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 Iâ€™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 thatâ€™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 donâ€™t love all of me. I look at my stomach in the mirror and frown. Itâ€™s swollen and puffy from weight gain and eating poorly since the pandemic started. I tell myself that Iâ€™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 thatâ€™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 â€œneedâ€ Botox.
I avoid jeans and opt for leggings or sweats. I pick sweatshirts and baggy shirts to hide my insecurities, but Iâ€™m pretty sure my uncertain gait gives me away.
I try to give myself some grace. Be kind and do my best but Iâ€™ve been in autopilot for months, attempting to fill whatever void I feel at the moment. It never works. Itâ€™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 Iâ€™m pretty amazing (most of the time). I fight depression, anxiety, an eating disorder and a personality disorder every single day. Iâ€™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 Iâ€™m setting an example to my kids by taking care of my mental health and making myself a priority. Theyâ€™ll see my perseverance and resilience. Theyâ€™ll also see my flaws and Iâ€™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 Iâ€™ll continue to work on that. Even though Iâ€™m almost 40. Itâ€™s never too late to try. To love yourself.
So thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m going to do.