This weekend I did something I never did before. I had a professional photo shoot all by myself. And I loved every minute of it. I had to embrace myself and allow the camera to take what it saw.
I used to be so critical of myself because of my scars and this stubborn pudge I’ve been fighting to get rid of (short of lipo). The stretch marks bother me more than the surgery scar, but now I recognize they are my war wounds: I survived and won the battle against my spirit that the devil waged when he attacked my body. In college when I got sick, I was on really high doses of steroids and I literally felt my skin ripping to accommodate the weight gain. For a long time I was depressed, crying incessantly every night because I did not recognize who I saw in the mirror. I felt like a stranger in my body. I tell this story sometimes and every time I am reminded of how much God loves us. I was in KMart in Atlanta looking for a table I think for my apartment. I was on an aisle and this little baby walked by and stopped and told his momma how pretty I was. I broke down and cried right there because I could not see what he saw. My insecurities were deeper than just that moment but that was the turning point and I prayed that God would teach me to love me in spite. I decided I would love me and learn to accept me and the hand I was dealt.
As I continued my journey to self-love, it included my dealing with codependency and putting it to death once and for all. It included me relinquishing control and becoming the Serenity prayer. It included me letting go of these grandiose plans I had for how life should be. It included me confronting the past and crying, being angry and getting the evil it created within my heart out of me. It culminated Saturday with my shoot where I had to look at what the camera saw, not the staged posed I create on my camera, but the real me. And while I won’t share those pictures with anyone because it was a gift to myself as a reminder of the beauty that is this body I live in, it freed me.
I have been stressing to people to love themselves so they can adequately love others. Loving you means fighting for your healing. Loving you means wanting to know and embody of who God created you to be. Loving you means accepting your past happened and allowing it to stay there but for the occasional reflection and to celebrate from whence you’ve come. Loving you means seeking God with all of you. Try loving you today so you can love them!