It has inspired me to make you. Listen to my story.
When I was in high school I typically wore a size 8, and felt that that was fat because I knew many girls who wore a size 0, or even 00 [*ahem* my stepmom]. Frustrated and sweating in the fitting room at The Gap, I still knew I had something special about my body.
When, at 21, I was hitting 5 auditions a day and not getting very far, my mom quietly brought up the idea that I didn't necessarily look like the showgirls on Broadway.
"But mom", I said, "look at Barbara. Look at Bernadette. I look like them. There may be no shortage of chorus girls, but there are only a few stars."
Don't get me wrong; I have bad days. I have fat days. I've cried over my body. Who hasn't? I've had supportive boyfriends and I've had idiots for boyfriends. But I soon learned who the idiots were. I had the ability to blame clothing manufacturers, when I couldn't find a pair of trendy jeans that fit me.
As I've mentioned to you all before, I'm an incredible self-rationalizer.
At my core I have always been blessed with this false confidence. Believing I could make it on Broadway, I could swim the English Channel, I could make it into a blurb in the Encyclopedia (literally wrote that as a goal back when encyclopedias existed.) I am in charge of my destiny.
Because of this, I sometimes get myself into situations I shouldn't be in. Like, racing a half-ironman, for instance. Falsely confident. We shall see.
On the other side of the confidence spectrum lives my husband. He started taking control of his weight gain this February. For years I have tried to persuade him to join me at the gym, do a race with me (he did once), and eat smaller dinners. He didn't budge. He needed to do it for him.
His weight gain (and mine) started during our infertility journey. We indulged in candy and video games, lots of dinners out and extra buttered popcorn at the movies. We called it our second childhood. We didn't want to call it anything else.
I think that was the first time in my life that I realized I was no longer in control over how my life was going to turn out. I'm sure any parent, whether you've struggled with infertility or not, can relate to that.
So we got fertile. We had kids. It was twins. We spun around for two years. Then four years. We kept the weight. We made strides to lose the weight. Me first. Now him.
But when he started getting the kids involved, and telling them to help him wake up and get on the treadmill, his insecurity came out, too.
"Look at Daddy's big belly. It is TOO big. Daddy's got to get rid of this belly."
In a playful way, of course.
After a few days of this, my daughter, looking at me through the bathroom mirror at her nightly bedtime tooth-brushing, turned to me, slapped my belly, giggled and said,
"Mommy your belly is TOO big!"
To which I replied, lifting up my shirt, and without missing a beat,
"Nope- my belly is just the right size. My belly is perfect."
So of course the kids both lifted up their shirts, looked in the bathroom mirror and said "my belly is just right - just right - hahaha" and proceeded to rub each other's bellies.
And I just about slapped my husband into next Tuesday for bringing that insecurity into my daughter's vocabulary.
There is no reason we can't teach her - or hell - just not eff up - the confidence she was born with to get through this world without losing her personal navigation system.
And the little boy, too, while we're at it.
It starts with us parents.
It starts with ourselves.
If you can't give your image in the mirror a smile, how will your children know how to?
Fake it. Falsify it if you have to. In their minds, if you say it is, it will be true.
Who's to say my false confidence isn't true?
Please, take my pledge.
Wear a bikini. Show some gusto. Be body confident. Be image confident. Show me your post. Show me your pic! Grab the button. Don't be afraid. Link up. Tweet it. Mark it with a B. Stick it with a pin. Put it in the oven for all our girls.
Watch the collective confidence cake rise.
We'll find you here at the linkup, or if you tweet/Facebook/google plus a pic with the hashtag #bikinipledge, or pin it or grab the button and link to this post. Comment and add your link!
Happy beach-combing my bikini-clad sisters!!!!
If you are on board but not ready to post a pic, plaster my muffin-top all over the universe, that's perfectly fine with me.