What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see strength? Do you see beauty? Grace? A warrior? Or, do you see smile lines from the joy and laughter you’ve been blessed with? Or do you see someone who doesn’t fit the “mold” of what you think you should look like?
Real talk: I am constantly guilty of criticizing what I see when I look in the mirror. I’m working towards authentic self-love every single damn day. I’ve got lots of hang-ups and things I am self-conscious about: my big nose, my height, cellulite, my flat feet, my missing tooth. The biggest struggle is with the pooch-belly I have from bearing 2 children. Well, technically, diastasis recti, which by definition is “the partial or complete separation of the rectus abdominis, or “six-pack” muscles, which meet at the midline of your stomach. Six pack muscles? That’s funny.
That post-baby pooch belly is not just the result of having 2 kids. It’s also the aftermath of many “YOLO” moments. Oh, there’s homemade brownies for dessert? YOLO! There’s freshly-baked french bread with dipping oil? YOLO! Seriously though, doesn’t the phrase “you only live once” somehow make everything justifiable?
I’ve been the victim of a few “insert foot in mouth” moments. Like the time my son asked me if I had a baby in my belly because it was big. My son is my second child. I only have 2 children. That’s the thing about kids… absolutely no filter.
When I was working as a TV host, I was at a shoot with a client and had one of the guests put her hand on my stomach and, very excitedly ask, “Is that a belly I’m seeing? When are you due?!” Wow, lady. Actually, the only thing taking up real estate in my belly is a footlong subway grinder (…and nacho cheese doritos). Did you feel the kick? That’s gas bubbles from the processed American cheese and pickled banana peppers. So. Awkward. Imagine her back pedaling her way out of that one. “Oh! I meant food baby!” to which I wanted to say (but didn’t) “Oh really? You did? You’re wondering when I’m due. For what? My next trip to the bathroom?” Needless to say, I wore spanx to every shoot after that. I’ve got spanx in every form: the biketard spanx, the full body onesie spanx, the shorts, the corset. That shit is magic.
You know what else is magic? Spray tanning abs onto your stomach. For real. I’m no body painting expert, but a couple of kriss kross lines (3 rows, 2 columns) and you’re sure to look like Shakira at the big game halftime show. The trick is getting the spray that goes on golden brown so you can see where it’s going. Not sure that I’m really fooling anyone. Nobody has ever asked me how I got six-pack abs overnight. But, it makes me feel a little more confident in a two-piece! Or at the very least, prevents people from asking when my third child is due to arrive.
If you really wanna know all the answers to rock solid abs, just ask Alexa. “Alexa, how can I get a six pack?” She just told me that 7-11 sells 6 packs of beer, soda, malt beverages & water. Welp, she isn’t wrong. I could use a cold beer after seeing these photos:
Not a baby. –>
Definitely a baby. –>
Listen, the point is, this is something I struggle with everyday. But why? Is it because I feel the need to look like I did when I was 21? Or because I will be prettier with a flatter stomach? Or people will like me more? Will I be happier?
My dear friend & fellow local entrepreneur Melaney Houle (check out her blog here) is constantly sharing words of wisdom surrounding body positivity. She owns a boutique that focuses on celebrating individuality and empowering women to feel beautiful & confident in their own skin. Their mission statement preaches, “We believe that every woman deserves to feel her best every single day. We believe that women are powerful and beautiful JUST AS THEY ARE.” Melaney’s words advocating body positivity are so refreshing:
“I started to view my legs, which were often an area of insecurity, as powerful pillars of strength. These jiggly thighs have enabled me to climb mountains, kick my legs to swim in the sea, run in the yard with my babies. These legs, despite my own criticism of their appearance, have carried me through LIFE. They have walked me through the darkest valleys and back out into the sunshine. ”
– Melaney Houle
These worlds have inspired me to change the way I view my body in the mirror. I am a pillar of strength. My pooch-belly mom-tummy can be viewed as a trophy for safely carrying & delivering two babies into this world. It’s the belly that shakes with laughter from all of the joy I get the fortune of being surrounded by. This belly is healthy, even if it isn’t flat. This belly doesn’t define me, my character or my heart. This belly won’t be seen in a crop top, but will be celebrated in spanx.
Our insecurities are real, I get it. But let’s not let them consume or define us (believe me, I’m talking to myself here, too!). Our inner light is what reveals our most sincere, truest beauty. We can’t keep trying to be someone else’s definition of “perfect.” Be you, live a healthy life but don’t sacrifice the piece of cake because you want the world to see your abs in a two piece. Spray tan that shit on and call it a day. Who’s with me?!