Today is my 31st birthday.
There is much to discuss about officially being 'in my thirties' although I wish to dismiss all of that and focus on one simple thing.
Last year at my 30th birthday party ...
I was uncomfortable being that big but I wasn't ready to really do anything about it. I covered my body with baggy jeans, flowy shirts and lots and lots of hoodies. If I were complimented on how I looked, I could never accept it. I wanted to be comfortable with my physical self, but I really never could get there.
In Januray Mike and I began working out and dieting and we both lost weight. I began to become more comfortable with the way I looked, a little bit more confident but I could never totally just embrace my body. I was proud of what my body had done ('Well, I've had four healthy babies ... it worked like it should have!) but not proud of what my body looked like ('I may have lost weight ... but these stretch marks sure aren't going anywhere!')
Yesterday Mike took me to the Westin for a night. He had booked a room that came with a $100 shopping spree at the mall across the street. So, we checked into our room and then walked over to work on spending some money and to find me a comfortable pair of jeans. I have lost just over 20 pounds since my last birthday but was only wearing one size smaller than I had been before losing weight. I chalked it up to having had four kids in five years - after all, ones stomach can only be extended so many times before it just gives up, right?
We walked into the Lucky Jeans store and when I told Stuart, the oh so friendly and abundantly helpful sales clerk, what size I was he looked me up and down and said, "Oh honey. No you aren't." Then he laughed and pulled down a pair of jeans that was TWO SIZES SMALLER than the ones I had on.
"Oh Stuart, you flatter me. But really ... this number here? It's much too small. Much. Much."
Again Stuart laughed and walked me to a dressing room.
And then something very strange happened. Something totally unexpected. I put those teeny tiny jeans on ... and they actually buttoned. They didn't just button though ... they actually looked good. And my stomach, that I had given so much grief, stayed put, not popping over the top like I had expected it to. I stood there in disbelief, and honestly, total shock. I could not believe those jeans fit me.
Upon seeing the $115 price tag I thanked Stuart for his help and left the store. We went to a few more stores and at each place it was the same; they laughed when I told them my size and pulled smaller sizes down for me to try on.
We ended up at the Gap where I purchased their Perfect Boot Jeans ... two sizes smaller than what I had been wearing.
I don't know about you, but this was a HUGE confidence booster for me. And a wake up call. Why am I constantly selling myself short? Why, when someone gives me a compliment, do I blow them off? Why can't I accept my body for what it really is? Which is apparently, a lot smaller than I thought?
So, with a little bit of angst, and also a little pride, I had Mike take this picture of me this morning.
I feel better about my body today than I have in a very long time. I've worked hard to get here and I'm proud of what I've accomplished. I know I have to continue to take care of myself if I expect to stay in these jeans, but getting them on and looking good in them only solidified that in my mind. What I've been doing ... it's been working, I'm not going to quit.
As I head into my thirty second year of life, I am determined to change my attitude about myself and my body image. I resolve, that when I look in the mirror, I will see the woman in the size 4 jeans and stop mentally adding the layers and pounds until I resemble the woman squeezing into the size 10/12, hoping that they'll loosen up just enough so I can sit comfortably.
I'm ready to start seeing my body the way Mike does - or, at least, start attempting to.
And I'm finally ready to truly appreciate that with everything I've put my body through during the last eight years of pregnancy and nursing, it has come out a winner, without feeling the need to attach any "except for's" to it.
*I went back and forth about sharing my actual size because I know sizes are arbitrary and we all are built differently. I had a huge wake-up call yesterday that totally shifted the way I saw myself so please take the post as I meant it - just a small retrospective about where I've come from and realizing where I'm actually at - and my attempt to start seeing the beauty in my physical self.*
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