"If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business."—Gail Dines
As I bask in the first half of the summer, I've come to realize falling in love with myself has snuck up on me like the stealthiest ninja. As much as I would want to be writing about yet another (soon to fail) summer love affair with a man of debonair taste, this summer fling is with none other than myself.
How many selfies does it take to get to the center of your timeline? A (cheesy) play-on-words from the classic, Tootsie Pop Owl commercial—but really, how many selfies do you finally settle with before deciding okay, I think this will do because my double chin is non-existent here. My left arm looks thinner here than it did in those last three. But wait, now I'm staring at the winning selfie for more than two minutes and all of sudden my right eyebrow doesn't match with her sister to the left. Ugh, forget it. Let me just text it to my best friend real quick and she'll tell me which one is better. Maybe the first one was the best choice? Whatever, I'm going to add a filter and crop this end and then post it.
I tend to forget the attention span of an average Instagrammer is six to seven seconds, so I bet, no one is noticing whether or not your lazy eye is sleeping-in yet again.
I often wondered at what point during life did I become so critical about my physical appearance? It was definitely not during middle school. Granted, I was not the cutest teenager (trust, I was not) and wholeheartedly didn't care or never came across any triggers of physical self-awareness because I was seriously having so much fun making new friends, going to the beach, to the roller skating rink, and most of all trying my best to not forget to do my homework. I think the month leading up to prom during my senior year in high school was honestly the birth of, "maybe I'm just not pretty enough" days. I didn't have a date and the guy I had been crushing on for the last two years had a girlfriend; duh, he went with her. She looked so stunning and when he smiled and said hi to me as we lined up to take photos (I went stag with a ton of my girlfriends and dude friends), I wanted nothing more than to push his date to the side and ever so lightly place both my hands around his waist. Print wallet-size pictures and hand them out to my girlfriends, slide one of them through the front clear sleeve of my binder, you know. But that never happened.
Since high school, like most women, I've had my good share of, "I feel beautiful today!" days and of course an abundant amount of days of "Yeah, she's definitely a lot cuter than I am." Sure, there are women out there who are without a doubt a whole different level of gorgeous, but that does not cancel the beautiful truth that I am a completely different level of stunning as well. We should be constantly finding ourselves and appreciating every mole, stretch mark, and freckle, with every new glance in the mirror. The latter has been a daily routine as I get ready for work or when I'm freshly out of the shower and putting on my moisturizer, as I admire the thousands of brown freckles on my face. As I currently find myself being swooned by me—my missed connections on the train with handsome men always end with, "Oh he wanted me, for sure," and truth be told I wore a two-piece bathing suit to the beach (for the first time) the other day and all of NYC (or whoever was there that day) could have cared less.
The reality is that this phase will at some point be clouded (again) with more days of insecurities as we age and rip ourselves apart with criticism, but understanding and being self-aware of the former I want to believe falling back in love with yourself should not be another weary journey.
What are some of the things I've been doing in order to fall in love with myself all over again?
As a form of meditation and a suggestion from dear from of mine (thank, Jill! xo), I like to write my thoughts first thing in the morning. I grab my journal and try my best to depict how I'm feeling. This is a form of awareness I think goes unnoticed that can sometimes be the catalyst for how the rest of your day is steered. Some days are not the greatest but some days are just downright, "I'm feeling like a baddie, for real." After a few weeks of doing this, I started to realize how harsh I was being with myself first thing in the morning, as I compared said days with my bright days. But understanding that some of those dark days were mostly triggered by hormones, you know Mother Nature and her Dot. Be easy on yourself, girl. Deep breaths. Being self-aware of how cruel we can be to ourselves is key.
Looking back at all your accomplishments and how much of an impact that had on your attitude in that present moment. I tend to forget about all the cute days I've been so blessed with when I'm being hard on myself. So thanks to social media and Throwback Thursday, I've recently been taking myself on cute little trips down memory lane and I'm taken over with an immense feeling of gratitude for being able to experience all of those days of happiness and success. Mija, you have to believe there are more days just like those, if not better, ahead! Trust in Him.
The women that are part of my life and exist within social realms—sometimes it takes someone else's story to really inspire/ignite your own. I feel like a smiling Golden Retriever with its head out the car door window, whenever I read or witness yet another beautiful woman expressing how much she truly loves herself or sharing a post about landing that job. This is the one train we all as women should be hopping on—hype your BFF, the stranger on the train, or that one cute/funny gal you've been following on Instagram and Twitter for over five years and have never met in person. Women supporting other women in our true beauty and journey as we pave our way through life is the type of energy I hope never wears out. You're all an inspiration as we strive to be the very best version of ourselves.
P.S. the best part about this summer fling is knowing it can't or won't ghost you. ;)