The one thing I said I would NEVER do… I did. Yes, I am a mom to an 11 year old young lady. Yes, I am a Christian. Yes, I agreed to do an implied nude photo shoot on a nude beach and umm, well, it was amazing. It was probably the most liberating, freeing experience of my entire life.
Growing up I liked that I was strong and could beat all the boys at pull ups and push ups. I loved that gymnastics was hard and made me physically strong and mentally tough. For as long as I can remember I have loved and appreciated my body for what it is capable of doing rather than just what it looked like, but I also appreciated my muscles and the hard work it took me to build that strength. My body was a reflection of my training. No one else did that work for me and I took pride in that.
Around the age of sixteen I started attending church and I soon found out that wearing shorts was frowned upon because they were apparently too revealing and not modest enough, aside from many other things. During this time I remembering wrestling with the idea that showing my legs was something to be ashamed of. I remember becoming ashamed and self conscious of my legs. This stayed with me for years until the day I set a personal goal for myself to train for a full marathon, FYI… I am NOT a runner haha that is what the draw was… it was something completely out of my comfort zone and I knew would be a mental and physical challenge for me. The further I got into my training the more I noticed myself breaking free from the idea that I should be ashamed of my legs. Don’t tell anyone this because they might think I’m crazy ;), BUT I remember actually telling my legs how proud I was of them after finishing one of my longest runs I’d ever run up to that point haha! It was from that day on that I was seriously liberated from the absurd idea that I should not be allowed to show my legs because a guy may get the wrong idea from me wearing shorts. It was from that day on that I was able to walk in what I chose to wear with confidence, taking pride in my own strength, and in my own body.
There have been so many other situations throughout my life where, as a female, your physical appearance is for some reason the most important thing you have to offer the world and yet we are taught that we should STILL be ashamed of it… WTF?! Good night, y’all. It’s completely, 100000% more than okay to LOVE YOUR BODY!!!
I remember reading through a CrossFit post late one night as I was laying wide awake unable to fall asleep in my hotel room in England the night before coaching a gymnastics seminar. The post was a this super incredible, gorgeous, strong, and successful female athlete in the fitness world and I was beside myself as I read some of the comments people were leaving on this AMAZING photo. They were commenting and criticizing pretty much any little thing they could possibly find saying things like “she looked like a man, had too much muscle, her veins in her arms were gross”, and on and on. It totally fired me up and pissed me off. Anytime there is a lack of understanding and thus a lack of appreciation for the way someone chooses to live their life judgements will be made. Why is it okay to shame someone who is actively pursuing living their strongest, healthiest, happiest life possible? Why is it okay to body shame anyone for that matter?
Someone’s hard work and strength should be an inspiration and source of empowerment to each of us, not something to shame, put down, or criticize. A huge reason behind my love and passion and fire for all things fitness is the super cool journey of discovering what we are capable of all while developing a deep love and appreciation for our own mind, body, and spirit. And a super cool perk to challenging our bodies physically is the outward transformation that our bodies go through, but that isn’t the WHY. The why comes from a much deeper place within us striving to be the strongest, healthiest, happiest we can possibly be from the inside out.
I finally just decided to go for it. I was recovering from one of the most difficult, confusing times of my entire life. It was a time of massive transformation for me as I was beginning a new business and moving on from a past relationship. This shoot was symbolic to me as a shedding of the past while diving full force into my new future. It was truly the most liberating, freeing experience of my entire life and I am so grateful for the opportunity. I felt it was also a celebration of all the hard work my body had endured up to that point. It was more than a physical experience… It was definitely a super personal, vulnerably powerful, spiritual experience for me. I believe wholeheartedly that we should love ourselves deeply from the inside out, and that includes our physical body. Our bodies are nothing to be ashamed of, but something we should respect, appreciate, love, embrace, and celebrate for all they do for us! We only get one!
I want nothing more than to make sure that my daughter grows up with true confidence in her own skin, who knows and loves who she is wholeheartedly.
Make sure you are living for YOU and staying true to who YOU are. Remember that true confidence is not attention seeking, but rather boldly living in love and freedom without holding back or shrinking for anyone. Be YOU and embrace all you are… YOU are the only YOU there will ever be!