There are people that come into your life and go as quickly as they have appeared. Then there are those that come into your life and stay, and weather the storms with you always. You are the latter. From the moment I met you (way back when I was 16) I knew that I wanted you in my life forever. You are my one of my biggest blessings. One of the first people I ever had the courage to open up to. You always listen, and in such a way that makes me feel understood. The type of listening that makes me feel warm. I love the way you talk about Grace–I remember when you told me you were pregnant (the first time), I thought to myself, “This is going to be the luckiest child on the planet.” I remember trying to hide the tears in your office that day. Do you remember? Maggie, I don’t even know what words to use to describe you, because I don’t think they could do you any justice. Can I just say that in my eyes you’re whole, full, complete. Boundless. Thank you for being you. Thank you for your amazing humor. Thank you for sharing.
I’ve started this series because through my own self acceptance search/journey I’ve realized that we, as humans, all have problems with our skin suit no matter what it looks like. The point of this series is to confront our flaws AND to highlight our excellence. I hope one day we’ll all be able to wake up and that voice in our mind which lists all our faults on repeat will be much quieter if not silent. The mirror will be less scary. We’ll smile as we pass our gorgeous selves. We’ll have a bounce in our steps. One day we’ll love our bodies exactly as they are right now. We might have bad days . We might have bad weeks. Yet once we unlock that key, that key of self love we’ll know we can get back to a sanctuary within our bodies. Our bodies and our selves are waiting for that love, waiting for that permission to just be. As I said to Maggie, (and as I say to all my future spotlights), be gentle with yourself, you are meeting parts of yourself that you have been at war with.
1. What makes you feel beautiful?
Things that make me feel beautiful: wearing rose pink/nude pink colored shirts; when my hair is drying naturally from being wet – it gets super big and poofy and I just freaking love it; when my daughter touches my face, especially when she wants to put lotion on me; my husband’s reaction when he sees me naked.
2. What makes you feel powerful?
I felt really powerful after giving birth to my daughter – it was the first time in my life that I was really proud of my body and our hard work together. Similarly, I felt very empowered by breastfeeding her – my body was literally responsible for keeping this little human alive. It was amazing! I also feel powerful after I orgasm.
3. What would you tell your past self about beauty and bodies?
My mom told me, repeatedly, while I was growing up: “All people are beautiful. Sometimes their beauty is on the outside; sometimes it’s on the inside. It’s never both.” And while I don’t think that’s true anymore, it certainly helped me get past times of feeling REALLLYYYY insecure about my body image. I don’t know what I’m going to teach my daughter about her body while she’s growing up. I’m trying really hard to be body-positive and sex-positive with her, which sometimes pushes me outside of my comfort zone. When other people say demeaning things about their body in front of her, I ask them to stop. I frequently tell her how strong her body is, how good it feels to run around and use her muscles, etc.
4. How does your skin color make you feel?
I know you’re asking about skin color but I’m going to take this in a different direction. In a way, I was really lucky growing up because I had virtually no problems with acne. (Instead I was fat and had excessive facial hair – trade-offs!) Now, partially through my second pregnancy, I have just been diagnosed with a pregnancy-related skin condition that leaves me with hives all over my body – on my face, in my eyebrows, all up and down my arms, on my back, chest, stomach, and shoulders, etc. It’s really itchy and makes me very, very self-conscious. (Also! There’s no medicine for it and it will stay with me during the pregnancy and disappear “sometime afterwards.” I just talked to a lady who had a baby TWO MONTHS AGO and hers hasn’t disappeared yet. Fuck.) So, anyways, I don’t have the resistance and coping skills built up to deal with this skin condition and the insecurities it raises in me because I didn’t have the similar experience with acne while growing up. I don’t use any makeup, unless it’s a special occasion, so I have no idea what foundation works with my skin tone, etc. Generally, I have felt good about my skin in the past. Of course, my sociological relationship with my white skin is complicated.
5. How have you struggled with your body?
Ways I have struggled with my body: being mad at it during my pregnancies and labor; being mad at it when I’m sick; feeling very limited by the clothes I can wear and the activities I can do with my body in the shape it’s in, feeling frustrated and insecure about my ancestral heritage of excessive body hair (Body! Evolve already so I don’t need all this extra hair on my arms!)
6. Complete this sentence… “In my body is a safe place to be because….”
In my body is a safe place to be because: it hasn’t let me down yet. Sure, I get upset because of the societal implications of my body (my appearance) and because of the fat-shaming that I have grown up with and internalized. BUT aside from having unpleasant pregnancies (obviously I’m stuck on that because I’m going through it right now), my body has kept me healthy and safe. I’ve never had a broken bone. I’ve never been admitted to the hospital for anything outside of pregnancy/labor, and I don’t have to take prescription medications or even daily medications. I’m deeply appreciative of my body for looking out for me!
From Maggie, with love.