As many of you know, I’ve been struggling to lose my baby weight since coming back after my pregnancy. Shortly after having my daughter, there was a sale on a shirt I wanted but not in my size. It was almost two sizes too small but I bought it anyway as an incentive to lose the weight. I hung it front and center in my closet. Everytime I looked at it hanging there it was a reminder to choose healthy foods, walk an extra block, do an extra sit up, or skip that dessert. An entire year that shirt hung in my closet, staring me down, until, finally, last week I tried it on and it fit! With room to spare! It had been a rough day and I needed a win that day. I was so very happy to finally fit in that shirt and I was excited to tackle my next goal. But I didn’t tell anyone. It never crossed my mind to take a selfie and share it with my friends or to make a post on facebook to celebrate.
Two days later, I was video chatting with Patrice as we were getting ready for the Student Showcase. We were going over our routine and Luke yelled to ask me to bring something outside. I was in short shorts and a tank top.
Pause. There’s some background info you need to know here. Number one, I grew up conservative Christian. The ones who wore dresses and stockings to church every Sunday. Number two, my mother and grandmother were emotionally abusive. They both called me fat, chunky, homely, klutzy, etc. When clothes shopping, my mother made it very clear that I would never be able to wear tank tops or shorts above the knee because I didn’t have the right body type for those styles.
So, there I stood in my living room – tank top and short shorts. I’ve worn tank tops outside. I overcame that fear the summer I was lifeguarding at Camp Fairwood. But the short shorts. Should I quick run to the bedroom to cover up with a pair of yoga pants? Should I pretend to ignore Luke? Should I just step into the garage with what he needed and ask him to stop what he was doing to get it? I had an emotional crisis on my hands. I can wear booty shorts at Aerial Dance or in my living room but to step outside and have my neighbors see my thighs?!? My mom’s voice rang in my head and I turned to grab yoga pants. But then I heard all the girls at the studio cheering me on as I got my first Embrace. I heard the crowd at the Christmas shows and my first Student Showcase. I heard the cat calls the first time I bought pole shorts at the studio and switched from months of athletic shorts. None of these were cheers for my legs – these were cheers for my confidence! I turned around and walked outside. While I’m no where near my goal weight, I had the confidence to do something I’ve never done before – I wore short shorts outside! After years of abuse, this was Huge for me!!! Luke had to do a double take and then said “Hot D*mn Girl!!!” I took a selfie and sent it to several women who have helped and supported me in my journey to wellness.
I found it funny that my win last week wasn’t what I had been working over a year to achieve. It was a simple step outside in something I already fit in. It was the confidence to love myself. As a Christian, I know that God created me in His image and He loves me just the way I am. It’s a daily struggle for me to love myself, but thanks to Paula, Kim and all the girls at Aerial Dance, I’ve come to realize that God thinks I’m beautiful and valuable and He doesn’t want me to hate His workmanship. He’s not finished with me yet but I need to be happy and content in my skin where I am right now. I keep getting stronger and flying higher everyday and someday, I may even walk out of the studio in a cute sports bra and pole shorts!!!