I am not going to lie to you guys, I religiously stalk certain people on Instagram. It is how I feel connected to the world without actually having to leave my house, put on pants, and comb my hair. Okay, that may have been a little bit of an exaggeration, however, you get the point. One of the people I "Insta-stalk" on the reg is my friend, Shelby Wamp. Every single picture of Shelby's on Instagram is without a doubt, flawless. I see through her pictures of how happy she is with her husband, and the life they have started together. Even their dog, Scout, with its fluffy white hair and sheepishly bashful way about posing for the camera, is perfect. What I find the most endearing of all about Shelby's Instagram, is under her profile picture, it says, "Embrace Imperfection." I told someone how ironic I thought it was that she has a seemingly flawless life, with her beautiful family, and her adorable dog, and her perfect Instagram pictures, and puts that as her profile description. Then I paused for a minute to ask myself this question, "Do I see Shelby's life as beautiful and as flawless because she has in fact, embraced her imperfections?" I think there is some merit to that question, and leads me into my story of learning to embrace my own imperfections.
I have mentioned in one of my previous entries, From Self Loathing, To Self Loving, that I have struggled for a really long time with self esteem and body image issues. However, after I had my son, these issues were at an all time high. I am about to share with you something that is one of my hugest insecurities to date, and am trusting that you will accept this as something to learn from, and not make fun of.
Most 21 year old girls' favorite time of the year is summer. Who wouldn't like summer? Your skin gets tan, you get to walk around basically in your underwear and not get raked over the coals for it, no school (for most of us), and everyone seems to just be happier in the summer. Truth be told, I have major anxiety when it comes close to summer-time. Although I may come off as a super confident individual with a love for the beach (don't get me wrong, I love the beach), I'm not as confident as you may think. I actually dread bikini season because I have stretch marks. I got stretch marks as a result from my 80 pound weight gain during my pregnancy. I got them on my boobs, thighs, stomach, hips, and yes, even my butt. At first I was super embarrassed by them, and actually made myself physically sick about the thought of anyone seeing them in broad daylight. Can you blame me, or anyone else who is in my shoes? We live in a society where mainstream media does everything it can to hide such imperfections in the thousands of images of actresses and models that we are bombarded with everyday. Photoshopped pictures have become second nature to most of us with magazines, social media, movies, etc. My question is, "Why are we so embarrassed of something that we shouldn't?" If anything, we should be proud of such marks on our bodies. These marks on my body are a reminder to myself of the change I have been through and the physical stress that my body has endured. I have altogether, gained and lost 80 pounds in the last 3 1/2 years alone. I have carried and birthed an extremely healthy baby boy. I am learning to see these stretch marks as a reminder to myself (and those who may see them) as a sign of how strong my body is. Scars, stretch-marks, freckles, pores, and other things that we see as "imperfections" are something we as women, better yet, a society, should learn to be proud of, because these are the most beautiful imperfections in life. They are signs of a true woman, and not a photoshopped one.
I'm going to level with you guys, I was extremely nervous about sharing this post with you today. By sharing this, I will have officially become as vulnerable as I can possibly be at this point in time with you as my peers, readers, and friends. Just earlier, I was sharing my concerns with my friend, Alex, and she made an extremely eye opening comment to me that made me feel at ease about being real with you guys in this post. She told me, "It's more often than not, the things you see about yourself as imperfections, others see as beautiful." I had a brief sigh of relief to hear that from someone else besides myself because the fact of the matter is she is right. Just like how Shelby has "Embraced Imperfection" in her life, I need to do so as well in mine. If I embrace my imperfections, like my stretch marks, maybe I will begin see them as beautiful as others may see them. I share this post with you for two reasons: One- realize that no one is perfect, and everyone has something that they feel insecure about. So don't feel like you're alone in this, because you're not. Secondly, and most importantly, I want you to see that the most beautiful and endearing things in life are those little imperfections. It's the imperfections in life, and the little bumps, bruises, and marks that we get along the way that make life so grand and worth living. I want to invite you to join in with me on this movement of embracing life's imperfections, instead of hiding them.
"You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you."
-Song of Solomon 4:7
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