Being a body positive “influencer” (god, I hate that word) is not always a walk in the park. After all, I’m only human. I know that most women hate photos of themselves in swimsuits. I’m going out on a limb here and saying “I DO TOO!” Most of the time. It’s always such a stressful thing. The particular photos made me cry.
Shop Ashley Graham Swim:
Don’t get me wrong, the photos are great. But it was seeing my own body that brought tears to my eyes. What I thought was going to be an amazing collab with Swimsuits for All and Ashley Graham actually turned into a heartbreaking experience for me. A little back story…
My girlfriends are all GORGEOUS. And most of them are very thin. While I was in Cabo for a bachelorette, I received the dropbox link to these photos. I opened them after some tequila… huge mistake. After spending 3 days in Cabo with 12 beautiful girls, none of which weigh over 130 pounds I don’t think. I was feeling pretty insecure. Looking back, I shouldn’t have opened these photos when I did. But I can’t take it back. When I saw them I hated every single one.
I felt like a huge hypocrite. There I was wearing a bikini designed by Ashley Graham. Who is the ultimate figure when it comes to body positivity, I love love love her. But still, I didn’t have any positive thoughts about myself. I could have still done this post and posted the 3 or 4 images I felt comfortable with, but that felt unauthentic.
I thought maybe by posting this, I could reach some women who feel the same way I do. I just want to tell those women: you are not alone in this battle. Even for me, who puts it all out there day after day, has insecure moments. I know I’m not perfect. I have definitely gained weight — mostly due to stress and my insane work and travel schedule. I know all of these things.
So why on earth would I put out photos of myself that I hate? Well, since I am an educator at heart (I have been teaching high school English for four years), I saw this as a teaching moment. So while most people would delete these photos and pretend they never existed — the thought did cross my mind — I decided to share them for the world to see. And I shared every single one — if putting myself out there like this can help just one woman feel more secure in her own skin, then it was all worth it to me.
After all the tears and insecurity, I felt some clarity. I need to practice what I preach. Here are some mantras that work for me:
Beauty knows no size.
Every body is beautiful.
I am strong.
I am beautiful.
I am enough.
My worth is not defined by my weight.
I am comfortable in my own skin.
I love my body just the way it is.
I am allowed to take up space.
Now, please tell yourself those things until you start to believe them. Because you are all effing beautiful just the way you are!