This past weekend my husband took the kids and I up to the Wallowa Mountains in Eastern Oregon. It was truly like nothing I have ever seen before. It was stunning. I took a million and fourteen photos and videos. As we were looking through the photos I realized how often I stood behind my husband or held the camera waaaaaay up high so I could stretch my neck out and in turn, thin out my face. But more often than anything, I hid from the camera and from my kids’ memories.
As we cruised around Wallowa Lake on a pontoon boat I looked over and saw my 4 year old daughter sitting in a seat with a towel over her lap (just like I was to cover up my stomach since I was wearing my swimsuit) and I realized she was mimicking me. She was mimicking my discomfort about my body.
As I scroll through FB, I see the “stretched neck selfie” everywhere, on teenagers and adults, on the skinny minnies and those of us with a few extra pounds... While riding on that boat it struck me that this is much more than a photo craze, it is indicative of our culture. A culture that says your weight and appearance is what defines you.
Ladies, hear me out: THAT IS A LIE. A BOLD FACED LIE. You are beautiful no matter what you body looks like. I have spent years and years believing that who I am, who I truly am, is reflected by my size. It’s just not true.
I am overweight, I am not always comfortable in my skin or my clothes. But I am kind, loving, will help anyone in need, I am a rad wife & mom (*insert horn tooting here), I go to school online and get straight A’s, I love Jesus and while I am a sinner, I seek after him hourly.
I am not a pair of jeans, I am not a number on a scale. I am a deeply loved child of Christ. I am the caregiver and kisser of many boo-boos. I am a best friend to my husband. I am many things, but I am not defined by the size of this body that created 4 children and birthed 3. And neither are you.
I admire all those mama’s who worked hard to get their pre-baby bodies back. I admire you! But for you mamas who still look away when you walk by the mirror, I say to you, STOP. Stop putting yourself down and comparing yourself to those you think are prettier than you. Just stop. You are beautiful. You are kind and you are loved. I challenge you to find your value in something other than your physical body. Because you are a treasure.
So ladies, this summer, rock your swimsuit, get in front of that camera and don't be ashamed of who you are or what you look like right now. Our physical appearance is fleeting. Let your inside, your heart, the part that really matters shine brightly.
Also, I say: death to the “stretched neck selfie”.
Amy Hardesty has graciously shared her story of body image transformation. An amazing mother of three littles, two who have special dietary needs, she has her hands full. She not only is a mother, but is furthering her education in complementary alternative medicine. She is a dear friend of mine and is truly heart-driven woman. She has taught me so much about grace. Thank you Amy.
If you feel compelled to share your Love YOU More story, please send it to us at Selena@loveyoumoreproject.com. This blog is for YOU. The more we share, the greater the Love YOU More message will grow.