This is my friend Katy. Katy is awesome. Katy is Kind Tribe, mountain biking badass, actress, motorcycle riding, care giver, weepy girl, and amazing mom-ness all rolled into one.
I got to go on a mountain bike ride with her awhile back. She hadn't been on a bike in quite a long time but when she was invited to come along her response was "Hell Yeah. This is the year of Hell Yeah." And so it was.
Katy is an Oncology Nurse. Saying that "it takes a special person to do that job" is an understatement. Her heart goes to work with her every day and sometimes she has to leave little pieces of it behind when she comes back home. How does a person do that?
My post today is actually written by Katy and I think it summarizes nicely how we need to just let go of the mean girl that lives inside our head. When I was new to recovery my sponsor asked me during a time that was full of personal beatings, "Is this how you would speak to a friend or someone else going through this?" Nope. And Katy agrees:)
A few weeks ago, I saw the Dove commercial, "You are more beautiful than you think" and started to cry. Then I got angry. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why can't we see the beauty that others see so clearly? Why do I feel the need to break myself down and criticize myself so harshly? I can tell you my 4 least favorite parts of my body but I can't tell you my favorites. Why? I know that some of that is conditioning. We are told that if we say that we are pretty then we are stuck up, so we start making sure that we itemize all the ways that we aren't, instead of focusing on the ways we are. We are shown pictures of the ideal body and since we can never quite measure up, we only focus on how we are imperfect, rather than what makes us special and unique. Then we have children and I don't know about you, but my body will NEVER be perky and taut again without surgical intervention. I don't care how much weight I lose or how fit I am. I joke about being able to model on the cover of a National Geographic but that is my way of trying to cope with how different my body is. And now that I am single, the idea of becoming intimate and sharing that post-baby body with someone new is almost overwhelmingly frightening.
Then as things tend to happen, life got busy and I shoved these thoughts into the background. Until yesterday. Yesterday my girlfriend began to email me some photos that she had taken of me a few months ago. She is a fantastic photographer and amazing with hair and make up so I had asked her to do some pin-up shots for me. These pictures are not for anyone else, probably very few people will ever see them besides me, but I wanted to do them for me. I am 35 and not going to get any younger, I am single, no one to get upset about them or judge me, and why the hell not, right? I had loved doing the pin-up calendar fundraiser, made me feel beautiful at a time when I just felt worn down and tired, and I wanted to feel that way again. I wanted to celebrate my body rather than hate it. So I called my friend, travelled to her house, and along with another friend, we were off.
I couldn't wait to see them so when they began arriving by email I immediately uploaded them and then set out to see just what we had created back at the beginning of December. My first instinct was, "wow! I look amazing!" which was immediately followed by my second thought, "oh, but look at _____(insert hated feature here), Yikes!". But as I began to look at them more and more, my thoughts from a few weeks ago resurfaced. Why can't I be beautiful? Why can't I look amazing? Yes, I am imperfect but those things make me, me. Why can't I be proud of my curves, even the ones that no longer point north?
So, I have decided to make a pact with myself. I am going to attempt to reduce the impact that my internal judge and critic have on me. I am going to make a conscious effort to think 2 positive thoughts for every negative one that pops in my head. I am going to try to find my 4 favorite body parts and let go of my 4 least favorite. I don't know how long it will take and I'm sure there will be mental relapses, but I no longer want to put myself down, even to myself. I am going to challenge myself to say thank you when people give me a compliment and refuse to say the "but" statement that wants to come out.
If you are reading this, I challenge you to do the same. I challenge you to teach this to your daughters and your sons (they are hard on themselves too!). Let me know how it goes. Let's try to change the way we think about our bodies and our looks.
Yay:) I know how hard it is to share intimate thoughts like Katy just did (not to mention an amazing picture like hers), so please "like" this post so Katy knows how much she's inspired us. And then...
Let's say we all accept Katy's challenge shall we? And if you are brave enough, comment below and let us know just one of your favorite body parts.
With courage and kindess,