September Series: What Makes a Woman Be{YOU}tiful? Jelly Bean Journals Guest Blog

First off, hello to all The Tall Mom fans! I love this blog as much as you do and it’s an extreme honor to be a guest blogger! As you already know, The Tall Mom promotes the concept of strong self acceptance and positive body image. Every time she writes about The Head Wench or her Be{You}tiful message I relate on the most basic and feminine levels.

I’ve been aware of how I look as far back as my earliest memories. My mom prided herself on having clean and put together kiddos. So, my clothes always matched my jewelry, shoes and hair ties. My hair was always done. My clothes were always in good condition and color matching was drilled into my inner most being.

20160831_193436

Fast forward to middle school when I started catching comments about my acne covered skin. This was a far cry from all of the “aren’t you pretty?” attention I received from others during elementary school. I quickly learned to cover my imperfections with copious amounts of concealer, foundation, and powder. I also wore my hair literally IN my face to hide.

While learning to be ashamed of my skin, I also grew breasts in what seemed overnight. My boobs became a source of double embarrassment when girls started tearing me down and teenage boys started calling me “Chesty” instead of Chelse. These same boys would come to the gym after school to watch me run during practices. I had a front row seat to middle school body shaming. I quickly learned the expectation to hide my flaws and be judged by my looks. Pretty mattered.
When it came to body weight, however, I was never really that self-conscious. I was in organized sports from the time I was 3-years-old, clear through college. I was always active and maintained a healthy weight. I specifically remember conversations with my mom and dad about body type and how mine would never be the same as other girls. They helped me understand that certain frames carry weight differently. They made it clear that there would always be somebody taller, shorter, thinner, and thicker than me. This sound advice was true then and still is!

Here is the funny thing: even though I wasn’t a scale watcher, I didn’t realize how uncomfortable I was in my own skin until I became comfortable. Although I believed and listened to my parents, in some ways, I continued to carry that pressure of needing to be meticulously put together, the stigma of blotched skin, and those chest ridiculing voices through my twenties.

pretty-job

Then, when we decided to start a family, it happened. I truly felt stunning during the second trimester of my first pregnancy. I was suddenly proud of my capable body and completely awe struck with the baby growing inside me. My husband looked at me with a new sense of wonderment and my hormones heightened my libido. I realized, for the first time in my life, that it wasn’t my “job” to look pretty, just as The Progressive Parent perfectly put it.

img_2892

I could just “BE” because I was good enough and that made me feel like a true “Bad A” woman! I could honor my body and respect it’s capableness. I could show off my extra curves and be proud of the vessel that would not only carry me through this earthside journey, but create new life. I finally believed that my husband found me to be gorgeous no matter the external shape I took. I developed a healthy respect and appreciation for all of my physical attributes and those nasty messages reinforced by MY Head Wench went packing.

I had arrived and I wasn’t just pretty. The pressure was gone, the stigma evaporated, and there were no more critical voices; not because I was pregnant, but because the experience helped me sincerely believe in my own worth and beauty from deep within. For the first time, I felt authentically beautiful in my own skin.

 

Chelse is a blogger and co-founder of Jelly Bean Journals where she writes all things sweet and sour about being a mommy.

img_9284
Photo Credit: Boka Images (www.bokaimages.com)