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I Believed the Lie

A nude female painted in watercolor

"Growing up, my mother was the most beautiful woman I knew. All my friends had crushes on her, heads turned when she walked.

But in her eyes it was never enough. Not thin enough, pretty enough, tanned enough, blonde enough. I watched her starve herself and cover up with makeup every day. And I grew up thinking - if she looks like that, and it isn’t enough, what chance do I ever have? That was where the body dysmorphia battle began.

I never looked like the other girls. Boyish build with a round tummy, flat chested, frizzy hair, no confidence. I waited for the boobs to come; they never showed up. The tummy stayed soft. I started to wear makeup. Straighten my hair. Watch what I ate. Obsess over my reflection and the endless imperfections I saw.

I believed the lie I’d whispered since I was 11 - I’m not enough. I was convinced no man could ever find my naked, natural self beautiful. I smiled and said thank you to compliments, never believing a word. I saw no beauty.

Then my daughter was born. And everything changed.

My body grew a human. A perfect, beautiful girl. My tummy kept her safe and cushioned for 40 weeks and 3 days - and because it was soft all my life, I had no stretch marks. My tiny despised boobs filled with more milk than she could drink and sustained her for over 7 months.

I have a new responsibility now, to this precious girl who will grow up watching me. What will she see? What will she hear me say about my body? Am I going to allow history to repeat itself, and ruin her self image before she even has a chance to bloom? Or can I break the cycle and teach her to celebrate her body, to nourish and love herself, even if she is not built like the other girls?

I will never have boobs or washboard abs. I am never going to be a male fantasy with feminine curves, flowing blonde locks, and a tiny waist. But I love my body for all that it’s done for me, for the beautiful life it grew and carried, for being my home and my safe place.

I don’t look like the other girls, and that’s okay, because I look like me. And I am enough."


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