Be Fully You

Magical Thighs on South Beach

Headed to be beach today with one of my sister wives, and I’ve gotta say, Ashley has been on the “glow up” for a while now. Used to have little stick legs I was ashamed of. Used to think I wasn’t pretty enough or even remotely okay looking. Used to hide and wonder why God had given me this burden of ugliness. But now–I know Ashley is beautiful. She doesn’t have a thigh gap. She doesn’t have long blond hair. She doesn’t have a PhD (yet. And yes, my lack of a PhD sometimes bothers me). She doesn’t have a wedding ring or even the shadow of one. She doesn’t have a churchy singing voice. She doesn’t even have cheekbones (all facefat, no angles at allllll). But she is wonderfully and beautifully made. She is confident and sure of herself and how she fits in the world. She is wearing her first real swimsuit and she is happy about it! She is a human with magic inside of her. And magical thighs.

Magical thighs on south beach

She is wearing her first real swimsuit and she is happy about it!

The me who wrote this post last week is a confident woman. She is a woman who loves herself, loves waking up in her body, loves participating in this world and this life in that body. But, I wasn’t always that woman. In fact, I was, perhaps, the complete opposite of that woman for a long time–I remember being a super skinny little girl who didn’t smile open-mouthed because I thought my teeth were too ugly to be seen in public. I was a teenager who didn’t wear her legs out because they weren’t perfect, airbrushed, like the glittering women in music videos. I willed my hair to be anything but what it was. I didn’t dare wear a pair of shorts because my thighs rubbed together. Life was a series of little pains, big pains, and hiding behind whatever would shield me.

I’d love to tell you that there’s a formula for shedding a lot of the self-doubt and low self-esteem I carried (and let’s be honest, sometimes it still bubbles up). I’d love to tell you that all you have to do is take a magic pill and all of a sudden, you’re ready to hit the beach–South Beach, at that–in a little black swimsuit. But, no, this self-assuredness and confidence was a hard prize to win. I had to search for myself, lose myself (in a relationship, in my work, in bad haircuts, in editing my natural weirdness), and, finally, cut off my hair and dive into my life’s passion–writing and teaching–to really find out how incredible, loved, lovable, and beautiful I really am.

I did no 90-day workouts. Iyanla did not fix my life. I did not win a car from Oprah. Instead, I started facing myself each day–confronting what it was that I’d been given in the mirror. I shaved off my hair and forced myself to fall in love with my face. I wore clothes that made me switch my hips (I’m no Beyonce, but my hips can swing a vibrant swing). I accepted the deep, thick magic in my thighs and the way they fill a seat or a tight pair of jeans.

I wrote unapologetically. I laughed. I made meaningful friendships, and most importantly, I made Ashley the center of it all.

Which part of your body are you most proud of? Tell us in the comments below.

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