My Belly


I was in the best shape of my adult life in 2014. It was one year after we lost January and Jazmine was 5 years old. It took time, food tracking, and finding a fitness genre I love to be able to get back to a shape and scale numbers I formerly knew.  Baby Grace is a few months shy of 2 years old and I STILL am no where close to the fitness level I previously attained. Yes, things have changed.  I don’t have the time to spend in the gym or at my home gym like I had previously, I don’t teach classes anymore, and I have a few injuries that need healing. I still want my body back! (insert tears here).

I was looking at my stomach. I bemoaned as I noted the stretch marks, the C-section pouch, and the very newest addition post Baby Grace, my swollen upper belly.  (It is not swollen because I have an internal issue.  It is just loose where it was not like that before.) That is when I realized it.  My belly represents that I am a Mommy! My stretch marks, pouch, and swollen upper belly means that I have babies!  I asked (begged) God for children. He answered my snotting, slobbering sobs with an affirmative. I would rather have my belly, with all of its imperfections instead of having a day without my girls.



She Said I Was Beautiful

I clearly remember my father specifically, saying I was beautiful when I was growing up. He would tell me I was a “gorgeous hunk of female”.  Of course I enjoyed hearing that and that affirmation told me I wasn’t ugly or undesirable.  When I was becoming a young woman and was passed over by guys I liked, I looked for other reasons why they did that because I knew I wasn’t ugly.

When I got to college, things were different.  I started seeing beauty as defined by clothes, makeup, hairstyles, and mouth sassiness. Not an accurate description by far but I used it to form my opinions because those that had those things usually got the man. As I became a grown woman, and more spiritually mature, I learned beauty, of course, is measured from within. It is in how you treat people, what you value, who you serve. That being said, and if you caught what I didn’t say in my first paragraph, I didn’t think I was pretty. I knew I wasn’t ugly but I never considered myself as being beautiful.  I had good days yes but most of the time, I would think, out of the group of people I hang out with, I was not in the top ranking for looks.

That is truly a sad thought.

Today, as I was at church holding Baby Grace, one of the parishioners commented on how pretty my Gracie is.  I smiled and said thank you.  Shen she went on to say, ‘I mean it and I can see where she gets it from.  You are a very beautiful woman.’  Never. NEVER in all of my adult life has someone I was not related to call be beautiful. I think that is truly sad.

Her words gave me wings.  Her words caused me to look at myself in the mirror differently.  Her words freed this thirty-something year old woman to look at me as worthy.  Her words caused me to no longer shrink back because of negative self-image. Her words caused me to walk with a confidence and self-assurance that I often see in others but did not have.

I’m going to thank her next week. Oh I thanked her today but I will tell her just how touching her words were to me next week.

PS. My husband calls me beautiful all the time.  People you love are supposed to tell you that right?  Not that I don’t think he thinks I’m beautiful, but hearing it totally unprompted from an outside source was life changing.