It’s mid winter. Sigh. My tan lines are slowly blurring—I stand, post-shower towel wrapped around me, shivering with hair dripping as I ponder my outfit. Standing in front of my full-length mirror, I catch a glimpse of my silhouette as my towel un-tucks and drops to the floor. I am not young anymore—well, outside no—inside yes. It’s really okay. I have made peace with the fact that my outside will be changed by time, but nothing can touch who I am on the inside. I am in control of the inside—we all are in control of our insides. When I look at myself now, I see myself differently. I see a mature beauty full of flaws from where I have been and they make me unique. I think that is sexy.
At that very moment my husband calls out for me from the kitchen —wanting to say goodbye on his way to work. “Heath, where are you?” he shouts from the other side of the house. “ In here—in my closet.” I call back, jolted from my thoughts. Footsteps, and then he materializes behind me. He stands there and stares at me for a while, touching his stubbly cheek to mine as I am still facing the mirror, stark naked, with two blouses in hand. Wrapping his arms around me from behind, he traces over the faint stretch marks on my belly from pregnancy, over the curve of my hips to the rift of my collarbone, past a constellation of freckles from previous sun worship, and over the breasts that nursed our babies. He pulls me close in, forcing me to lock eyes with his in the mirror. I giggle. It’s everything but an ordinary Wednesday for a moment in my closet. Exchanges like this make me smile for the whole day. Okay, I do realize I am blessed to have a man that loves all of me—every wrinkle and flaw—but it all wouldn’t mean anything, really, if I didn’t love myself and I know that. I want you to know that.
Self love. There is a fine line among women about what is acceptable. If you are confident in your body those around you who are not may feel intimated. Women can be so catty. I never did understand that. If anything, we are all in this together. I believe in holding my fellow women up—elevating them, complimenting them, reminding them of their unique beauty. I never did understand the women who talk trash about one another….really, what is the point? So many women struggle with self-acceptance and confidence and, in their attempt to feel better about themselves, trash other women. A massive amount of women have body image issues. They hate the full-length mirror and cringe at the idea of a bathing suit. Anyone with a negative self-image isn’t free. She covers up her beauty— she hides who she really is. A woman who loves her body and herself is open, loving and welcomes love and attention.
Okay—so this is all easier said than done, I know. Having two girls makes me ever so aware of the importance of the language I use when talking about my body, their bodies, and other’s bodies. I can honestly say it has taken me many years to be comfortable in my own skin—and in how I view myself and others. I wish I had freed myself sooner from these chains. We are all beautiful in our own way—in all our shapes and sizes.
Let’s take a look at how body image and confidence affects your relationship with others. I would be remiss to leave out the impact your self-image has on how you relate to your partner. How you feel about yourself trickles down to so many things: eye contact, the way you move, how you talk to people, what you talk about, how you behave, how you react, your comfort level sexually, you self expression, your success—it shapes it all. I want to take a microscope to one important thing in every relationship that self image deeply impacts... sex.
In the bedroom we are in a vulnerable state. Sex means opening up to your partner, showing your partner all of your body and, if you are doing things right, all of your soul. If you are insecure this is almost impossible. If you are worried about the ripple of fat below you belly button or how you will look without your makeup, or how your butt will look as you walk across the bedroom—you are not free. That is not sexy. Sexy is confidence. Sexy loves it all. Sexy breezes over these things: stretch marks, tiny boobs, huge boobs, full thighs, large butts. Sexy is open. If you want to be sexy—just be. Wait, did I just rap? There is nothing like the gravitational pull of a woman who is confident in herself and comfortable with who she is.
Here’s hoping I have made you examine how you see yourself. If anything, I hope you take a long hard look in the mirror and make friends with the person staring back. In life, ultimately, you are your largest obstacle and greatest competition. Work on embracing your body and being confident in yourself, Life is so much better this way. Fall in love with you – and he (or she) will, too.