Recently, the beautiful Mammasaurus wrote a post about body confidence (or the lack thereof) which really resonated with me. Having run the gamut of emotions when it comes to my own body, it reminded me of what I’ve been wanting to write about for quite a while but never had the impetus to do so.
Feeling comfortable in our own skin is something I think every woman struggles with at some point or another. I am certainly no different from my billions of sisters out there.
As a child, I was quite a looker. Super cute, even with my glasses and crooked smile, I was a beauty queen in the pageant circuit. I remember experimenting with makeup at five years old – not through my own childhood curiosity, but because my mom wanted to bring out my big blue eyes or accentuate my lips. For the record, my mom wasn’t one of those horrible pageant moms like you see on Toddlers and Tiaras. She indulged my narcissism and put me in contests because she thought I was pretty enough to win.
Eventually, though, I wanted out, and she made it pretty easy for me to walk away from that world, which is awesome. Thanks mom!
As I got older, unfortunately, I came into my family inheritance – I got boobs. I was quite young when I started to develop. Nine or ten years old! I grew fast. I got attention. It was so not cool.
Puberty hit, and with it came bad skin and weight gain. I kept my puppy fat until I was about 17. Just before my senior year, I visited relatives in California for two weeks and managed to lose about ten pounds. This got me excited, and by the time school started, I was another ten pounds gone. For once, I wasn’t the fat chick. I was the same as everyone else. Guys paid more attention, and I actually enjoyed my senior year, feeling that I wasn’t the ugly duckling.
In college, I lost even more weight due to signing on for the most limited meal plan (only 14 meals a week) and having no extra cash. I had many men wanting me and even got my first “real” boyfriend. I figured out that the key to being wanted was the FEEL wanted. I felt good about myself. I wasn’t the skinniest gal, nor did I wear makeup or do my hair. I was a size 12, and I had guys throwing themselves at me, some of them begging me for clandestine romps and others showing up at my doorstep at all hours to serenade me.
Of course, within only a couple of months, I met my future ex-husband online and was pretty much off the market from that point forward.
My second year of college, I switched meal plans, and I wound up putting on my “Freshman 15″ a year late. When Ross and I finally met up in person, he made a comment about me needing to lose a few pounds, and thus started my downward spiral. I was with him for over eight years from that point, and every one of those years focussed on my weight. I yo-yoed constantly. Any weight I’d manage to lose would be put on with interest. I was always on a diet, always feeling deprived, always feeling not good enough. I would starve myself for days on end, and often when I DID eat, I would make myself sick, wanting to do anything to keep from gaining weight. But it kept piling on.
When I was 26 (after 7 years of feeling hideous) I flew to the Czech Republic and had a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy to lose the weight for good. It worked! In a little over a year, I had lost 100 lbs AND my husband. Reclaiming my body had given me a new confidence (and a LOT of male attention), and it wasn’t long before Ross and I were broken up for good. It was the best thing that ever happened to either of us, and we were luckily able to reclaim our friendship and be better pals than we ever were spouses.
In record time, I’d met Mark, and from day one, he made me feel AMAZING. I knew I was beautiful because he MADE me beautiful. He’d look at me and admire me and tell me constantly that I was gorgeous. He was always taking pictures of me on his phone or camera, and when I looked at the photos, for the first time in my life, I didn’t hate them. I saw myself as he saw me, and I really was pretty.
Of course, everything changed a few months later when I got pregnant. With each trimester, I gained more weight, my skin got more stretch-marks, and my self-image shattered. I held on to the fact that I was building a life inside of me, and I prayed that I’d be able to lose the weight once I gave birth.
And I did… mostly…
I lost most of the weight within a month or two, but there was a stubborn ten pounds that refused to budge (even though I breastfed like a champion!). And as the months went on and motherhood took its toll, that ten pounds slowly built up again. And now, nearly 16 months after Dexter was born, I have a whopping 22 lbs to lose before I am back to my pre-pregnancy average weight.
The sad thing is that I wasn’t happy with that weight at the time. I wanted to lose another twenty pounds!
Now that we have moved to Florida, I once again believe that I can do something to change my body. But we’ve been here for nearly two weeks, and I am snacking all the time, sitting on the couch too much and afraid to leave the house. I don’t have a set of scales yet, which is lucky as I’m certain to hate the number that stares back at me.
So today, I decided something. My body will change when I am ready to change it. Really really ready. And until that time, it is important to change my body IMAGE. I need to see myself in a better life. Not the fat and frumpy MOMMY that I let myself be each day. But the sexy hot mama that Mark sees when his eyes get all dilated and his pants fit a little tighter.
And with that in mind, as I laid the baby down for his nap a little while ago, I ran to the bathroom, grabbed my makeup and hair tools and gave myself a mini makeover.
I PLUCKED, PEOPLE!
I waved that magic (mascara) wand and allowed myself to feel pretty. For once.
And the results? See for yourself!