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!
I worked my ass off (figuratively as you can see) to become a better version of that girl who used to look in the mirror and list the things that needed fixing. The thing that REALLY needed fixing was my soul and it is on the mend. This will be a life-long journey toward self-love and in another thirty years from now, I know I will have discovered so much more about myself and the powers I possess.
I wish you all the power to find yourself, to love yourself with all your heart, and accept that you are perfect!