Recently, I quietly made my 30th trip around the sun. There was a time I would have spared no expense on a self-indulgent party - costumes required to get the kegs flowing. Now, before you go thinking this is a story on how I have mellowed out or no longer need a good excuse to get in full costume contest mode, I assure you this blog is about something entirely different. I am a Leo, after all. I will never outgrow throwing a bitchin' costume party.
But this year I had a rather sleepy 30th birthday. No "Dirty Thirty" shenanigans ensued. I spent the morning dealing with health issues and meeting with my real estate lawyer to go over contracts. I then had a mellow lunch with my mother and boyfriend, followed by a window shopping trip at Home Depot. I know it sounds pretty epic, huh? The truth is that this year, I was so content with how everything in my life was going, the fact that I was turning thirty made little impact on me. I didn't feel anxious, overwhelmed, overly-excited, or any of those other feelings one gets with a milestone year. When I sat back and thought about my rather restful and somewhat lame thirtieth orbit, I began to realize just how much certain things have changed in my life.
The most important and obvious change I discovered during my reflection was that my confidence and self-love has skyrocketed. I realized that I had spent the better part of my late teens and early to mid-twenties worrying about how I looked and if I was good enough. Was I attractive enough? Skinny enough? Curvy enough? Was I smart enough? Was I employable?
Turns out I had spent the better part of 10 to 15 years worrying. With that much worry, it's a wonder I don't look 60 right about now.
It was like I was constantly trying to prove something. I thought I was trying to prove these things to other people but I discovered I was actually trying to prove it to myself. I only worried about those things because I thought I had to. Society told me I needed to care. It turns out that I didn't. So one day I asked myself, "if your opinion is the only one that matters, why can't you just change your standards that you hold yourself to?"
So I did.
I began to let myself know it was OK that I didn't lose weight like some women did.
I have health issues that can't be fixed, only managed, and I can deal with that.
I started wearing clothes that made me feel happy and sexy. Not for anyone else.
I started eating what I wanted to eat and nourished my body with quality food.
I stopped having panic attacks in the fitting room
I started my own successful photography business and quit my office job.
I started photographing women of all body types and bringing them joy and confidence.
I did all of that and so much more. Me, myself, and I. I proved to the only person who's opinion I cared about that I had the right stuff; that I was worthy of love and acceptance. Today I am able to proudly say that I am a body-positive, confident, independent, empowered, and intelligent woman!