I was tagged on Instagram by a friend to participate in the #20beautifulwomenchallenge. The call was to post a photo of yourself, reflect on what you thought about the idea of beauty and what makes you feel beautiful, and tag 20 other women that you love. So I start sorting through some photos and of course I’m looking for the “good” one. I found one from last fall that I didn’t end up using because it makes my nose look big.
And like a bum knee that you forget about because it doesn’t hurt anymore or a heartbreak that has healed, I remembered how much I used to hate my nose and how hard it was to love myself. The photo above is the one that I shared and the download of how I felt about it:
It seems funny to me now but as a teenage girl the plan was always to get a nose job as soon as I had enough money. I didn't fit my definition of beauty. I was always adding things to the list. My not straight not white teeth were ugly. My spider veins were ugly. My lack of muscle tone was ugly. My anxiety was ugly. My shyness was ugly. My depression was ugly. My awkwardness was ugly. I could go on. Total constant Erin crucifixion. It was f*cking awful.
So this was the work of my lifetime. Looking into the dark to find the light. Loving myself, getting tripped up and loving myself even harder every time. It was a commitment to an investigation into my inner realms to see how much I could love and honor all of myself.
Self love isn't just rainbows and glitter. It’s not buying yourself flowers or getting your nails done.
Self love is a daily operation.
Self love is a minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, day-by-day commitment.
It’s a choice.
It's removing people and thoughts out of your life that don't honor you. It's having tough conversations. It's creating boundaries and rebuilding them every time someone tries to smash through. It's saying no to good to pave the way for great. It’s about what you choose to put in your body. That includes food AND people. It’s about declaring who you are and what you care about to your loved ones. It’s no shame or guilt about your essential self. It’s having high standards for what you will allow into your life. It's teaching people how to treat you through the exquisite care you give yourself. It’s being super kind to yourself when those old tapes start to play. It's knowing yourself all the way to the bone. It is 100% Love, not some day but every day.
Today I feel alive and full and am in an unprecedented state of complete self-acceptance. No guilt, no shame, no disclaimers, no caveats, no "oh, thanks it was on sale." Just me loving my wholeness. It took time to shed the layers to remember I was Beautiful. I always knew but it was like I had to scrub the false off to find the true. It was an act of self-preservation and a declaration of life. Hallelujah.
I share this with you because I think it feels good to know that other people struggle too. People who may seem to have it all together. We are all going through it in our own time and in our own way. This level of transparency feels comfortable to me because it’s true. Truth feels much more like home than a pretty façade.
I celebrate all of you and your gorgeousness and would love to know what you find beautiful about yourself!