Thank you SO much to Amber for being brave and sharing things that might make her feel vulnerable to talk about. Amber, your words are written so beautifully. Thank you for sharing your story!
Natalie, I recently posted on my blog about this and it was because of you. I didn't have the guts to share it until today. I also didn't share the same picture from my wedding because I couldn't believe that my photographer actually caught me judging myself. I cried when i saw this picture and i cried again now. So much self hate...and for no reason. It has taken me years to get where I am now, and it is still a journey, but I am so glad to be here.
Recently I had looked through InStyle Magazine and felt very empowered. It was one of the first times in my life I had opened that magazine and not looked down at the pages wishing I was something that I am not. What I mean when I say this is that we have become a society that is based very much on the value that others give to us. From a young age we are graded in school and set to a standard based on a norm. A is awesome and F is terrible. This is a good BMI and this means you’re obese. You should weigh 115 pounds and should be able to do so effortlessly. All of these images are flying at us from every angle and we end up wishing we had something that we don’t even understand why we want.
I have spent my entire life HATING my arms. I cover them in the summer and despite the fact that I am hot as hell, I don’t care, I would rather feel comfortable with myself. I don’t know where I got the idea that my arms were awful, but I hated them. I am guessing it came from years of growing up around women that were much more petite than me and from seeing magazines of what “acceptable” arms “should” look like. Even when my arms were toned I didn’t like them. Even though I was healthier and more fit than others, I suffered through sweaty pits for no reason but my own neuroses. I wanted them to be long and skinny and feminine. Even on my wedding day I must have asked if my arms looked ok 100 times. I didn’t really value what I was born with. I wanted to shape my body for my idea of societies expectations and not for the best that it could be.
Recently I have started feeling very empowered and have started to love my body. I am amazed everyday at what it can do and how strong I feel. I love my broad back and my strong shoulders and arms. It is exciting to see how my body is changing when I push it to its limits. I don’t have to look like anyone because I look like me. I finally #ownit
We can’t all be stick figures. We are all so different and have different things that we can improve on. My new mantra is “live everyday to be a better you than the day before” and judge yourself on you.
The #OwnIt Campaign shares encouraging stories of people who are ‘owning’ their stories. It can be body-image related, personal-history related, or any personal struggle you have ‘owned’ and gained confidence from that action. You can read more about the campaign by clicking here. Use the hashtags #OwnItCampaign and #OwnIt to be featured or email@example.com **NOTE** It's important you use the #ownitcampaign hashtag so we can search through that hashtag later to see your story.
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brene Brown