I looked down. I saw the last few pictures of me. The pooch in my stomach had made its grand return to my body after a year and a half. It’s probably the aspect I’m the least fan of on my whole person. And to be completely honest in these moments I question if it was worth it. Was working endlessly and exhaustingly to gain wait in order to be healthier worth the pictures of feeling less than adequate? When every other aspect was a positive (energy, sleep, excitement, less anxiety, and looking better in general), I still struggled. And then it hit me.
Fifteen years ago, starting my competitive swimming career, I wore skin tight swimsuits on the daily to train and compete, yet the issues I have with my body then paled in comparison to today, wearing no such thing. But 15 years ago we weren’t obsessed with capturing every possible moment.
Let me preface this by saying I LOVE pictures, capturing special moments, learning how to crop, filter, set stages on an amateur level. However, I believe that it effects us, and not always in a positive way. So first,
- My engagement & wedding pictures really messed with my head. I didn’t like how I looked.
- Every single swim meet or function in college was captured, and I would immediately thumb through the albums and remove tags or hide them from my profile if they didn’t look good. If I was slouchy, poochy, or just the right angle happened to be on my arms a grimace would display on my face.
- There is anxiety after coming away from an event on what the pictures will look like, and being okay with them out in the open.
And some of you would say, gosh you’re being silly, you’re so small. But regardless, that’s how I feel and I know that people don’t look exactly like me or have been on the same journey, but we all have those moments and therefore we can all relate.
But here’s what I am learning and truly how I feel: Being healthy is important, but at the end of the day the stress and anxiety I was putting on what I looked like was out of control and my health declined rapidly. BUT GOD, made you uniquely beautiful and if you are doing the best you can for your body, loving it AND giving it grace, then you are exactly who He wants you to be and wants you to look like. Say it as many times as you have to, but let this truth sink in.
So everything fine now right? No. It’s a battle, but the confidence surrounding the results of many peoples prayers, hard work of eating more and eating right, and the older and wiser that have come alongside me, plus my the words my Creator and Savior have said over me are changing the narrative for how I view myself. So here are a few ways I think we can come together to help change the narrative for our capture culture:
- TALK. Some of those confessions above were hard to release to the wild, but I can’t be the only one. I am here as a sounding board if you ever need an ear, but find someone and don’t be afraid to talk about the hard stuff.
- WRITE. Write down truths about yourself and say them over and over to yourself. Sounds dorky and cliche, but it really does make a difference.
- You are a one of a kind, created in the image of God.
- You are capable of things you cannot even imagine, be kind to it.
- You aren’t defined by one snapshot
- BREATHE. Maybe you’ve found yourself in a spiral about how you look, your diet, not being enough, take a step back. No matter how busy you think you are, remove yourself from that space. Walk, pray, journal put your mind at ease, and repeat those truths from above.
- THINK. This is two sided, but think before you snap and think before you post. While I LOVE photographs and remembering special moments – not every single minute needs to be captured, be ok putting the phone or camera down and just be present in the moment. You and the people around you will thank you!
- DANCE. Find a dress and twirl sister because you are a stunner. Twirl and sing as much as you need to until you are laughing and crying because you are display of beauty and splendor.
I’m preaching to myself just as much writing this, but this morning I got back from the November Project Atlanta Friday morning workout and looked down and I can truly say I was thankful for every inch of me and how He created me.
So bring on the pictures and love the skin you’re in.