I can’t believe it took me almost 26 years and an extra 20 pounds to realize how beautiful my body is. As a young girl and now a young woman I have battled with my body image, and of course this is a struggle that many women face. It was not not until I took a much needed personal trip to South Africa did I have the opportunity to sit, reflect, appreciate and embrace every single part of my identity in the physical and spiritual form.
Although it was only a month away from my current surroundings, it was enough time to acknowledge my presence on this earth as a messenger of peace, love and understanding. And this helped me come to terms with some aspects of my life that I had not come to peace with, that I did not love completely and pieces of me that I was reluctant to understand.
Every morning or evening that I sat by the Indian Ocean to reflect I would think of one thing that I wanted to fix, change or strengthen. I realized in the end that majority of the things that I wanted to fix, change or strengthen were physical things and blessings that could not be fixed, changed or strengthened; rather it was my mind and the way in which I thought of those things that needed the work.
As I began to shift the way I was thinking about my physical presence I realized the beauty of my spiritual connectedness to the world and the beauty in the mind that I carry. One day I had an epiphany that left me crying for hours. I woke up and felt so beautiful, I went to the mirror and examined my body, my face, all the blemishes and flaws I have, yet I still felt so beautiful. I had been trying get used to telling myself how beautiful I am and how much I love who I am, yet that morning I didn’t even need to say anything, because I truly felt it. It was so overwhelming, the feeling was so new and I bursted into tears. These were tears of joy, but also tears of sorrow as I wish I had embraced myself sooner.
As I continue to embark on this journey of self-love, appreciation, understanding and acceptance I want to honour all my previous experiences, because if it weren’t for them I’m not sure that I would have pushed myself to look at my heart and mind in order to love my body.
Although I know I am not perfect and that there will be times where I don’t feel as beautiful, I know that I have a built a foundation of self-accountability and a level of appreciation of self in all forms that will help me stay grounded.
It’s growth yall.