“I had a subscription to Seventeen magazine when I was 12 and can remember trying to recreate looks in my bathroom mirror.
Wishing my hair curled like hers, my eyes wider, legs slimmer.
I strived to attain that perfection on the page.
I always considered myself confident but the physical comparisons I made between myself and others never really left me.
25 years and 2 kids later, I find myself bombarded with images of physical perfection. Specifically, an image of a mom holding a new baby surrounded by her other 3 or so kids.
She was fit, ripped, and had a caption reading, “What’s your excuse?”
And I found myself wondering that too.
Then Dani called and wanted to take my picture 5 weeks after baby #2 was born sans makeup.
Except this project stuck with me and I couldn’t help but wonder, “What if I said ‘yes’?”
What if rather than complaining about the Photoshopped images we are bombarded with each day, I was part of showing the real woman.
Who loves her family, herself and her body.
The body that pulled me out of a 4-year illness with nothing but self-exploration, nutrition and herbal supplements.
The body that helped turn a 100-year-old run down house into a home.
The body that created carried and delivered 2 amazing children.
Children who are completely unique and their own.
A daughter that I hope never knows the word diet. That picks clothes because they express her individuality not hide her “problem areas.”
A son that will see a woman’s smile and want to know her heart and what it feels like to be loved so completely by another human being.
Who won’t choose where to look for that love based on a jean size.
What’s my excuse?
I don’t have one.
I live, I love, and I appreciate my body.
Every pound, every inch, split ends, wrinkles, freckles, and cellulite.
I can say this now because I saw how beautiful I can look.
Without the mask.
Without the smoky eye.
Dani showed me how beautiful I was.
Just as I am.”