“When I was 16 years old, I weighed 130 pounds.
My friends were much smaller, and much slimmer. No matter how hard I tried, my size 8 body never fit into their size 2 clothes.
I always felt so fat. So unworthy.
Like the size of my body meant that I was less than them. Less pretty. Less important. Less loved.
Now, my body has carried 3 babies in it and 5 with it. I have a stretched-out stomach and cellulite on my thighs.
I would give anything to go back and be how ‘fat’ I thought I was as a teenager.
My size 14 jeans make me long for the days when I thought 130 pounds was ‘huge.’
I have red and white stretch marks, saggy skin, and a weird fat fold around my c-section scar.
Oh, if 16-year-old me could see the future, she would have gladly embraced a life of celibacy, salads and all-day cardio.
My body has changed a lot.
But my thoughts on my body have not.
I’m still just as harsh.
I still stand in the mirror when I get out of the shower, and take a mental inventory of my flaws.
Most days, I still don’t love my body, and by extension – sometimes I don’t really love myself.
This has to stop. I can’t pass this on to my daughters. I can’t have them looking at their bodies in search of flaws. I don’t want them to put all of their worth in what they see in the mirror.
I need them to know that if they have a period in life where they gain weight, that it does not define them.
I want them to know, what I still am trying to convince myself.
I may have some cellulite, but I am not cellulite.
You may have stretch marks, but you are not stretch marks.
We might have fat, but we are not fat.
This is not WHO we are.
We are women. We are life-givers.
We are encouragers and creatives.
We are helpers. We are bosses and leaders.
We are all the things, almost none of which depend on how we look.
We have to let it go. I have to let it go. I don’t have the space in my life to let my imperfections keep consuming me.
I will probably lose weight, and gain weight, and lose weight again at different points in my life. But through it all, I will be more than a number on a scale or a size on my jeans.
I am a woman, who is too busy with life and love to be consumed by loose skin, a little extra fat, or the fact that I will never have a gap between my thighs.
Let’s celebrate all our bodies can do, instead of obsessing over how our bodies look.
We women really are amazing.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Stephanie Hollifield of Momstrosity. It originally appeared on their Facebook page. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.
Read more from Momstrosity:
SHARE this story on Facebook to encourage others to cherish every moment and love what matters most.