Proclaiming to love yourself in this world is seen as brave, as courageous, as rebellious.
In a world that profits from your self-loathing, saying a big ‘Fuck You!’ to the people that perpetuate this hatred within you is seen as incredible…and I find that so disturbing.
I am not brave or courageous for loving myself.
I am not defying the odds, or society.
It is not heroic to love the flesh that you inhabit; it’s human.
Just tonight as I was waiting in line with my groceries, I glanced over and saw a reader’s digest style magazine, and every single cover line was about women shedding 2 pounds, 4 pounds, 10 pounds QUICK! I literally flipped it the bird, and I know it was a superfluous act, but it felt SO. DAMN. GOOD.
1 year ago, I would never have seen it that way.
1 year ago, I would have snuck that trash onto the belt hidden amongst the rest of my purchases.
1 year ago, I would have felt immense shame within myself seeing those bold-font reminders that I am taking up too much space in this world.
Today is a different story.
Not every day is easy but – this day, this hour, this minute, this precious fucking second, I can stand exposed in front of glass coated with metal amalgam and admire what is reflected back at me.
I can gaze at it with soft eyes that carry love instead of hated.
I can caress each curve, each line, each bit of abundance with compassion and pride.
I can move and twirl and bounce, and watch with joy and childlike whimsy.
It has taken me so long to stand here today. I am tired – literally fatigued – at the notion of having to wake up every day and despise this shell that affords me so much on this Earth. I simply refuse to do it any longer.
To love yourself allows your mind to truly be free.
To be free of invasive thoughts that steal the light of day.
To be free to see the stars that twinkle against the velvet night sky.
To be free to breathe in every molecule of oxygen so deeply that you taste the pine on the trees.
To be free to live with lust and valiance.
To be free to drink in the magic of the world that surrounds you.
I will not allow others to police my body any longer.
I will not allow others to impose rules upon my autonomy.
I will not allow others to cripple me within my own soul.
I will not allow archaic, misogynistic views of female nudity to remove my power.
I am here.
I am evolving.
I have worked hard to peel back the layers that have been plastered unwillingly onto me to keep me ‘sheltered’ and ‘compliant’.
I don’t want to be sheltered, and I will never be compliant.
I will own my womanhood.
I will own the divine beauty that resides in my soul.
I will own the flesh that houses every speck of dust within me.
I will own this life, and all that I am gifted by it.
I will shower with gratitude those who see my true light, and I will walk away from those who don’t.
And I will not apologize for any of it any longer.
“‘Cause we’re the masters of our own fate
We’re the captains of our own souls
So there’s no need for us to hesitate
We’re all alone, let’s take control…”
I am beholden to empowering, inspiring women like Jan Stolee (who is credited for the breathtaking photos below).
Without whom, I would not carry such meaningful conversation regarding change, allowing growth, and coming into yourself.
Without whom, I would be unable to (literally) see the spike in my confidence through her lens.
Without whom, I would still be ashamed of my uncovered skin – instead of being gifted the vision of the true beauty that a woman’s body holds.