Hello Story Tellers (Is it ok if I call you that?). This morning, as I patiently waited for my dreaded night shift to arrive, I had time to catch up on a little bit of TV. I watched the DVR’d Royal Wedding and started to watch 13 Reasons Why (which I could not get into this season). After many failed attempts at trying to take a nap, I decided that there was nothing else to do but to get ready for work. It has become a ritual that every day before I take a shower, I look at myself in the mirror. I watch from the front view and the side view, but I dare not look at myself from behind. I literally spend a good five minutes picking my body apart. This very body that gave life. This very body that has been through so much with bumps, bruises, and scars to prove it.

Earlier in the day, during my laundry and mom duties, I get onto Marco Polo (an app for those who suck at answering the phone) with my best friend, K, as I do every morning to discuss just about anything that has happened to us within the last 12 hours of our lives. The topic of today: our bodies. We have been talking about meeting up at least once a week to workout together. It’s become hard for us working moms to get out and take care of themselves. We are single mothers who work full time, then have to come home, make dinner, help with homework, and clean. After all that is done, then we prepare for a workout? Yeah right. Though there are others who can find the time, I my friend find it hard. Every situation is different and this is a judge free zone.

Anyway, during our conversation, we were talking about all of our problem areas, what we want to change, and how we want to look in the end. She says she wants to look like a “snack”, I say I want to look like the whole damn meal. Okay! My focus is to tone. I was working toward toning, but had to stop due to the personal training costs just being too much money. I’m disappointed that I stopped, but I will get back to it in no time with this new plan. After bashing our bodies, she went off to work and I went on to my binge watching that was mentioned earlier.

So there I was, staring at myself in the mirror. I hate my stomach. Why does it sag so much? Ugh my boobs. They’re huge. They make my body look so disproportionate. This damn FUPA (Fat Upper P*ssy Area). Is that cellulite? Ugh hair everywhere. How could he love this? All of these thoughts flooded my mind. I took one last look of disgust and got into the shower.

When I got out, I scrolled through Facebook. I had about twenty minutes before I was considered late, so in my eyes I had plenty of time to apply oil to my skin, get dressed, brush my teeth again, do my hair, and fold some clothes. During the process, I noticed that Jada Pinkett Smith posted a video to her “Red Table Talk” show on Facebook Watch. I added this to my watchlist as soon as I heard that she was doing this because there are so many things that she talks about that I can relate to. She’s like the Auntie I never had, but always needed.

Just as expected, she hit the topic that I needed to hear: Body Confessions.

In the conversation, the three women talk about different insecurities that they have had in the past and present about their bodies. Ones that would have you thinking why the hell do they think that. I could relate to Jada when she said that her hair is one of them. At the moment she is experiencing hair loss. While she was upset about it at first, she said that if God wanted to take her hair, take it. It’s just hair. She still had every working organ and her life. Some of us aren’t that lucky. So if in this lifetime he chose for her to lose her hair, fine. I too have dealt with that because of two things; stress and going natural. I’m actually going natural because of stress. I feel like the chemicals aren’t helping the situation. I like the way she looked at the situation. Though it will take time, I choose to look at it that way too.

Willow, Jada’s daughter, pointed out her being so skinny. She said that her dad told her that he was glad that she is skinny so the guys will look at her brain before her body. Which really made me think. Yeah, the first thing a guy notices is your body. For those of us who don’t have it all, it takes a guy to get to know you in order for him to show interest. Willow was upset about that at one point in her life because she just didn’t feel attractive. As for Jada’s mother, Adrienne, she said that her body in general. Mind you, she is supa fit! She puts a lot of us younger women to shame. She said that she is thicker than she was at a younger age. While most of it is muscle, she is still insecure about it.

All I could think was ‘Here I am being insecure about my FUPA and thinking that getting fit is the answer, when the reality is, I will still find something wrong with me’. The part that really got to me was when they pulled a few fan questions. The one question that stood out to me the most was “Name 3 things you love about the way you look”. She mentioned her hair, but that was it. Willow chimed in on things that she loved about her grandmother that included her lips and her shape. But, what Adrienne said next really hit hard. She said that it was much easier to point out everything that she didn’t like about her body rather than the things that she loved. The things that she disliked came to mind much faster.

So then I got the thinking…

I was just tearing myself apart about my body. I went back to the bathroom and looked again. What do I love about the way I look? My lips. I used to be teased about my lips when I was younger, yet I never changed the way I felt about them. They also look damn good painted in red. Next, my legs. My legs have always been strong. I used to hate how muscular they were from dancing at a younger age. That muscle memory never left my legs. I’m grateful for it now because they look damn good in a pair of heels. Lastly, it’s a tie between my boobs and my hair. Why? I thank God and my genes that I am able to have healthy hair. As for my boobs, I’ve always had a love hate relationship. When I was younger and in high school, they were like a tourist attraction. No matter how covered or uncovered. They make my back hurt, difficult to find clothing, even more difficult to find a bra, and even more difficult to sleep on my stomach. So why do I love them? Because they helped save my son’s life. I had such a large supply of breastmilk that my son was able to become stronger during his preemie days. I found that most moms have a hard time with breastfeeding and supplying milk. I’m in love with the fact that my body was able to do that even in the most stressful situation.

Even though I still plan on working out and toning up, I have to keep reminding myself that I’m doing this to be healthy and not to be “society sexy”. That FUPA that I hate is there because I created life. My breasts are there to supply when my baby needed it the most. My legs are strong because at the end of the day we all need a strong foundation for when we feel the weight of the world on our shoulders. Today’s lesson was to learn how to love myself. Love what is in the mirror.

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