Beautiful July 16 2015

I read a post today, asking women what their favorite running shorts were.

An innocent question, and I started to read the responses.  Some of them were funny.  "In the wash"  or "haven't found them yet."  Many people gave shout outs to their favorite brands.  (My heart went aflutter when I saw Happy Puppies listed!)  But, as I continued to read, I found that many women were self-critical.

"None.  My thighs touch" or "I only wear capris."  One woman wrote that her thighs tough so much that they would cause sparks.  Women wrote that they are too self-conscious to wear shorts.

Just a few years ago, I was one of those women.  I understand the insecurities that come from daily torment in middle school.  That crap doesn't just go away.  

My fabulous classmates told me how fat I was on a daily basis.  How weird I was.  I talked funny.  Had bad hair.  I let those words, the nastiness of some preteen kids, bury themselves deep within my brain.

Even though I went to a private high school, those words continued to echo within.  I began to throw up, trying to lose weight.  (Thankfully my brother caught onto that one and put a very quick end to it.)  No matter what I did or how I looked, I could never shake those damn words.

Until one day, three years ago, I tied on my running shoes and hit the road.  The pounding of my feet finally drowned out those nasty words.  I finally saw myself as my family sees me. 

Here I am at the Disney Princess Half Marathon, February 2013, with my four boys.

I have some extra pounds.  That's a fact.  And that's not going to change, because I love to bake, and cook with and for my family.  And even more than that, I love to eat what we have created!  And if I have a few extra rolls to show for it, who cares?  No matter what my size is, my family loves me.  When something amazing happens to my children, they can't wait to tell Mom, and these arms, complete with their extra jiggle, hug them tight as we dance in celebration.  When something bad happens, these same arms comfort them as they lay their head in my soft lap.  No matter what I think that I look like, my husband calls me beautiful, and the way that he treats me shows me that he believes it.

I am beautiful.  I am BEAUTIFUL!  I AM BEAUTIFUL!

And so are you.

Who cares if you have a little extra jiggle when you wiggle?  A stranger?  What impact does their opinion have on your life?  Absolutely zero.

Wear the shorts.  Do the dance.  Go for a run.  And pound out your self doubt.  That doubt is your gate, closing you in.  It's time for you to run like the gate is open, because you're the only one who can open it.

And remember: you are beautiful.  You truly are.