My Battle with My Body

I got back from the Dominican Republic in mid-January and ever since I got back, I’ve wanted to write about this picture and the true story it tells. Over the years, I’ve done a LOT of work to heal my relationship with my body and to start recovering from very disordered and unhealthy eating and thought patterns (if you want to hear more on that, you can read my blog My Dirty and Disordered Little Secret). If my story can help even one person, then I’ve succeeded.

My trip to Dominican was at an “inconvenient” time. I didn’t have any time to work out or diet, but we had recently lost our dog and this was an opportunity for my husband and I to get away, to heal and to regroup. I packed 4 bikinis and a one-piece bathing suit, thinking that I’d probably have to wear the one-piece, especially after eating resort food for a week.

My body wasn’t toned. I was the squishiest I had been in my life and far from “perfect”…and of course, I stuck out as a sun-deprived Canadian who hadn’t tanned!

I decided that I didn’t care. Judgers are gonna judge regardless of my size or shape. Haters are gonna hate regardless of what I do or wear. That’s life.

I was on this vacation for me. I was just as entitled to enjoy my vacation and be free. I wasn’t there to “be pretty” for anyone. I was there to enjoy the trip I had purchased for myself. So I did just that. Each day, I put my bikini on and went and enjoyed the day. I walked the beach (jiggles and all), I windsurfed, learned how to sail a Catamaran.

People probably looked, but I spent more time breathing, soaking in the sunshine, feeling the joy of slowing down and taking time to reconnect with my husband and with myself. I allowed my grief to work its way out of my system by living.

Each day, at least once, I would battle the anxious thoughts about how I looked in my bathing suit or if I was stepping softly enough to minimize jiggle or compare myself to a beautiful woman who had a feature that I didn’t. Each day, as these thoughts came up, I would close my eyes, take a deep long breath in and out and remind myself that I am ok, I am more than ok, I am worthy of enjoying my vacation to its fullest. I am worthy of being there on that beach with all of those other beautiful, imperfectly-perfect people (each with their own scars, quirks and “flaws”). We’re all in this together and we’re each very unique in every way.

Please don’t hide yourself, try to be someone else or change yourself for others. You are beautiful the way you are. Your wrinkles are beautiful and prove that you’ve lived, felt the sun, had an opportunity to turn another year wiser. The extra weight proves that you have food in your belly. Those stretch marks reflect that you’ve grown (perhaps even experienced the beauty of child-birth).

You are amazing the way you are. Your quirks, love and uniqueness are what make you beautiful. Your heart and soul are where true beauty stems from.

Sexy is being comfortable with yourself and your body and standing firmly in that. Sexy is living your life the way you want to. Sexy is confidence in yourself and your ability. Sexy is kindness and laughter. Sexy is not defined in a magazine.

It’s time to celebrate all that we have rather than punishing ourselves for it. It’s time to fiercely step into your true self, accept your body (as it’s the only one you’ve got for this lifetime) and start nurturing it. It’s time to appreciate that body for all that it does for you each and every day, the abuse it puts up with from you and the amazing potential it has to heal itself if you just take care of it and treat it as you would a friend.

Love yourself. Every last piece of yourself; especially the parts that you hate as they need your love the most. Pick one area each week and express your gratitude and love for it.

Life it not a fashion show. Life is an experience, an adventure, has ups and downs, a roller coaster of emotions and traumas, but also of beautiful highs. Life is about genuine connections with others. We are all in this together.

I’m not going to let my “imperfections” from hold or shame me back from living my life. If someone doesn’t like what they see or is offended by it, then they should probably look elsewhere.

So, here are the things I want YOU to know:

  • You are worthy of living your life right now (“imperfectly perfect”).
  • Wear the damn bathing suit and wear it proudly!
  • Give that judging inner-voice a kick in the berries and tell it to buzz off when it creeps up.

Please join me in celebrating ourselves and each other rather than judging and criticizing.

Sending you love and a big ‘ole Sherri-sized hug,

Sherri-Lyn

Please let me know what you think!

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