Two weeks ago I saw this picture and I cringed. I almost deleted it from my phone.
Upon first glance of seeing this photo I was frustrated. “Why do my legs look so bumpy? In the front?? Cellulite is only supposed to be in the back? Why did I decide to wear shorts? Did I look like that the whole day? I should have worn pants… totally should have worn pants.”
Then, it occurred to me there is actually so much to celebrate about this photo, aside from the actual moment itself where me and my baseball man were celebrating a pretty awesome victory. The thing to celebrate goes beyond the image.
I want to celebrate the fact that shorts are being worn. I have always struggled with how my legs looked. Just a few years ago I would not be caught dead wearing shorts. Even if I were wearing them and looked confident with that choice on the outside, on the inside I was fidgeting and insecure. Not only did I think that my legs were so “fat” they are so terribly pale as well. Well, thanks to sunless tanner that is an easy fix (and let’s be honest…a little fake sun never hurt nobody!). And the idea that they “look fat” is just silly.
I want to celebrate what my legs can do. They’re strong, they take me places, they are always there for me when I need them. They can help me bring two bags of groceries up there stairs instead of one, and they I can squat heavy weights. They’re a blessing to have, regardless of how they look.
Even though there is much to celebrate, I still have my moments. But the thing that is different today is that I don’t let those cringe moments define me, bring me down, or change my perspective. The old me would have just felt like total crap after seeing that picture and probably would have gone for a run. But the me today is different, the me today saw it, had those thoughts and then just moved forward from that moment. When it comes down to it, those are my legs and that’s just how they look. I’m fine with it and the only one who really needs to be fine with it is me.
I created this platform to help others who have those same cringe moments too. Even though I show up here often to deliver a message of inspiration, empowerment or offer some form of nutrition and fitness advice, I still struggle. After many ups and downs in my own journey I still cringe at some pictures that I take of my body.
Today I’m not focused on the results, but rather the journey. I’m in the middle of a workout program that makes me feel strong, that challenges me and is like nothing I’ve ever done before. Sure I have goals to make tweaks here and there with my physique, but overall those aren’t what drive me to stick to this each day. What pushes me to stay consistent is how it makes me feel… and the coolest feeling of all is that I’m fine with a picture of my legs that don’t look quite how I pictured them to be.
That little, yellow, meaningless flower. The one that people call a weed. That was what made me cry today. The tears caught me off guard a little. I was just driving home from an errand in my car in the middle of the day. The song that was playing had no sentimental meaning. I just saw some dandelions and I cried.
Dandelions make me think of my dad. Well, really, dandelions make me think of my good friend and I know that's what makes her think of my dad. It was our junior year of high school. Amber came to my house to pick me up and we were going to pick out our flowers for prom. Leave it to my dad to always make a silly joke and say something that typically would make me shake my head. This time in particular, I didn't really pay much attention to what he said (what 16 year old actually pays attention to their parents?!) but Amber just started cracking up in the car on our way into town. "Your dad is so funny!" I was like "Oh jeez... why? What did he say now?" "He said we should save our money and just pick all those dandelions in the ditch for our flowers."
I still to this day don't really think that comment was overly comical, but I enjoy the reaction it created for my friend and the memory we now share. It truly represents my Dad's character. Just a silly guy looking to get a good chuckle out of people. Often times we would tease him for the goofy things he would say or do, but in reality it was admirable. Above all else, he always wanted to make people feel good. Even if it came at the cost of telling a barely funny joke. Amber can always smile now when she too sees dandelions. She can think of my dad and his big, kind heart. He had the ability of turning a weed into something beautiful.
Tomorrow, May 4th, marks eight months since the day I found out that I wouldn't get another birthday hug or text from my dad. It was the day so many of our worlds changed... most of all, my Mom's. This loss has been the biggest heartbreak I've ever had, and at the same time the biggest lesson life has ever given me.
In just a few days I turn a new age. No longer will I be in my 20's. I'll be entering the unknown of the big 3-0. To be honest, I'm really excited to turn that age... but just like most birthdays, this one in particular has me thinking about a lot. I've been fortunate to have an awesome life thus far, and know that great things are ahead. But, at the same time it hurts my heart and sometimes makes me feel bad. I'm mad that I have to celebrate another year without getting a hug, phone call, or text from him. I'm mad that while I'm not a young child that has lost their parent, this age is still too young to lose someone so important. I was never one to know what kind of ring I wanted, what type of dress I'd wear, or what the colors would be. The one and only thing I thought about for our wedding day was, "I wonder what sort of speech my Dad will say." I'm mad he won't get to hold our kids, wrestle around with them on the floor, or be the voice of reason when I feel like I've had it with one or all of them. Every girl needs her dad.
But wishing won't make it better, it won't make him come back, and it won't fill that void. Although I sometimes get mad and sad about things, I try to keep in mind the things he has taught us. Be kind to others. Make yourself look silly to make someone else smile. And for goodness sake... see the beauty in the dandelions. Heck, it'll even save ya a buck or two.