Usually you see my second photo here first and the caption is just the opposite of this one. There are so many people trying to lose weight… get thinner, skinnier… longing to look thin like this second photo of me and my sister. Wishing on every star they had a six pack and looked great in a skimpy bikini.
But let me tell you, that perception isn’t always better or worth it.
In the second photo I was fresh out of a bad marriage.. going through a divorce… trying to figure out how to bring my children through it… trying not to let my trauma of an abusive relationship affect them or the people who loved me which I failed at miserably. I was also so lost in who I was, who I needed to be, who to turn to. I didn’t respect myself or my body. I had believed what had been drilled into my head for the better half of four years.. that I was worthless and selfish. And it showed.
The second photo was taken today. I have never weighed this much in my life. My thighs have never stuck together, or even touched for that matter.. I’ve never had cleavage with the exception of the time I was breastfeeding all of my babies. I’ve never had love handles big enough to actually grab. I’ve always been ”the skinny girl.”
But I would take the body in that photo with the big hips and thighs over my unhealthy, too thin body that represents how unhappy I was any day.
Every time these photos pop up in my Facebook memories from that time in my life, it reminds me just how different life can become over time. Even in my recent grief of losing a baby… which was by far the worst experience of my life… I am way happier and at peace than I was back then.
It’s funny how life happens.. we don’t understand it at the time… when we feel lost or broken and a year later everything has changed. And every now and then a quick trip down memory lane reminds me not to complain when my old jeans don’t fit, to not be envious of other women who work so hard at the gym to look amazing, to not wish I was something that I’m not, or that I don’t want to be. Simply because I’m happy.
I remind myself that I am what I want myself to be now, because it’s my choice, surrounded with so much love in our home, even through all of our chaos and craziness that is a home with four kids… even through the sadness and darkness of losing a baby… even through the disappointment of not being able to get pregnant month after month… there is still laughter and joy and love and healthy kiddos surrounding us.
Those extra 20 lbs that I’ve gained are the late night dinners on the couch with my hubs watching our recordings of The Young and the Restless… the many dinners eating out because we love the memories we make trying different foods and restuarants. Those extra lbs are the extra couple of hours I get at home watching my kids play outside when I could be at the gym. They are the sausage and bacon breakfasts my husband fixes me on Sunday mornings when he feeds me in bed.
Whenever you’re doubting your self-confidence… the way you look in a bikini… or that dress you’ve been wanting to wear… remember that those extra lbs are the memories you’ve made, your freedom to live like you want, and ask yourself if you’re happy and loved for who you are now. For me, it’s focusing all of my energy on being a mom and a wife and finding joy in each little moment, each little memory. No matter how much I weigh.
Stop. Comparing. Yourself. To. Others.
You don’t have to be skinny to be happy. You don’t have to be thin to be pretty. You don’t have to be a toothpick to be loved.
So when you compare photos, it‘s actually just the opposite for me. This is a girl not wanting to change anything at all. This is a girl appreciating the stretch marks from my 3 pregnancies because I never before respected the “getting pregnant process” and how difficult it can be for some people. This is a girl loving the hips I have because they remind me that I’m in a healthy marriage where fights are few but worthy and making up is even better.
This is a girl who knows looking back on the first photo will make her heart happy no matter how much she weighed.