Embrace Me.


Last night I experienced something amazing and profound… empowering and real.  I was lucky enough to attend Embrace, a documentary created by the Body Image Movement.  I sat in a theater surrounded by women and some men who want to build better, love more and encourage self-love.  Our world is chock full of images and words and conversations… movies and models and articles… diets, bikinis, perfect… Photoshop.  It is scary really…

I saw beautiful women, who when asked how they would describe themselves, they used words like disgusting, gross, ugly, fat.  I saw these women and compared them to me… she was skinny and calling herself fat.  I heard the word disgusting and my heart hurt knowing that at that moment she believed this to be true about herself.

Our ideas about how we should look come from all around us… and what we see is building us to feel disgusting, to feel unworthy… what a scary world for my girls.

I, just like Taryn Bromfitt (advocate for the Body Image Movement), look at my girls and see light and beauty.  I see them as awesome human beings, beautiful in their own special ways… unlike others.  They are made to be just what they are… and I want to show them how to love themselves always and anyway.  I cringe thinking they may grow up and deliver a baby and hate their body.  I fear that they will care every moment if they look like an image of a model on a billboard.  I am terrified they will not know that they are worthy of being fully and wholly loved and accepted just the way they are.

I know the feeling of hating your body after giving birth… that wobbly icky belly that no longer had a baby in it.  I know what it is like to stand in the mirror and look at myself with complete disgust… I wish very much in those moments I could have known how freakin’ amazing my body was.  I know the feeling of preparing to go out to dinner and feeling unpretty, fat and unworthy of the compliments.  I knew I was fatter than I should be, always wanting to get smaller.  I would hide in pictures and honestly I wasn’t in many of them.  I was ashamed of my body…

I look back and can remember feeling ashamed of my body for as long as I can remember.  I don’t think I ever felt that my body was up to par of other girls.  I wasn’t skinny, I wasn’t athletic, I wasn’t musical, I didn’t have any particularly awesome skills… I struggled with loving myself; I failed all.the.time.

What I have come to realize over there years, especially since Madeline died, is that life is short and important.  Life is meant to be experienced, with this very body that we have.  We get one body, we get one life…

I am regularly around beautiful women, women who build others, who work hard and take great care of their bodies.  Standing in the midst of those women, knowing that I am not as skinny as I wish I could be, or knowing that my butt is full of wobbly bits and my cheeks are puffy… I see all these beautiful women.  Some are slim, some are ripped, some pregnant- all are beautiful just as they are.  Every single woman in those rooms is mad about parts of her body, wishes to have a firmer butt, less wrinkles, no c-section tummy scar… wishing for better boobs- you know the kind that don’t look like to fed thousands of meals to your kiddos.  In a room of beauty and strength, each and every one of those ladies thinks and sees flaws and hates parts of her body.  We have all spent so much time thinking about how we should be, what we could be if we worked harder and ate less… if we gave up a little more.  We all do this…

After Madeline died I knew that somethings just didn’t matter anymore.  Some things others put on the top of their list were really not important in the grand scheme of things.  I am still very guilty of being hard on myself, of seeing my flaws and feeling less confidence.  I am also very positive about myself… I don’t want to be skinny.  I miss being fit, being strong.  I miss when I ran to clear my brain… and I look forward to that adventure again.  I do love me.  I know my body is enough… my body does amazing things.

My body builds my daughters- to be strong and kind and content and confident and smart.  My body takes care of my house pretty much all.by.myself.  My body changes the world, at least the little bit I can… helping families who need it and sharing Madeline to change it.  My body loves deeply, laughs fully and cares wholly.  My body moves… it has run a marathon and so many adventures.  My body is a miracle, its own miracle. 

I love my body for all of its miracle, though I still struggle to get over wishing it were smaller.  I watched that documentary last night and know all of those feelings.  I also know that it is a practice to love yourself- especially in a world full of warped images and ideas.

Embrace was eye opening and heartbreaking.  I wish for my daughters and for your children to grow less broken, more able to love their body just.as.it.is.  I definitely woke this morning with a positive energy beaming from last night.  Sitting in a room of so many, seeing and hearing those important messages was very empowering.  I am going to start doing my work, work to build this movement.  I know this is the way…

Today I went through pictures.  I wanted to see what I hated about me when I was younger.  I tried to find pictures of moments I remember feeling beautiful and happy.  I want to share these moments.  I remember the day of my sister’s bachelorette party, she asked for boudoir shots.  I was terrified.  I was shocked when I saw a picture of me that was so hard for me to do, to be almost naked in front of another person.  I saw those pictures and was shocked at how beautiful and brave I felt after that…

I want to share so many moments in my history… moments I felt disgusting and moments I felt beautiful and strong.

I ask you to follow the Body Image Movement and I highly recommend you see Embrace.  Let’s build better, let’s love ourselves always and anyways…


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