These moms are proud of their soft curves. Of the changes pregnancy brought to their bodies. And of themselves, for being so confident and secure that what the rest of the world thinks new moms should be back in their pre-pregnancy jeans before the little one figures out how to crawl. Their Goddess Gathering post went viral. And I love that it did. I needed to see that. Even with my One and Only just into her second week of kindergarten and no signs that my ovaries want to unscramble themselves long enough to bake another baby and my newly diagnosed food allergies leading to a a healthier me, I still needed to see that my post-baby body is okay.
And I thank the women of the CT Working Moms blog for that message.
With the launch of Girl Body Pride on the horizon, I was inspired to ask my team of writers if they were interested in doing our own spin of the Goddess Gathering on GBP. My idea had been to open the floor to all women, not just moms, to submit photos of themselves in a show of body love and acceptance. But (and this is why I'm lucky to have these women working with me) my idea was quickly turned into a very thoughtful discussion.
Elan "Schmutzie" Morgan had this to say:
I just think that this kind of thing confuses beauty with acceptance, which are two different things, and I think it's dangerous to artificially marry the two, even by accident, because if a viewer doesn't see the beauty in a particular photo, they might feel that this is a short-coming on their part rather than a visual preference, which is a bad message. We can dislike the visual appearance of things while still accepting them, but these kinds of campaigns often don't allow for this kind of really important nuance in thinking.
Okay, I can see that. It took me five years, after all, to get to a place to this place of Almost Acceptance inside of my head. And GBP contributor Jodi Steadman Burrus thought it was a valid point, too. So she asked us all a very simple question:
Why does it have to be something we see in the mirror?
And that's how Beauty Beyond the Mirror was born. Because when it comes right down it it, what is reflected back to us in the mirror and what we see when we look at photos of ourselves is more about how we perceive ourselves, mirror or no mirror, than anything society throws at us.
Girl Body Pride officially launches on August 1. That's this Wednesday. To celebrate our launch and welcome you into the GBP community, I ask you to write a blog post linking to Girl Body Pride sharing your own thoughts on Beauty Beyond the Mirror. It's a hard question to answer, I know. I've been mulling this one over for a few days and I keep falling to "well, I think my personality doesn't suck" and "my eyes are pretty nice." The first is a cop-out for me. The second, in my mind, doesn't work because how would I know if my eyes are pretty without seeing them reflected back at me in some form.
That leaves me with the ADHD/Right-Brained/Creative type answer which is this: What is beautiful about me is the fact that I'm 34 and still struggle to determine what it is that is beautiful on some days and am in love with my eyes or my lips or have an extra swing in my hips when I am feeling particularly good. I am sarcastic. My sense of humor is not always PC and I like to use bad words. I love social media because it allows me to connect with so many but cannot stand being social when not on my own terms because face-to-face leaves little room for the opportunity to withdraw into myself as I feel the need without looking like a total bitch. I am introverted-extroverted-outgoing-life-of-the-party who is happiest inside of my own headI trip over my words when spoken but can express myself clearly when my thoughts are able to skip across a keyboard without feeling the need to self sensor what it is that I say. My beauty is in the complexity no mirror can capture as I learn to balance the need to share my words with the world and my fear that the words I share will turn those that know me away.
That is my truth.