reaching back for yesterday
Life teaches us that people, jobs and experiences, change constantly. I’d like to take a moment to encourage anyone reading this to accept and love the one person that you will always be with, the person you'll never be able to get away from, the person who hears your every thought, the person who feels everything you feel; You.
If God took the time to make YOU, and in order to please Him, he asks YOU to love everyone including your enemies, don’t you think He expects YOU to love YOU?!
(The below writing was previously posted on my Instagram account. Be sure and follow me there!)
JET MAGAZINE PAGE 43
I wore my very first bikini on my honeymoon in 2004. I can remember the discomfort like it was yesterday. I vividly recall strategically positioning my arm across my body onto my husband’s chest for photos, hoping to reduce any focus on my stomach. Although my husband continuously told me how beautiful I was, I remember wondering why he kept lying to me. I perceived myself as fat, having a distasteful figure and potentially causing disgust to any beach goers who had to bear witness.
Growing up, there was no representation of me on TV or in magazines. There was no internet. There was no Black Girls Rock. There was no #blackgirlmagic. All I had was JET magazine page 43, Tyra and Naomi telling me I wasn’t good enough. The only semblance of myself existed in my mother and in the other women I attended church with, but there wasn’t really anyone affirming me.
AFFIRMATION COMES FROM WITHIN
Today I look back at those photos of me in 2004 and let me tell y’all something – I looked ahhh-mazing. If I had to choose between having that body back or saving one of y’all from a shark attack, I’d probably need a few days to think about it.
I wish I could have loved and accepted myself back then the same way I do now. I spent so much time worrying about what I perceived to be inadequacies, that I ended up wasting some of my best physical years (from a youth perspective) hiding. This quote by Olin Miller is so incredibly true. “You probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do!” No one cared about how I looked in a bikini all those years ago. The affirmation I sought from others needed to come from within.
One of the best gifts I can give myself is to know that 20 years from now, I’m going to look at photos of myself from today and know that I loved, nurtured and appreciated that girl.
“When I look in the mirror and the only one there is me; Every freckle on my face is where it’s supposed to be; And I KNOW my creator didn’t make no mistakes on me: My feet, my thighs, my lips, my eyes, I’m loving what I see.” India Arie