At 36 Years Old, I'm Ready to Accept All of Me

Some days I look in the mirror, and think, this is one cute chick. My jeans make the tush look good, my dark circles are magically gone, and wow, my waves look right off a sandy beach.

And other times, the more insecure side of me -- the one where I was 30 pounds heavier for much of my life -- rears itself. I see under arm flab, dimples on my thighs, fine lines around my face, and a tush I wish was more toned.

I know I'm not alone. Friends regularly dismiss compliments and discuss their flaws, frustrations and insecurities. This is universal issue whether size 0, 6 or 16. It's like that absurd scene in Mean Girls where each girl tears herself down in front of the mirror.

Let's stop it. Accept that worthy compliment (say, thank you!). Look in the mirror, and take pride.

I'm now 36 and refuse to live another day bringing myself down.

My birthday in March is always a major reflection time for me. Six years ago, on my 30th birthday, I became paralyzed, couldn't urinate, and had a whole bunch of other crap... we didn't know what the hell was happening. My daughter was four months old and I spent a month in the hospital, plus many more months learning how to walk again, building strength to carry my daughter, and basically function regularly. We learned it was due to a rare neurological condition called transverse myelitis.

It was in those early days when I was working to build back up my body and walk again that I promised myself that these legs are powerful. I recall looking in the mirror, while holding myself up with a walker, and saying this body can accomplish anything; that I would only speak from a place of praise and pride.

Our bodies are capable of so much. It's honestly phenomenal.My personal belief is that if there's something you don't like, fix it or accept it. I work out because I love the way it makes my body (and brain!) feel, and truth, I might get a breast implants because mine, for various reasons, have frustrated me for years.

I went away on spring break last week and while at this big pool/splash park place with my kids, I just lived it up in my bikini. In the past, I've been anxious feeling like I'm walking around in my bra and underwear in front of hundreds of strangers but I just went for it.

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This body, all of it, provided me so much joy. I went down slides with my kids (so freaking fun), carried my little son around the pool as his sweet little body clung to me, and I swam and laughed so hard. Plus, this bod also helped get me to the bar for a cocktail, because you know, priorities.

And, without sounding boastful (though what the hell!), I am proud of how I look! I've worked really hard over the years to be mentally and physically, the person I am today.

I get that we're not all the same shape and size and we're all dealing with stuff. Trust me, now that I'm more of a more petite size I oddly notice more little things that I swear I didn't at heavier weights.

Find a way to love you, or at least not let that part of your brain that rips you down, overshadow all that's awesome. You're worthy of way more.

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