Sometimes the kick in the butt you need comes from an unlikely place.

From the time I noticed a difference in the way I was treated as a fat girl, versus how my thinner friends were treated, I lived a life that personified the inner mantra:

“Life will be better when I’m thinner”.

No matter the experience, I had a created my own jail built on this belief; one that almost guaranteed that I wouldn’t enjoy life as much as I could have. In doing that, I never allowed self-acceptance, never left room to love myself as I was.

That’s how I lived.

My body was in the year stated on the calendar, and my heart was in the future date in which I would get everything I wanted and deserved. When I had finally lost the weight that was holding me back.

It stopped me from joining the dance team with my best friend in high school, trying out for the school play, and saying “yes” to the guys who asked me out.

It told me to keep the ones I did say yes to, at arm’s length, and allowed me to befriend every crush in college; but never seek more.

It allowed me to remain in the background, until I realized that what I had actually done was manifest the life that I set up in my mind. One that told the universe, “She’s going to wait to do anything until she’s thinner. Until then, her life is on pause”.

Something 3 years in the making literally knocked me off my feet.

I woke up one morning unable to stand.

I felt back pain I never felt before and I didn’t know where it came from. Or how to make it go away.

One emergency room and herniated disc prognosis later, I lived in oxycodone-induced coma like states… long hours of nothingness and the realization that we focus so much time thinking about things that mean so little. In comparison to the things we often take for granted, like our health and time.

When you’re laid up for the better part of a year, with life passing you by, you wonder how you ever lived a life that didn’t allow room for loving yourself.

I fought. I did everything in my power to make sure I got better and prevented this from happening again.

Ignored the doctors saying, “You may always have back problems…”

Ignored the people asking, “Are you sure you should be working out?”

My perspective changed. I refused to be 30 years old with back problems for the rest of my life. I refused to live my life afraid that my back would hurt again, before I did things.

That is what life is about. It’s not about perfection and it’s not about waiting.

You can work on yourself but still love yourself. You can want better, but love the current you and enjoy the journey.

Stop dreaming about what life could be.

Stop comparing yourself to celebrities, the woman in line at the checkout, or to your old friends on Facebook… you’ll never get to the best you or your best days if your definition is somebody else’s.

It’s not easy to turn off the internal dialogue that has become ingrained. But when I do, I remind myself of how far I’ve come.

About how, I love the size of my thighs, the size of my breasts, and my smile.

Most importantly, I’ve fallen in love with who I am as a person and I am pretty damn wonderful.

I need no further proof than to see all of the truly wonderful women that have been drawn into my life to know: like attracts like.

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