I was getting ready for bed late last night, after both kids and my husband were already asleep, when I caught a glimpse of myself undressing in the bathroom mirror. There were soft curves I had never appreciated before, (and still fully don’t,) pale reflective skin that I still secretly yearn would tan, and the ever-present bruised knees and blotchy skin. Nothing about me has changed physically, yet somehow in that moment I was able to see how beautiful I could be. I stood there admiring myself for a few minutes, until I became self-consciously aware of what I was doing and forced myself to turn away. I felt ashamed of what I perceived as base vanity, and my knee-jerk reaction was to beat myself up over it. I forced myself to look back in the mirror. What was I really seeing? Was it all simply superficial narcissism? Why had I thought I looked so good anyway?
I stared down the person across from me, searching for answers. And to my surprise, she stared back – strong, lovely, and unapologetic.
There is nothing wrong with the way my body looks. It’s carried me through 36 hard years and given life to two human beings. This body doesn’t look like any other bodies and that is beautiful.
And I am allowed to feel beautiful. I’m allowed to feel sexy. I’m allowed to look at myself in the mirror and appreciate what I see in front of me.
It was odd, having to give myself permission to admire myself. But the moment I did, I felt a surge of confidence and pride and freedom. I wanted to bottle it up and save it for later. I wanted to hold onto that feeling so I wouldn’t lose it. So I grabbed my selfie stick and decided to document the experience.
I haven’t edited or filtered these photos in any way because I want to see all the rolls, all the cellulite, and every little sag. There’s nothing fancy or photoshopped about them. It’s just me, in my bathroom, feeling really cute in my undies.
So why share these?
Well, first of all, you can’t deny that these are super cute undies. The galaxy print of the Champion cage-top sports bra plays perfectly with the Star Wars boy shorts, and the colors even match perfectly too! They’re certainly not skimpy or scanty or scintillating, although I must admit despite the full coverage offered by the cut of the briefs I still feel hella nekkid and exposed sitting there in nothing but my skivvies.
But there’s a deeper message behind this informal photo shoot than ‘may the force be with you’ stamped across my bum. And yes, even deeper than my cryptic ‘hillbilly 4 life’ tramp stamp. (Which, btw, is both a joke – I was born in Louisiana and raised in Indiana where there are no hills – and also a reference to a Hank Williams III song.)
These photos show SELF LOVE. These photos show that it doesn’t matter what size, shape, age, or gender you are – YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND YOU ARE ALLOWED TO FEEL BEAUTIFUL! Even after a long day and you’re wearing your least sultry smalls, you’re still a magical creature with gorgeous curves and angles and dimples and softness. You got it and you can flaunt it or not as you see fit!