Today I want to thank the woman who taught me how to love my body. Who taught me that my stomach is a place to fill with food, not a place to poke, prod and critique. A woman who taught me that my freckles are beautiful, rather than imperfect. A woman who taught me never to pick at my face (this one got through a little less than the others), not because my scars would diminish my beauty, but because my body deserves love and kindness.
At 23 years old, born into a generation of social media, botox, liposuction, photoshop, and body shaming, I have never once truly hated my body. Don't get me wrong, I have my insecurities. I have thrown clothes on the floor, and changed my outfit three times because it didn't make me feel beautiful. Occasionally, I put on a hat to cover a red zit on my forehead that I'd prefer to hide from peering eyes. But my underlying feeling is, and always has been, gratitude and love for my body.
I attribute this solely to my mother. A woman who consciously made the choice to never speak negatively about her own my body in presence; who allowed me to make choices about my own body that empowered me (when I was ready to give up pull-ups, how I'd like to dress, when I was ready to have my first kiss, or lose my virginity); a woman who never made me feel ashamed of my body, her body or any other woman's body.
My mom wove love and gratitude into ever fiber of my corporeal being. So now, instead of feeling ashamed of my body, I feel thankful. Thankful that my body allows me to climb mountain tops, dance ecstatically, plunge into oceans, climb up walls, lounge in hammocks, do all the things that give me life! I am in love with my body because my mother taught me this was the only possible option.
So here's to my mom, a woman who taught me how not only taught me about self love, but also taught me how to raise my future children.