something so much more for me, because it was the first time I ever looked at myself and felt proud and confident at how I looked.
I spent YEARS picking apart my body. Even worse, I dated guys in the past who picked apart my body, which only dragged me down even further when it came to my body image. While I had confidence in other areas, I had absolutely none when it came to my physical appearance. I felt embarrassed and self-conscious in shorts, bathing suits and pretty much anything that I wore. It took me a long time to come to terms with the body and build that God gave me.
My body is not perfectly sculpted nor am I super skinny. But when I looked at myself in this picture I was able to see something I NEVER saw before becoming a mom, and that was strength and confidence on the outside. To be clear, I never intended on sharing it with anyone else other than my mother, but I felt proud of this picture… proud of my strength, my flaws, my authenticity and the realness of an unfiltered, unedited photo of me – a woman with muscles and curves, with dimples and imperfections and a woman who finally found confidence in her body.
This right here, this is ME… Raw, unedited, honest, and real. If you don’t like me, or what I post and what I do, that’s fine, quite frankly I don’t really give a fuck. But to body shame me and what I do on the internet, that is NOT okay. In case anyone isn’t aware, criticizing someone’s appearance and/ or what they are wearing IS in fact considered body shaming, and when you post it on social media for people to see, it’s pretty much the lowest someone can go. Furthermore, this is also considered bullying, which I have a serious problem with, especially when it’s grown adults doing the bullying.
This picture started as a joke but what it ended up giving me was a renewed sense of self-confidence. A sense of confidence that I can do whatever I want, be whoever I want, and look however I want without giving a shit about what anyone else thinks because I feel good about me, I feel good about how I look and I love me from the inside out.
And this is the picture that someone chose to mock me and body shame me for…
Body shaming is never OK. It downright pisses me off when I see it happen, and it feels even worse when I have to endure myself. More to the point, it sucks when other people are the ones who see it and point it out to you. As women, we should be building each other up, not tearing each other down. So to all the women in my life, let this be a message to you to learn how to celebrate how you look from head to toe. To celebrate your body for everything it is and for everything it has carried you through in life. Celebrate what you wear and what makes you feel beautiful and confident. Celebrate and love yourself from the inside out, and don’t let anyone try to dim the unique light you bring into this world.
Be confident, be yourself and love yourself.
Be kind and always remember that what you put out into the world and towards others is your, karma, not theirs.
So until next time, shine bright like a diamond, do what makes you happy, wear what makes you feel good and rock your bad ass self with confidence and sass. As for me, I’ll wear a bikini in the snow if I want, and I’ll do it proudly, loudly and with confidence and grace.