I'll just get it out quickly: I struggle with my body image. A lot.
The roots go pretty far back into my childhood, where beauty was praised and recognized as a tool to be wielded and used for gain. This was in my household. In my culture, women's bodies were a significant measure of their worth. I still remember a high school debate tournament where the guys told me all about how I'd never be truly "hot" because I didn't have the 3 triangles of leg gap that was a true mark of beauty: between the ankles, between the calf and knee and above the knee/thigh gap. It haunted me.
I developed an eating disorder.
There were definitely other factors involved, including but not limited to the chaos in my family as both of my parents had back-to-back thyroid disease and then my mom got an auto-immune disorder which meant I was single-handedly running our family business and treading water in my high school AP classes. It was about beauty, but also about control.
I had a hitting-bottom moment before my senior year of high school started and it was the catalyst for a deep faith experience. There is good in this part of my story, though my views on faith have evolved since that time. My insane and total focus on God's grace and love for me was a balm for my wounds. I dove into figuring out my worth and identity in my faith and I really do believe that God showed up and helped me in this stage. I worked a LOT of stuff out through art making and drawing, wrestling with my demons on paper. The roots of this healing are still a powerful part of me today.
But the truth is, this stuff never really goes away. It's something I've battled on and off for a long time, and as expected, becoming a mom has brought fresh cycles of it to the fore.
I wanted to share this, not because it's a singular story... but because I KNOW there's a community of women and men dealing with these issues and I wanted to say: You're not alone. There is always hope and healing ahead.
Never perfect, but onward.
Kicking my own bullshit to the curb today.... feel free to join me!