Finding My Glorious and Beauty Again

I turned thirty-four on Monday, and I found my beauty again yesterday morning. I stood before the mirror in the bathroom, going through my morning routine before work. Done with brushing my teeth and washing my face, on a whim, I then divested myself of every stitch of clothing before pulling down my hair to comb it out for the morning. As I did, I found something. A few somethings.

I found a sultry tilt to my head as I combed through my mahogany hair, now long again.

I found the seductive tumble and fall of my hair over my shoulders, falling  over the left side of my face like Jessica Rabbit’s famous red tresses.

I found the curve from my waist to my hip, not as sharp or hour-glassy as it used to be but still there.

I found the line of my jaw still strong, though I had sworn it was disappearing, much to my chagrin.

I was plainly surprised to find these things, these parts of me–to find me— beautiful, to think myself glorious after months of feeling utterly to the contrary. I was very surprised.

I saw my own beauty.

I found my glorious.

And I smiled at me.




Stones in My Belly

Today, I sat in the dressing room of my favorite store, surrounded by lovely dresses that I had tried on. Beautiful bold colors and lovely silhouettes. However, I wasn’t excited or delighted by these lovely frocks. Quite the opposite. Instead, I felt disappointed. Not in the dresses but in myself. Here I am, at the height of my purposeful activeness, and yet when I slipped on my favorite style of dress from my favorite store, in my usual size, I found myself going, “Umm…I don’t know how comfortable this feels. It’s a bit tight here and I thought I had more movement there before.” In other words, I had to go up a dress size today. Again. That was devastating for me. The number the on the scale has gone up rather than down, so much so that I have removed the offending appliance from the bathroom. I am doing all that I can outside of outright depriving myself, or at least trying to: eating better/more healthily, drinking more water and fewer sodas, and exercising regularly as well as increasing my overall activeness. Yet there I sat, utterly disappointed and not wanting to leave that tiny room even though I felt mocked by the dresses hanging on its walls.

All I could think was: Is this what hard work gets me? I understand that bodies have fluctuations and balances and blah blah blah. But I’m TRYING. I’ve been trying for the past year and a half. My weight has gone up almost five pounds since March and, when you’re 5’2, five pounds can make a real difference, believe me. What the $@#&?! I’m working out every day, cutting back on the stuff I enjoy but know isn’t wholly good for me, for what?! 

I was (and still am) pretty frustrated because all of this feels like a poor return for hard work. Since having my daughter 3.5 years ago, I have gone from 122lbs. to 139lbs., from a dress size 6 to an 8 to a 10 (today). I won’t lie. I am ticked off! And here’s the part that makes me even more upset. I had a wonderful workout time this morning. I pushed myself to heavier weights on the machines and I ran hard. I was sweaty but strong and I felt good. Then I went from warrior glorious and feeling proud of myself to wanting to hide behind hoodies and pajama pants and the walls of my house.

Now, I know a few things. I know that feelings are irrational most of the time. I know that going up to 139lbs won’t seem like much to some people, might still even fall into the “skinny” range in some minds, but it’s a big deal to me. I know that working with weights build muscle and muscle weighs more than fat. I am a human being who can think and reason and, rationally, I know all of these things. But I was devastated today. You are more than welcome to consider me overly-emotional, vain, basic, fishing for compliments, whiny, what have you. And, if that is what you think, here is something that you need to know.


Part of the reason that I write this blog is because I am wanting to be more honest about how I approach and write about life. So here it is. I really don’t care if you think I am making a fuss over nothing. I am not asking you to fix this. I am not here asking you to make me feel better. This is just where I am right now, the place that I am trying to fight (and write) my way out of. One of the things that is sitting pretty heavily on me is that I will be visiting my childhood home in a month and, if I have gained weight/inches/whatever, I can guarantee you that someone in my family will notice and comment on it. My family members are experts at throwing out seemingly innocuous comments that bore right down in the center of me. As a dear friend pointed out, “There is a reason they [family] know how to push your buttons. They are the ones who installed them.” Jabs about weight and physical appearance have always been a thing in my extended family, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t hurt. It did. It still does.

It’s times like this that I try to recall the words of favorite authors, lessons that they have taught that I have tried to weave into my own life and mental/spiritual/emotional practices. Both of the quotes that came to mind today are from Lysa TerKeurst. The first is one that is threaded throughout most of her books and one that I hold close to my heart during my processes, particularly those physical and emotional. Getting healthy and strong is not something that happens immediately. It takes time and work and is often fraught with stumbles and failures. Perfection is not a thing that happens but progress is.


A year and a half are definitely “slow steps”. Many days when exercise and healthy eating are accomplished through determination over motivation. Slow transformations of my mind/thinking as well as my body. Imperfect progress is the perfect terminology for this, I think. I am not being very gracious with myself, I admit. I have had thoughts and ideas flit through my head that are definitely not healthy and could lead to a myriad of problems if I attempted them, which would only destroy everything that I am endeavoring to build in this (albeit temporary) temple of flesh and bone and blood. But I won’t do it. I won’t. I will keep going, step by step, day by day, decision by decision, small victory by small victory. Stones build a wall, not boulders, after all.

The second quote that I found popping into my head today was this one:


So I decided to give myself some encouragement today, to try to shift my perspective from one of disappointment and criticism. So this is what I posted, sans all the details that I gave you above, because that wasn’t the point. This was:

Because the brain weasels are on a rampage and I’m feeling rather low on the body image spectrum today, it’s time for a perspective shift:

*My strong body can get me out of bed at night when my daughter needs me.

*My strong body can walk around all day and play with my girl with less back pain than it used to have.

*My beautiful body can hold and cuddle my daughter and husband close when they need me.

*My strong body can bend, stretch, stand, lift, and carry to help keep my home in order.

*My strong body can push itself to be stronger and better and has gotten to a point where I find myself saying, “I can do a little more.”

*My courageous body can help my girl avoid the pitfalls that I am constantly climbing up from and learn to love herself unconditionally, whatever shape/size/silhouette she is.

So, while I am disappointed, I will keep working. I will keep getting stronger. I will keep doing what I can to build up my healthy in body, mind, and spirit. I will keep the tags on my dresses for now (as they were bought for a specific occasion in a few weeks) and we will see if things change. If not, though, I will still wear those gorgeous colors and beautiful silhouettes and determine to strut my stuff as proudly as I may.

Reflections on Thirty-Three

Author’s Note: Today, I turn 33 years old. It has definitely been an interesting three and a half years since my daughter was born and life changed in a big way. I think that I have learned more about myself in these few short years than in many others combined throughout my lifetime. I see myself differently, am taking better care of myself, am learning to love others better, and live my faith and purpose more honestly and, I hope, effectively. I do more than like myself at 33. I truly believe that I have finally learned to love myself.

= = = =

My form is a thing of beauty.

Take all your definitions of allure

And weigh them in your hands,

As I make mine my own.

Breasts, waist, hips, legs,

Arms, stomach, shoulders, back.

All I work to make strong.

This I do for myself,

For the good of my body as well as my soul.

To be strong enough in body to hold the skies on my shoulders

But soft enough in soul to hold joy in the sway of my hips

And grace in the reach of my hands.

My mind is a work of art.

Growing and challenged still,

Deeply considering and intense.

My intelligence has not been silenced by time,

But continues to grow and refine with new challenges.

My art is a meeting of thought and feeling,

Pulled together, chiseled, and shaped.

I share my art with a desire for hope,

Encouragement, uplifting, and joy.

I write to challenge to love, to kindness, to compassion.

I write to create refuge, worlds in which to escape,

To send out words that my own voice might find difficult to speak.

I sing to birth joy. I dance to proclaim free. I dress to cry beauty.

I write and post and mail to connect and pull threads together.

In life. In community. In love. In friendship. In chosen family.

I am a being made unqiue and becoming uniquer still.

The older I get, the finer I am becoming.

You should rejoice. I’d love for you to rejoice.

If you don’t, though, that’s your choice.

But, most of all, I just want you to smile with me.

The Woman in the Mirror, Part 3

Author’s Note: If you do not want to think of me in any other context than my sweet, mild side, you may not want to read this. Fair warning!

The woman who stares back out from my mirror, I have seen several sides of her. I have seen her soft and wise and feminine. I have seen her coy and coquettish. But, tonight, I saw a different side of her, one that I really like but don’t see as often anymore. As such, I am always struck when I do see it.

The woman who stared back at me in the bathroom window was raw and comely, absolute blood-pumping sex appeal. Goals and all of that set aside, she loves her body, loves to take care of it, sees herself as beautiful, desirable, and rather revels in it. I was taken aback a bit at the glance she gave me. That smirk pursed and curled her lips as she shook out her hair after settling the form-fitting black tank top over her torso, the fabric clinging in all the right places. It was almost as if she was daring me:

Say it. You know you want to. And it’s true besides.

What? That you’re hot and totally full of rawr (and other words that I probably won’t write down but definitely list off in my head and leave to others’ imaginations)?

 Yes. Yes, you are.

She just kept on smiling, even blowing me a kiss as she pulled on my favorite top, the black lace panels sitting cunningly off her shoulders. My shoulders?

Yes. You are.

Yes. I am.


Inventorying Your Beauties

  1. What color makes you feel beautiful when you wear it?
    1. A color that makes me feel beautiful is yellow. I feel sunshiny yet poised, and it feels like my own personal light is shining through the cracks. One of my favorite dresses is a lovely, 60s-esque yellow, white, and grey striped pencil dress with a belted empire waist. Love the way it makes me look and feel!
    2. I also love basic black and grey. They are understated and elegant and they give me the chance to be creative with my hair, shoes, and accessories. A little pop of the right color can do wonders for a look and for this woman’s head-holding and hip-swaying.
  2. What is one of your physical features that you think is the most beautiful?
    1. My hands. They are small and petite and delicate. I love it when they are held, caressed, and kissed. A friend in high school used to exclaim over how small they are and say how a man was going to fall in love with me for my hands alone.
  3. What is it about your heart that is beautiful?
    1. I have a deep-seated desire to help the hearts of others. I want them to know that they are thought of and cared for even when all they feel points to otherwise. I want to be able to give someone’s horrible day some life, light, and a silver lining.
  4. What is your definition of true beauty?
    1. I will be the first to admit when someone is physically beautiful and to call them so. But, for me, what makes someone truly beautiful in the deeper sense of the word is how they treat others. I am not saying that a beautiful person is calm and graceful all the time and lets everything just roll off. No, we are all human. A person of true beauty is one who lovingly holds space for the hearts of others, speaks truth and life, and does their best to treat each other as well as they can in every situation, even if it means stepping away from said situation. I cannot tell you just how much people like this have done for me in my lifetime, how they have saved and buoyed up my heart and spirit. I am truly thankful for the space they have held and the beautiful souls they have shared with me.

One of my favorite Scripture verses

The Woman in My Mirror

There is a woman who lives in my mirror and, sometimes, when I’m not paying attention, she will peek out. And, sometimes still, when I look back, I will catch her and I will freeze. It’s like turning and finding yourself face-to-face with a deer. You don’t want to move for fear that it will start and disappear and the beauty will leave you. So you sit there, breathing as shallowly as you can, your breath silvering out before you in the cold. That is how I felt looking at my own reflection yesterday.

The woman who looked back at me didn’t look like me. She was too…lovely, too refined, had too elegant a line to her jaw, too graceful a curve to her cheeks, and almond shape to her eyes. There was a quality about her that made me not want to breathe, for fear she would wisp away and be just a dream. She followed my movements, mirrored them, and for the longest moment to date, I kept her with me. We even smiled at each other a little. And then, I blinked and she was gone, and I saw myself through my own eyes again, as I always do. For a few seconds that felt like hours, I was breathless. Breathless with the sight of her and with the missing of her.

I looked for her again tonight but I couldn’t find her. All I could find was a woman tired and worn, desperately looking for a bit of beauty in a busy day. And I found it, just not in the mirror tonight. But you know what? I know she’s there. And I know she’s me. And, in those moments, I get to see myself differently. I don’t know just whose eyes I am seeing through then but I am grateful for them and for the reminder.

Reblog: Weird Boobs and Little Wieners

I love this gentleman’s perspective on the gorgeous treasure and gifts that our bodies are, no matter what shape or what have you. It’s very honest and very edifying, no matter what view you may hold on relationships and sex. Please do check it out.

Weird Boobs and Little Wieners.


Last Friday, I had my six-week postpartum check-up and, as I have been recouping from giving birth, I find that I have been dealing with a lot of my self-image issues all over again. Dealing with them while you’re pregnant and changing is very different, I find, than dealing with them after the fact.

I just spent nine plus months changing utterly, hormones and a growing human being undoing all the work that I’ve done to my body over the past few years. My pregnancy developed in such a way that I wasn’t able to keep up with my exercises during the latter part of it. So I’ve lost the muscle tone, strength, and, stamina that I used to have, thanks to bellydance, and now I find myself looking in the mirror and wondering if I’ll ever look (or, rather, feel)  like “myself” again. I’m back down to my pre-pregnancy weight already but I still feel…off, one might say. I know that what is “normal” is what is NOW, but self-image – at least mine – isn’t one of those things that naturally conforms to what life is right now.

A couple of weekends ago, I went shopping with my mother and we went to JCP. I was a little disappointed with the selection but I did luck out and find three dresses that I (a. really like and (b. make me feel like a million bucks. They also provide incentive for me to get back into dance, back into shape, now that I am greenlit for exercise by my doctor.

The song below is one that strikes a chord with me because I have always thought of myself as, while not necessarily ugly, at least unpretty. I usually sing this song with one of my best and dearest friends who understands my feelings better than most. Lately, it has been resurfacing in my mind as I look at myself in the mirror. It also reminds me that I did find a place and a point in my life where I thought of myself as beautiful. I want to get back there.

I know that it, perhaps, has little to do with how I look but I also know that it’s my own journey through and to my own self-image, a healthy one.