I‘m a black legging, flip-flops, palazzo pants, torn blue jeans, loose-fitting shirt, no jewelry (except for my watch), stud earrings, barely any makeup, boho/bohemian chic kinda girl — in essence, I am what my mom would call a “tomboy.”
If it ain’t comfortable, I’m most likely not going to wear it. And the only time you’ll find me wearing a pair of heels are on those special occasions when flip-flops or slip-on canvas sneakers would completely destroy my look. As soon as I get in the car, those heels are coming off!
That stance made it very difficult for me to go from being a food blogger and taking pictures of pretty plates, where #foodporn and phone drooling were the ultimate goals, to creating and curating content for my Instagram that was focused more on me, my travel, my personal experiences, and my off-the-beaten-path adventures. The keyword here is “me.”
So when I decided that I was going to take my travel blogging more seriously, I had to have a serious conversation with myself. Am I comfortable with taking pictures of myself? Are people going to get tired of seeing me in these photos all the time? Am I worthy of that much space on the world wide web? Girl, you need to lose some weight!
You see, I was looking at other travel bloggers and Instagrammers rocking their gorgeous gowns, wearing bright flowing dresses paired with dazzling accessories, standing on mountaintops, stepping out in only their bikinis showing off their flat stomachs, with the wind blowing through their tresses — looking glamorous AF. How in the hell was I going to live up to this!? Dis too much.
This whole IG image thing was really going to be tough for me. I wasn’t ready.
Like most women, my relationship with my body is very complicated. Through college, I was thin. If you could see some of my high school and college pictures, you may be concerned if I was eating anything at all. Then I became a grown-ass woman and had my son. Hello, humongous boobs and booty! Where did you come from? And can I give you back? Refund, please!
Then there are those hereditary physical attributes that I can’t run from…those attributes all the women in a family have — yep, large arms. Adding to my negative feelings about my broad shoulders and lack of calf muscles (funny, not funny), I was already mentally distracted by how “top-heavy” I was, and this was making it worse. I hated my body.
If you can’t change your reality, change your perception of it.
Fast forward to now, and the perception of my body has shifted. Now I’ll be honest…I’m not in love with her, but I do like her a lot. Our relationship is growing stronger every day. And as with many areas of my life, I am a work in progress.
I have, in fact, focused on being happy with myself and all the curvacious gifts He has given me. I no longer look at others, and immediately self reflect on what I don’t have or how I wished I had those arms. I no longer want to be anyone other than myself. So what changed?
Understanding my blessings and focusing on what I could control. I wake up everyday feeling highly favored. I have my health, a beautiful family, my career supports my growth and provides the perfect work-life-travel balance, I get to travel to some of the most amazing places, I have wonderful friends, and I am genuinely happy. He has pulled me through a lot and I refuse to focus on decisions already made at a much higher pay grade.
What could I control? Dropping this baby weight! I stopped making excuses and started to eat right. I signed up at a cycling/spin studio. I’m slowly becoming a healthier version of me, for myself and for my family — broad shoulders, large arms, no calves, big boobs, and all!
And you know what? I don’t want to be a carbon copy of anyone else. You can’t fit all of this (hello body) in an Instagram grid boo. Who dis? Haha.
I am my brand, and my brand is me.
Body image issues plague a lot of women, and we are all looking to change something about our bodies that we don’t like. The social media standards have made it almost impossible to feel good about yourself. I get it. So stop scrolling! Stop applying all that unnecessary pressure. Your body is beautiful. You are beautiful. My body has never hated me, so I’m not going to hate her.
Find happiness in all the beautiful things that make you special. Find beauty in what you think are your flaws. Celebrate your uniqueness. Value your gifts. Nourish your body and soul. And love on yourself — all the damn time.