Amy Schumer was called “brave” for her photo shoot she did in her underwear, holding a cup of coffee. Someone else looked at that same photo and likened her to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. When you share a photo of yourself as you truly are, you’re being beautifully human. Not brave. It’s time to stop the body shaming.
I share pictures from photo shoots where I’m in heels and eye liner, I can share pictures when I'm playing in the ocean with my family, and I share pictures from my couch where I’m fighting a flu and surrounded by snotty tissues. EVERY photo is an accurate representation of who I am.
I can be fierce and rock a smokey eye and have my makeup done and STILL BE WORTHY.
I can be sick with the flu, makeup free in an unflattering angle and STILL BE WORTHY.
If I wear makeup, people tell me I look fake. I’m trying too hard. It doesn’t suit me. It doesn’t look like me.
If I don’t wear makeup, people comment on my skin discoloration, or my eyebrows, or say I look tired. Or worst of all--that I’m “brave”.
It shouldn’t have to be an act of courage, sharing a piece of who I am. That’s missing the whole point of why I share anything at all.
After giving birth to Lea Luna, people kept asking me what I was doing to "get my old body back". My old body? Back? I have no intention in moving backward, and I don't think my body is ever going to be what it was before. I pushed a 10-pound human being out of my vagina! That I grew in my womb for the better part of a year! And then I fed her--with my body!
No. My body will never be what it was before.
So, please stop telling me or anyone else that they’re “brave” for sharing what they look like.
I understand that there is no bad intention behind saying that I'm "courageous" for sharing photos and videos of me as I am, but what that actually means is that you look at my body and think that I am anything else but perfect and beautiful; like I should have hid the 15 pounds I weighed after giving birth (I gained 40 during pregnancy) or the stretch marks and belly that became soft and rounded.
Does any of that mean I am uglier? Less attractive? Less admirable? Hell no. I absolutely love this shape of mine and do not plan on jumping on any exercise routine to lose weight, or get toned, or fit or thin.
I have a baby angel to care for. All my energy goes to pouring love and care into her little being. If I had to worry about my body at the same time, or if I were to judge myself or label myself as not good enough because 13 weeks passed since she was born and I still didn't have my abs back... I don't think I would be able to do this.
How could I ever show my daughter the meaning of unconditional love if I don't first show it toward myself?
How can you show yourself unconditional love when you’re wasting your time critiquing someone else and their perfect humanness?
Fact: if you nitpick someone else, you’re doing it because you dislike the exact same things about yourself and you’d rather the attention on that “flaw” be directed toward someone else instead of you. We all work as mirrors of each other.
Seeing the beauty in another is seeing it in yourself, too.
I don’t look down at my body and critique; I look down and smile. This amazing body has performed literal miracles. I am nothing but blessed and I’m in no rush to strain toward what used to be. I'm good the way I am, thank you very much.
I'm practicing yoga when I can, and today I went for tiny little run (yes, I had to wear two bras and yes, I almost threw up because it was so hard) but most of the time I'm just here, enjoying the softness of my little girl and how she fits so perfectly in the round of my stomach when I feed her.
So, please, don't call me brave for showing up in this body. Call me brave for giving birth! For raising a child! For running four companies! For being an activist! Not for practicing yoga in a sports bra.
Don’t call anyone else brave for showing up in their bodies, either. Find the deeper, bigger feats to call brave, like getting out of bed to face the day after a loved one passes, or fighting a wildfire, or standing up for human or animal rights, or opening your heart to love even after its been broken.
Share whatever pictures that make you feel something meaningful. The fact is, you are a multifaceted human being and you get to express who you are in any way you so damn please.
Do you have any idea what we could all be doing with the time and energy that’s wasted on talking about women’s physical looks on social media? YOU COULD BE OUT THERE LEAVING A MARK ON THE WORLD! You could be out there changing shit. The hours you spend scrolling through photos of people’s (mostly fabricated) lives could be spent building a business.
Focusing on self-care.
Learning a new craft.
Pursuing a dream.
When you align and focus, there is no limit to what you can create.
If it makes you a judgmental person, stay off social media. If it makes you feel insecure, log off. If it makes you question your worth, put your phone away. If it distracts you from living your best life (and trust me, commenting judgmental stuff on photos of strangers is not it), GET OFF THE APP AND LOOK AROUND!
There is a way to use the online world to further your cause, to grow, to elevate, to connect, to make a change. I’m doing it. Hell yes, I’m doing it. Every damn day. But if you’re heading in the opposite direction...? I suggest you do some soul searching.
Work on being kinder to yourself and others. On putting your well being higher on your list of priorities. Giving yourself space to rest. Seeing your own beauty exactly as you are, no filter. Loving yourself not because you have accomplished, or worked, or created, or shared a photo of yourself that’s “brave”...
But just because you are. You are worthy of love. So worthy. So, so worthy.
Now, a little louder for the people in the back: I AM WORTHY OF LOVE! I am. You are. We are. Write it in the comment section. All caps. Go.