Welcome to the I Love Me! Carnival!
This post was written for inclusion in the I Love Me! Carnival hosted by Amy at Anktangle. This carnival is all about love of self, challenging you to lift yourself up, just for being you.
Please read to the bottom to find a list of submissions from the other carnival participants.
I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.
~Henry David Thoreau
We went pumpkin patching today and took lots of photos. After we returned home, I began looking through them and was trying to find my family around a shot of a chunky lady’s behind when I realized that chunky booty was mine. Was it really that big? Whoa.
The me with post partum depression probably would have curled up in a ball with a pint of ice cream to sooth my mean inner monologue. I used to make myself feel badly about my body and having PPD brought all of those voices back up in me.
When I was young, I abused my body by starving myself until I would faint. I smoked cigarettes, drank diet cokes, and exercised in excess. My health was horrible, but I got comments all the time about how great I looked. I didn’t feel good inside both physically and emotionally.
I had had short times in the past when I allowed myself to enjoy my body for the pleasure it gave me and felt the power of its strength. I never felt that I deserved to enjoy my body for long, though. I was supposed to find faults. Search them out and dwell on them until I could be make myself better. I had to prove I was worthwhile by appearing pretty and healthy. It had little to do with who I was inside.
Then I gave birth and everything changed.
All of those moments I had allowed in the past before I stomped them down with negative self-talk came rising up and swamped out anything else. I was flying high in the afterglow of birth. I had done it! It felt so right to inhabit this body. It felt true to love myself. I had no thoughts of self-negation. And this lasted for quite a long time.
Every time I looked at my belly, I remembered the power of my muscles as they squeezed and relaxed. I looked at my pelvis and vulva and remembered how they had birthed a baby. My breasts fed my children. My legs and arms carried them and supported me. I loved my body!
Now it is five years and four births later. I still love my body and my Self. I’m still working on unconditional acceptance, but it has really turned into writing over old passages in my book that I’m only reading by rote. I don’t really believe the ugly lies I used to tell myself.
I look at my body with sadness because I have not treated it well. Instead of starving as I did while younger, I’ve been feeding it. I’ve been stuffing up the holes to prevent the scary stuff from flooding in. I was too afraid to face the PPD for a long time, so I would eat to calm the pain. And now that I no longer feel the pain, it has become a habit. I still want to reach for a brownie when I have any big emotions. I’m a little afraid to let the habit go in case it allowed some hidden depression to sneak in.
But, I’m tired of living my life running from fire to fire. I’m willing to let it all burn, if it means freedom from this habit formed from fear. I embrace the darkness and the light these days and that means continuing to peel back the layers, examine and hug the new raw spots, and peel again.
Fears are like layers. Or maybe they’re like parfait. Everybody loves parfait.
I find that after going through both an unformed personhood, birthing of new persons, falling into PPD, and coming through it all alive, that I can love my body unconditionally. I can accept all of it (including the delusion about and reality of my booty size) see the parts that make me squirmy, accept those with compassion, and be motivated to change without letting go of that love.
So, I am going to do something that scares me. I’m going to share the photo I have lovingly entitled, “Pumpkin Butt.” Because I can look at this booty and know how I shaped it. I have formed this body around me with love, pain, fear, birth, death, passion, pain.
And I would not change a thing about the wonderful space I am in right now. Some of it is dark and some of it is brilliant. I embrace it all unconditionally.
I love my pumpkin butt.
*Update: my husband deleted the original Pumpkin Butt out of kindness. Whoops! This one is just as uncomfortable for me as I view my other body parts, though. Score!
Thank you for reading this post from the I Love Me! Carnival. Please take some time to read the contributions from the
other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by the afternoon of October 28th with all the carnival links.)
- The Art of Being Thoughtful – Becky at Old New Legacy likes that she is mostly thoughtful but wants to become more thoughtful. She shares a story that demonstrates that giving gifts doesn’t have to be expensive.
- I love me (and running)! – Sheryl of Little Snowflakes writes about her new love of running and how it has helped her learn to love herself!
- For the Love of Moe – Valerie at Momma in Progress shares her thoughts on a body forever changed, but forever loved.
- Where I Find My Worth – Sarah at Parenting God’s Children shares how finding her worth in worldly things always falls short.
- Oh Yeah, I’m Cool – Tree at Mom Grooves shares her very favorite gift and the thing she most wants to pass on to her daughter.
- Loving – Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis talks about some of the things she loves about herself – some easily, and some by choice for the sake of healing.
- caught in a landslide – jaqbuncad of wakey wakey, eggs and bakey! shares a list of reasons why zie loves hir body.
- I Love Me! – A Rampage of Appreciation! – Terri at Child of the Nature Isle stops waiting for anyone else to tell her she is wonderful and goes on a rampage of appreciation for herself!
- Raising Healthy Daughters – In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, Kate Wicker offers tips to pass on a healthy self-image to the young ladies in our care.
- Unexpected Benefits of a Healthy Pregnancy – How does it feel to have a healthy pregnancy? Dionna at Code Name: Mama discovers that making positive choices can be empowering.
- Filling Up Our Watering Cans – Nada at miniMOMist believes that practicing Sabbath is the same as being a gardener who lovingly tends to the flowers in her garden. She needs to fill up her watering can first.
- Better Body by Baby – Jess from Mama ‘Roo and Family Too! shares how having her first baby makes her feel even more beautiful and confident about her body than ever before.
- These Breasts Were Made for Nursing – Becoming a mother helped Mandy from Living Peacefully with Children to embrace her womanhood and improve her self image.
- Yeah, I’m Pretty Cool – Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro writes about her own self love and how she hopes to foster the same self-respect in her children.
- Who I’ve Become – The future is bright with That Mama Gretchen who shares her past and present perspective on body image and how she hopes to become a change agent with her daughter.
- Ever-Evolving Me – Joella at Fine and Fair writes to her daughter about her innate drive to continue learning, growing, and evolving.
- I love you for your mind – Lauren at Hobo Mama turns a dubious phrase on its head with a little self-loving slam poetry.
- Stop Think of Love with Your Body – Amy of Peace 4 Parents shares an exercise to gradually transition from hating to loving your body – stretch marks, sags, imperfections, and all.
- I Love Me! – Jenny @ I’m a full-time mummy shares the things that she loves about herself!
- First, I’m Superwoman. Later, I’m Supperwoman – Patti @ Jazzy Mama explains how she loves taking care of her amazing body. It birthed 4 children, after all!
- Baby Strikes A Pose – Emma from Your Fonder Heart writes about her family’s decision not to let their 7 month old model, and uses the opportunity to think more deeply about girls (young and old) and how they determine their self-worth.
- Love Your Tree – How do you picture the ways your body and mind change? Amy at Anktangle writes about how trees help her have perspective about her own growth over time.
- Pumpkin Butt – Zoie at TouchstoneZ writes about how birth and pumpkins are the way to accepting her body
- I do love me – Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about the lessons about loving herself she wants to pass along to her daughter.
- Appreciating Who I Am – Linni at An Unschooling Adventure describes the things she likes about herself and the way she appreciates who she is as a person.
- I love me! : A journey – Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares her journey on arriving at the point where she can say: I love me!
- My Daughter Doesn’t Care So Why Should I? – Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama calls herself on the carpet for the image of self love and beauty she portrays in front of her toddler.
- Finding out who I am – Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings shares an exercise that helped her identify positive qualities she possesses, and how that has helped her learn to love herself.