I love the bird tattoo just below my shoulder on my chest.
The tattoo I have on my left arm, a bird on a typewriter, makes me feel so sexy. And strong.
I love the Phoenix on my back that reminds me that I will always rise.
The Hebrew on my side tells the story of Ruth, the first convert, and reminds me why I’m Jewish.
I love the color of my eyes, green with a bit of brown circling my pupils. Green eyes are rare, and I enjoy being rare.
I love my curly, wild hair, because it never looks the same from one day to another.
I love my boobs, which I had surgically reduced and that’s OK. I acknowledge and appreciate that they fed and nourished both my babies.
I love my legs, which are shapely and sexy.
Sadly, I don’t love all of me. I look at my stomach in the mirror and frown. It’s swollen and puffy from weight gain and eating poorly since the pandemic started. I tell myself that I’ve carried two babies and try to appreciate my womb as much as I appreciate other parts of my body.
I ignore the guilty feeling that’s spurred when my thighs uncomfortably touch when I walk.
I also try to ignore my chins when I take a selfie and the fact that I probably “need” Botox.
I avoid jeans and opt for leggings or sweats. I pick sweatshirts and baggy shirts to hide my insecurities, but I’m pretty sure my uncertain gait gives me away.
I try to give myself some grace. Be kind and do my best but I’ve been in autopilot for months, attempting to fill whatever void I feel at the moment. It never works. It’s always there and unless I do some real, hard work it will continue to be there.
My progress is not linear; some days are better than others. But I want to love all of me.
I think I’m pretty amazing (most of the time). I fight depression, anxiety, an eating disorder and a personality disorder every single day. I’ve suffered a mental break, having to go to a psychiatric hospital for six weeks. I do ECT treatments, shock therapy, every six to eight weeks just so I can feel OK and get by. And I do it all for my family. And me, of course. I am a fighter, a survivor and advocate.
My heart, my strong yet tender heart, swells with pride when I think about it all. And how I’m setting an example to my kids by taking care of my mental health and making myself a priority. They’ll see my perseverance and resilience. They’ll also see my flaws and I’m OK with that. They need to see them, see me.
I want them to see how much I love and appreciate my body and self and I’ll continue to work on that. Even though I’m almost 40. It’s never too late to try. To love yourself.
So that’s what I’m going to do.