a few months ago i had a profound moment. one of those where the skies stand still and the oceans silence. everything quieted and i heard very, very clearly something from God that i keep going back to.
He said “i could have given you cancer, but i chose to give you this”
what is this? this is icky and dark and nearly as painful if not more than my seasons of post-partum. it’s very real and very much a bigger part of my life than i’d like.
i have self image issues.
body issues. whatever you want to call it that sounds so… simple and so vague. sounds like nothing – but the truth is that it has changed me and it has changed my thinking and my daily routine. and not for the good. it’s changed my desire to see people (friends even), it’s put a dark curtain over my eyes. blocking joy and blocking light. it’s turned me into a person/friend/mother/wife i don’t like.
but He said, “i could have given you cancer, but i chose to give you this“. i was standing in my bathroom when i heard it. when i felt it. immediately i began to weep. uncontrollably. quickly i told my mom and sister and close friend, the few people with who i share this season with. i knew i needed to share it with someone, to affirm its truth. i didn’t want to forget as long as i live what HE did for me. that HE chose this for me over a life threatening illness that has taken more than one precious young mama i know. in that regard He said to me, “be grateful, in all things.”
i would be lying if i said my life changed that warm summer day. that since then, i’ve been confident and bursting with joy. no, of course not. but it has been a constant on my mind. when my friend rachel came to visit, she forced me in front of the camera. yes forced. she spent the rest of the evening drilling into my head how ‘beautiful i am’. and when i saw the images i saw a gorgeous and amazing little gift (my quinny) then i saw myself. i saw disappointment and grief. i was mourning the person/the body/the spirit of a woman lost in years of PPD and life changes, and tiny events that together form this new person, this new body.
lately i’ve been asking myself why i hide? why i stay secluded in this shell. that’s not me, that’s not the girl i feel like. yet i look in the mirror and i don’t recognize this person, this body. i still feel like the girl who loved her size four GAP jeans that were a bit loose. i still feel like the young mama that wore a two piece bathing suit to the beach with my then two-year-old son. i still feel like the girl that obsessively counted her points and wouldn’t dare go over. inside that confident and spirited person sits dormant.
and alas i’m not, i’m not that girl. i’m a mama of three now, who barely has a moment to herself. i’m certainly not anywhere near those size fours. yet i’m a hard-working artist. i’m a loving wife that sadly feels at times she’s failed her husband. also though? i’m exhausted. exhausted of hiding from this disordered way of thinking. exhausted from trying so hard NOT to love myself as i am. just plain, exhausted.
am i any less creative as a size 14? am i any less talented? am i less of a mother, of a wife? of a friend? am i any less to the Lord?
i have felt such a block in my blogging. i’ve hidden behind my insecurities, behind my children, behind my camera. and i think i finally know why. i think because i have disliked this person for so long i’ve not felt at peace to be me.
so here i am world. this is me. flaws and all. i am a work, a huge work in progress, but i miss this space and i miss the me that i know is in there. and if you see me on the street, if i come to you feeling down about myself or thinking negatively – will you remind me what He said? remind me that He chose this for me? that i am actually blessed with this struggle?
i am here to introduce myself to you all. hi, my name is angie and i am flawed. i am a size 14 but i refuse to continue to define myself by it. i refuse to waste even a day more hiding behind the shame i have brought to myself. i refuse to continue this torment.
and it’s with a terrified yet hopeful heart i vow to show you me. to allow myself the freedom to say ‘it’s okay to not be a size four again‘. and ‘it’s okay to be photographed‘. and ‘it’s okay to love myself‘.
because as my sister says, “be the best you that you can be no matter where you are” – size four or twenty four. i hope you will do this with me.
and thank you rachel for the photos. i sincerely cherish every. single. one.