In a drawer, I have a picture of myself in a hot pink bikini. When the picture was taken, I was in my very late twenties or very early thirties, and I’d had two children. This was back when there was no such thing as a smartphone. Back then, you took your pictures, cranked the film forward in the camera and, when the very last image had been shot, you opened the camera, took out the film and dropped it off at Walgreen’s (they’ve been around forever). Then, you waited a few days to see the pictures you took on your vacation to Mexico when you dared to put your post-baby body in a hot pink bikini and go out in public like that.
On the day the photo of me in the hot pink bikini came back in the envelope from Walgreen’s, I took one look at it and declared myself fat. “My thighs!” “My butt!” “My hips!” Too much junk in the trunk, I determined (or something like that—I’m not sure “junk in the trunk” was a thing, yet).
Over the years, I have fought a losing battle against my derrière, despite the fact that she has been nothing but good to me. I overlooked her goodness, in favor of what seemed fashionable. I did whatever I could to camouflage the area between my waist and my knees, confident what was there was shameful. Not even my husband’s lovely words of encouragement and praise (yes, praise!) could sway me from declaring my posterior the bane of my existence.
Oh, I’ve seen the trends toward greater acceptance of curvy shapes like mine. I, perhaps like you, have mad respect for the likes of Ashley, Serena, Beyoncè and others who embrace and even celebrate their curves. But, I have watched the reactions, too. Ashley has been publicly shamed for her shape and size. Serena has had to volley hateful comments about her form for as long as I can remember. Beyoncè “needs to put on pants,” according to many commenters (which, by the way, always makes me wonder, “Why? Other artists and athletes consistently wear fewer clothes on stage or while competing, than Beyoncè.”).
I’ve watched these women strut their stuff as if they didn’t care what anyone had to say about how they strut and I have known I could never be as confident as them. I’ll defend them with my dying breath, I’ve promised myself on the inside, but I could never be so bold. The picture of me in the hot pink bikini stayed in the drawer. Until…
Three things have happened recently:
- I’ve crossed over into my fifties. Hear me when I tell you fifty equals freedom. I kid you not. I look around at you women in your twenties and thirties and forties, and you are all so much more free than we were. Seeing how free you are now makes me chuckle on the inside because the world has no idea what she is in for. When you all start crossing over into your fifth decade, we are in for a glorious ride, and I cannot wait. The older I’ve gotten, the bigger my hips and thighs and behind have grown. My doctor is not at all concerned and, the older I’ve gotten the less concerned I’ve become. And when I tell you my husband doesn’t mind, at all, you’ll just have to take my word for it. I love this body. She is beautiful, and she has been very good to me.
- I posted a picture on Instagram of me in a bathing suit. I debated. I really did. But I kept scrolling through those photos and, every time, I stopped at the picture of me in the navy blue suit that I bought for twelve dollars at Marshalls. On clearance. I thought about modesty and wondered if my picture might offend or embarrass someone. I asked H who said with a grin, “That was my favorite suit on you.” I hesitated, because I know how people talk and, honestly, I’d rather not be the root of that kind of conversation. But, when I look at that picture, what I see is truly me. And the me I see? She is free. More than anything, I want other women and men to see that freedom and to let that be the catalyst for celebrating our very own beautiful bodies, exactly as they are. Not as objects, but as works of art. Admirable and wonderfully made.
- Barack and Michelle Obama in Essence magazine. The first time I saw the picture, I saw the very same curves I see on myself when I turn sideways and look in the mirror. And this is the First Lady of the United States of America. There really are no words to convey exactly how this picture speaks to me and, I imagine, to so many of us who are caretakers of that particular curve at the base of our spines and the beautiful contour beneath. I imagine Barack and Michelle receiving the proofs from the editors at Essence and, sitting around with their team, trying to determine which pictures to release to the world, and which to keep to themselves. Maybe Michelle looked at Barack with her hand on this particular picture and said, “What do you think about this one?” And perhaps he responded, “I love the way you look in that dress,” which would have sealed the deal, if it were me. It’s a calculated risk, but a risk just the same. Because people talk. But, more than that, people also need to be set free from being embarrassed by, and at war with their bodies and its very particular curves and lines and ways of inhabiting space in this world.
Let’s pause here to make a quick observation, because some of us might be considering the elements of “elegance” and “class” with regard to this conversation. But, I think, perhaps, there’s a deeper message of subjectivity there. So, let me encourage grace as we think and talk this through together. It’s freedom we’re after, and the key to my freedom may not be the same as someone else’s, you know?
When I saw this picture of Barack and Michelle, I grabbed my phone and pulled up the picture of me on Instagram, in my twelve dollar suit from Marshall’s and I “liked” my very own photo. Then, I went to my drawer and found the photo of me in the hot pink bikini, so I could set her free, too.
Some questions for you: What part/s of yourself have you been fighting with, and why? How free do you feel? How free do you want to be? How much does the “talk” of others influence your ability to be free?
Oh, Friend, I love this. And I love the picture of the FLOTUS and POTUS.
They are so hot, aren’t they? Is that sacrilege? Blasphemy? I don’t care. They are hot.
Oh the stories I could tell about my hatred of physical self…. so nice to hear you are friending your body. Maybe that’s why your new fb profile pic looked to me like you were hugging yourself.
I hadn’t thought about me hugging myself in that picture, but for some reason, that particular image truly appeals to me. I think you’re on to something, Jane.
Sandra Heska King
Love this comment!
I don’t struggle much with my body. Oh, I’m not sure I want to post bathing suit pictures, but I don’t mind wearing them. But I deal with my skin. I’ve had Rosacea for 8 years, and my skin has more inflammation and acne than I ever had as a teenager. I’ve tried many, many things. And I see celebrities post make-up free selfies and think, I would never do that. I would NOT be seen without my make-up to cover it all. Oh, sure, I will drop my girls off to school without it because I don’t have to leave my van. But that’s about it. And when everyone you know on Facebook is selling some miraculous skin care and showing their amazing faces sans concealer, it feels even more like I have a secret to hide. I want to be comfortable in my face as I am in my post-3 babies body.
I’ve only started going out in public, sans makeup, this year. I’d worn foundation like a necessary drug for decades. I had terrible acne as a teenager and, even now (at 52!) my skin breaks out in pimples, which leave scars and make me feel less than confident about going around town—not to mention, social media, egads!—with my bare face. But, I’m getting better at it. I’ve posted a few images of myself without makeup on IG and the world did not split open or fall off its axis. I haven’t worn makeup all summer, except to church on most Sundays and recently, when I taped a fun bible study with Incourage and LifeWay. I think it takes time to really love ourselves, but even more than that, the influence of culture is a beast to overcome. The journey begins, as always, within, doesn’t it?
Such a great writing, thank you…
XOXO! Thank you, Beautiful Sharon!
You’re straight up gorgeous Deidra! Then and now. I’ve admired your frame from the first time I met you at Allume. You wore jeans and a fitted jacket that accentuated all your best parts. Woman, let me tell you how beautifully made you are! This post is everything!
I remember meeting you at Allume. It was one of the highlights of that event for me. I’d wanted to meet you for so very long and then, there you were! Right in front of me! Just as radiant in person as on the screen. There are not words to tell you just how much your friendship has meant to me. YOU are everything!
Also.. a most cherished midlife pregnancy did a number on my mid-section. I have vertical scar from a c-section that split me in two and a bunch of squishy belly love I can’t seem to get rid of. I crossed over into the land of 50 this year. I choose to wear the extra flesh and scar with pride. This body and I have been on a journey. She’s earned my respect.
Yes. My husband says my scarred up belly is a badge of honor. Usually, when he says that, I’m all like, “I guess,” in my head. But, lately, I’m beginning to believe him. Much, mad, beautiful respect, indeed.
I cannot even tell you how much I love this post! YES… I too have found MUCH freedom at 50 and wish I could share it with my 25 year old self! 🙂 LOVE the pictures….of you and the First Couple!!!
Thanks, Karen! Me too. When I look at me on that jet ski, I feel the love for her that she didn’t feel, but I feel it now, as if I were feeling it then. It’s so strange. I was afraid jet ski me had missed her chance at loving herself. But, my love right now, seems somehow, to travel back through time and, when I look at jet ski me, I see that she loved herself then. She just didn’t know it, yet.
Thanks, Deidra, for all of this. I especially appreciate the perspective you bring to the link between 50 and freedom. I’ve even noticed that the relational playing field has leveled itself beautifully — powerful and beautiful young women don’t intimidate me as they would have when I was their age. Like karen below, I wish I could whisper some of this truth to my 20 something self.
Oh, what a powerful thing it is to feel confident. I believe confidence is the true key to freedom, and it is hard won. There is a noticeable internal shift from feeling envious of and intimidated by the success, power, and beauty of others, to having the ability to celebrate and even admire their accomplishments. I hope we start to get it, sooner and sooner. As women, especially, there is nothing more beautiful than when we are FOR one another.
I’m almost there….not quite though. My forties have been good to me. A bolt of heartbreak divided feelings about my body. Then, worried about ‘all the things that they think’ and now, visited the darkest yet so how can I possibly separate the brave and broken woman within from the one who’s wearing a few extra survival carbs. They integrate a little more every day. On the best days I love her well and then, there’s today. Thing is though, I landed here and you reminded me there’s only four years left between me the next level of freedom. Love the pics, thanks for the post!
So glad you can sense the freedom that awaits you, just over the rise of that hill, Marcy. There’s a beautiful passage in the book, “Falling Forward” that I’m going to have to look for and come back here to share with you. It talks about the both/and-ness of this life: joy and pain, happiness and sorrow, comfort and suffering, and even life and death weave together, and how we need both the good and the bad. Integration, yes. I’ll try to find that passage and share it here later.
Found it! The book is called, “Falling Upward,” and now that I’m eight hours away from my original reply to you, I’m wondering if this will be meaningful, but here it is:
“…life is characterized much more by exception and disorder than by total or perfect order. Life, as the biblical tradition makes clear, is both loss and renewal, death and resurrection, chaos and healing at the same time; life seems to be a collision of opposites.” — Richard Rohr
Your’e always stunning, Deidra, and your beauty is layers deep, my friend. From the outside right through to the middle of you, and out the other side. That image of the Obama’s is beautiful. Your bathing suit shots are also beautiful. You’re setting us free with these words, friend, and making me look forward to the freedom you speak of, that’s a bit down the road for me. I have found my 30’s to be a pivotal, revolutionary time in my own soul and mind, I can’t even imagine what comes next…
Thank you for being YOU. As you are. I love you, sister.
It’s an absolute joy to watch you on your journey (does that sound stalker-ish?). You are a beautiful soul, Kris, and I am blessed to know you, and to have worked beside you. All grace, right?
Yes yes… Freedom does come with age… Closing in on 60… I am embracing the softening … The cottege cheese look forming on my thighs ( this was an adjustment) … Now my body is more about being strong… Functional strength … Not so much about the shape. And you look gorgeous!!!!!
Oh, yes. The cottage cheese. And chin hairs. And…well. I just think there are things they should have told us about. 😉
We joined a new gym last week, and I went for my session with the trainer who asked me, “What’s your goal?” I told him what I’ve been telling myself, “I just want to be able to sit down on the toilet and get up on my own for as long as possible.” Functional strength, indeed. And celebration of this one body I’ve been given, exactly as she is. Freeing myself from a number on the scale or a particular jeans size has been the very best thing ever! I don’t always get it right. I slip sometimes and berate my body. But, I’m definitely getting better at loving her.
Once again, my friend, you have written an absolutely beautiful piece of wisdom! I will be 56 in a few weeks and I totally get the freedom thing. I have come to accept my body in the last several years, but the part I struggle with the most is my belly. 7 abdominal surgeries leads to lots of scars and shaky flesh…but it is my flesh and I’m healthier and stronger than I’ve ever been. Thank you this post!!
You and Susan Stilwell are my mentors and role models, Mary. You each live life so freely and full and you are both drop-dead gorgeous!!! I practically drool whenever I see you, ha (too much?)! The truth is, we all struggle with our imperfect bodies in this imperfect world, don’t we? But what a magical thing confidence is! You (and Susan) have that in spades!
Holy crap, you are gorgeous! In BOTH photos. And Michelle is stunning. You go, friend. YOU GO. Why, why, why do we do this to ourselves? And we let others do it do us, too. I look at pictures of my teenaged self and marvel at me. And yet, my mother worried, worried, worried – and sent me to a DIET DOCTOR FOR PILLS. That began what has been a 50 year battle with this amazing, productive, yes. . . LOVELY body of mine that continues to this day, even after losing pounds over the last five years. It’s a tough thing to truly love all of who you are, my friend. Thank you for leading the way.
OH….I SO get this. My self-view was shaped by an off handed comment my grandmother made when I was in the 3rd grade. It took DECADES to move past it!
It doesn’t take much to send us off the deep end, does it? I’m so sorry about those diet pills and the doctor, Diana. All in the name of love, which we practice with fits and starts.
Can I tell you something? I watch you on social media, and you are absolutely glowing. There is something deep behind your eyes that sort of beckons me toward the next decade with a joyful feeling of anticipation. I know life is life and the struggle is real. But you are stunning, in a dreamy sort of way, even in the midst of the day-to-day. You are, indeed, lovely, Pastor Diana Trautwein, and I love you.
Love you madly, Dear Dee.
You are gorgeous!
(Takes one to know one! You and your sassy red shoes!)
Deidra, this picture has been of great discussion on social media. When I first saw it, as a black woman, I raised both arms in victory position. I was like, “that’s a win!”
Your post is excellent and speaks to my same fears. That’s why I stopped taking pics in my 30s. No hot punk bikinis for me. My thighs, my thighs, my thighs.
I’m in my 40s now. Something happened when the dial turned to 40: I fell in love with my faults and fears and trepidations concerning my appearance. Oh it’s not just my backside, I have hamhocks that accompany the “glory”. I stopped wearing pants to hide them. (Plus dressesand skirts give them an opp to breathe????. IJS) But then there’s this as well: I was born with a lazy eye. My face was smushed against my mama’s belly in utero. My nose didn’t develop. I literally have a cabbage patch doll’s nose! So hilarious. But yet, so cute. I say that now in my 40s. I own my fluffiness. I’m content in my thickness.
Yes woman of multiple colors are embracing their curves. That is awesome. It’s way overdue. But when people like FLOTUS and you expose your beauty, the beauty God endowed you with…that gives me life.
Thank you for this. I love the way you write. It’s like you’re talking to yourself, engaging the masses, or whispering to a dear friend.
As for me, I take an eyeliner and add some wings then throw on some graduated fakes lashes so these not so symmetrical eyes can wink that special wink. And when I smile, I crinkle my nose like Samantha from Bewitched just for good measure. Be blessed.
Oh my goodness, Lillian! I am dying to see your beautiful self! Your description of you made me fall head over heels for you, sister! Right here on the page. I love the way you love yourself! Thank you so much for sharing yourself with us. Man, oh man! This is the best!
I love you for writing this post. My belly not being flat bothers me daily. Bleh! Did I just admit that? So, when I donned a red bikini on vacation in Canada, I took my mother-in-law’s advice when I told her I wasn’t really bikini material anymore but it was wearing it to make H happy. She said, “You’re too hard on yourself. Get over it!” I am. And freedom comes but usually at a price.
Your mother-in-law is a wise, wise woman. I KNOW you were fierce in your red bikini! I have no doubt at all.
I’m thinking about the price of freedom. Tell me more about that?
Here’s a commitment I made to myself: I’m buying a bikini for my next beach trip, and I’m gonna wear it!
In the same way we enjoy freedom because of those who have paid the price, we have to do a little battle in our spirit, mind and heart to be free to be ourselves.
Yes! Thanks so much for sharing that insight, Shelly.
Deidra, I love you. I love the way you look. I love that you wrote this and posted those BEAUTIFUL pics of yourself. H has amazingly good taste. When I saw the photo of the Obama’s, my first thought was, “baby’s got back”. I have no idea if that phrase originally came from a good place or a bad place. I have just heard the kids say it around here and it popped into my mind. I really, really like that Michelle Obama was more interested in being in love than in looking like a twig in a dress. I don’t know what goes on in her mind, but she always looks like she’s totally cool with the way God made her. That is an awesome thing in any woman. That we get to see it in our First Lady is extra special. I have always been mystified by people having problems with “big” backsides. It just never has been an issue for me – about my backside or anyone else’s. The part of me that I have contempt for is my tummy. I have to be on medications that make me gain/keep weight. When I was younger, my body always distributed weight evenly no matter how much I gained, so I was “proportional”. Age evidently killed the sense of proportion in my body and now I have people asking me if I’m pregnant. (Tip: I tell the kids over and over, “if a woman isn’t talking about her pregnancy and/or you don’t see the baby coming out of her body, do not talk about/ask about her being pregnant.) Being pregnant is a good thing, but the insinuation that the only reason I should be shaped like this is if I’m having a baby is really hurtful. Why should I have to justify how I look/how I’m shaped to anyone?
Oh, Carolyn! I love this:
“I really, really like that Michelle Obama was more interested in being in love than in looking like a twig in a dress. I don’t know what goes on in her mind, but she always looks like she’s totally cool with the way God made her. That is an awesome thing in any woman. That we get to see it in our First Lady is extra special.”
Yes to all of it! Confidence on display, for all to see. It’s powerful.
Speaking of bellies and weight gain…it’s a real-life thing. My doctor once put her hand on my belly and said, “Hormones.” I run and walk and do yoga and lift weights, but my body has its own ideas of what it wants to do. The best I can do is to keep my heart and lungs strong, and to try to keep flexible, work on my balance, and keep my muscles used to moving and lifting heavy things. When medication is the culprit, it feels like a raw deal. We need the meds to function, but they sort of wreak havoc on our bodies. Finding it in myself to accept the trade-off is sometimes the most difficult work of all. Not every day is easy and you’re absolutely right: no one should have to justify how she is shaped, to anyone. Your advice to the kids is golden, and should be printed on fliers and dropped from the sky.
Debra A Gale
You LOOK STUNNING in both photos. Beautiful & Brave, and the most important one; HAPPY! Yes to the freedom of our fifties. Why cant we have the same eyes to see our beauty in our youth. Its so clear now. Thank you for the conversation. Lets keep having it so the views can be changed sooner.
Thanks, Debra! That girl in the hot pink bikini was hot, but she didn’t know it—so busy nitpicking at herself. Alas. Happiness is freedom, isn’t it?
Dolly @ Soulstops.com
You look beautiful in both photos and your sense of freedom is inspiring. I’m inching toward that same decade and I really pray I can experience more freedom. Celebrating you, my friend.
You know my heart so I confess when I read your post, I also thought I wish we could celebrate all the different forms God made us: whether curvy, twiggy, or in between. It breaks my heart when I hear people criticizing women for being too “whatever” (fill in the blank)…I too have wished I looked differently and my sweet husband (like your H) has also said he loves me as I am and so I am learning to believe him. I wonder if it is one of the evil one’s ploys to get each of us to look at someone else and wish we looked like (i.e., whatever is not like us).
I agree. Whatever our form, it is worth celebrating. And if I knew what in the world it might take for women to stop critiquing one another, I’d gladly pay that price. (Might have to put it on layaway, but I’d pay it!)
Also? Why do we have to work so hard to believe it when the people who love us most tell us we’re beautiful?
Dolly @ Soulstops.com
Oh, I can’t say why it is so hard to believe for someone else, but I know why in part why it is so hard for me and I write about part of my journey in 7 Days of Soul Care…I also believe the enemy of our soul keeps whispering that lie to us …and I keep asking God for the grace to believe fully what He says…many blessings to you and H 🙂 This could be a whole conversation….
Sandra Heska King
My land alive, sister. You rock both those suits. I haven’t worn a swimsuit for two years. I did find a couple on sale at Macy’s recently… because Florida. But they still have the tags on.
I totally love the title of this post and the fact that you wrote it. I’m sliding toward my 70’s and have not reached your level of freedom. The girls are way too big, and I’m very conscious of them not behaving even when I buy them expensive houses. I hate that my waist band slides up to meet them. I’m self-conscious of cleavage and envy those who apparently aren’t.
My belly is an apple, and I can’t blame pregnancy, though it has seen several surgeons. And my booty is shrinking so that I don’t even hardly know what to wear any more. The other day my daughter who was riding in a golf cart behind me walking laughed–told me I looked so young there (top), there (middle), but there (bottom), I looked like an old lady. I’ve been googling “what to wear with a flat butt.” Seriously.
Mostly I’m angry with myself for not taking better care of this body, for taking it for granted. I don’t run, seldom walk, don’t lift weights and don’t do yoga or any other exercise for more than a few days at a time–though I do make many trips up and down stairs and am well able to lug heavy objects more easily than others my age. Well, some. Some are in much better shape.
I’ve lost 13 pounds recently as a result of simply eating better and discovering that my body thanks me for dispensing with so many carbs. Maybe I’d feel more comfortable with myself if I was doing the right things to take care of myself.
Then there are those dang ugly barnacles and skin tags compliments of my daddy’s genes. But we won’t go there.
You make me brave, Deidra.
I am madly in love with this comment. And with you.
Our selves and our bodies sure do have relationship stuff, don’t we? I was reading your words, Sandra, and I could see you in a swimsuit, and the image in my head was absolutely beautiful. Have you been to visit swimsuits4all.com? At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, or like I’m part of their affiliate program (I am not—don’t even think they have one), I want to gently suggest you take a peek. I believe you may find some freedom there, even if you don’t actually buy anything from them. Looking at the women on that website gave me a bit of freedom, for sure.
So, here’s the thing with us shorter women who have short waists: there isn’t much space between the top and bottom to distinguish where one starts and the other stops. I’ve always had small breasts and, even so, my waist band often rises up to meet them—because of my short waisted-ness. OK. Enough about that.
Lately, I’ve taken the pressure off myself to get to the gym on a regular schedule. I’ll pick it up again some day, I’m sure, because my body yells at me when I keep it still for too long. But, I realized I was badgering myself for not going and I decided to reset. I’ll go the gym when my body asks to go. I’ll walk when it wants to walk. I’ll yoga when my body says it’s time. I think our bodies are brilliant guides for this kind of stuff. I’m not trying to get into the Olympics. I just want to go to the bathroom by myself for as long as possible. 😉
Bottom line, sister? You are absolutely gorgeous. I am praying praying praying you take the price tags off those suits and put them to good use. Strut your stuff, friend, because people will be enamored of your vibe. I guarantee it!
What a timely post, Deidra! And I cosign re: all the angst of earlier years re: body shape and body parts not adhering to a strict, conventional image of the perfect body. So sad that we waste so much of our youth straining toward an ideal we were never meant to attain. I agree that our 50s bring a far deeper acceptance an understanding of, and reveling in, the body that we are now privileged to call our own. To you and to FLOTUS, I give kudos for embracing the shape God blessed you with. Cheers to our curves!
It is a privilege, isn’t it? We are fearfully and wonderfully made, and we are deeply loved. Every single one of us. It’s a beautiful!
This spoke right into my heart and into that special new place in my heart where my daughter lives. May we teach our daughters the beauty of curves from the very beginning so they will always love their hot pink bikini selves. Thank you for sharing this. It’s all gorgeous. Like you.
Thanks, Lisa-Jo Baker. You’re a woman to behold, for sure. 😉
I just wanted to chime in and say it’s so cool to hear women close to the” Big 5-0″ talk about body appreciation. Deidra, Michelle is the bomb.com in every way.. what a great example for womaness all around! I’ll be 50 in a little over hmmm….395 days… And it’s so cool to hear you women appreciate one another talk about beauty, and talk about the love for your body. I’ve grown much from my 20’s and how I felt and I am proud today…(Hubby’s comments help some too!)❤ Nice talk, ladies…..!
Michelle is, indeed, the bomb.com. And Happy Birthday to you! You should celebrate from now until the actual day!
What the heck? I can’t imagine how you could look at those photos and not see anything other than sheer gorgeousness!!! You look amazing in both!
Well, thank you! And, isn’t that the point? We look and our beautiful selves and somehow determine they do not measure up to whatever new, impossible standard has been raised.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so very much.
(By the way, my maiden name was Riggs. I smile whenever I see your name pop up on Twitter.)
Thank you, so very much, for reading and commenting!
(It’s always fun to find another Riggs! YAY!)
Amy Boucher Pye
I kept hoping you’d post your hot pink bikini photo and the Marshalls $12 clearance job too. You look fab!
Haha! I admit: I debated about whether or not to post them but, there they are! Thanks so much for the encouragement, Amy!
You have no idea how much I needed to read this right now. I am 51 and about to relaunch my opera career as a mezzo-soprano, after 27 years in the opera world as a soprano. What I’m going to do hasn’t been done before, and I’ve been alternating between thinking how cool this is, and thinking how loony toons I am. My body is much bigger than it was when I started in this business. My stomach is far from flat, my arms are big, my breasts are huge. I teach my students about being kind to themselves, and I need to take that in more myself. I love my body. It makes beautiful music and I feel great doing it. I want to accept it the way it is and stop judging it with the eyes of opera house directors. It’s beautiful, no matter what any opera director thinks. I am beautiful and I am brave. Thank you.
Yes yes yes! You are SO beautiful!!! All the best to you as relaunch your dream. It’s going to be so fantastic—just like you!
Deidra, I seem to think this after every post you write: you are my hero. Wisdom, love, freedom. It’s all there, every time.
I recently turned The Jesus Age (ahem…33) and after two babies I have boobs that were never there before and a squishy belly that illustrates muffin top no matter how strong my core is. I’m less than ten years into trying to understand this version of my body, but I’ve finally accepted there is no going back. And I was recently diagnosed with a mild case of lupus; I’ve mostly come to terms with my permanently flushed cheeks (they’re rosy, right!?) but the thinner, finer hair on my head is my latest Not Good Enough focus. God forgive me, but I’m like, “i can see the merits of the hijab!” I have googled “white girl weave” (????) and “how to tie a head scarf” though I imagine most people don’t even notice.
When I see those photos of you and virtually any photo of the Obamas ever, I truly start to tear up. There’s something deeply moving about seeing the truth of people in a photo—which can so easily be Photoshopped and filtered away—and I am inspired.