I have always been awesome.
Do you like my homemade Chewbacca costume? I did. Even if I appear to be on the verge of losing consciousness there in preschool. Anyway.
The awesomeness, it is a constant. But the packaging, it changes. A lot. I went through elementary and middle and high school and even entered college in a narrow range of "normal"-ish sizes. Nothing noteworthy. Towards the end of college, though, something happened.
That? Oh, that was a party. On the occasion of Halloween/my 22nd birthday. Yes, I thought it was a good idea to dress that way, and yes, I know that my face looks weird and pasty, and no, we are not going to discuss precisely what substances resulted in that pastiness. Anyway. You can see that I am voluptuous but that voluptuous is not a euphemism.
I like that I appear to be some sort of Sex Demon who is taking business phone calls in this picture.
So I met Sean right about that time. And we got engaged. And we lived on a little bit of money and a lot of rice and lentils. I went off the Pill and my as-yet-undiagnosed PCOS reared its head.
We got married.
I lost weight. About 30 pounds.
And lost some babies too. And finally, after I got down to my lowest weight in years, I got pregnant and it stuck.
I decided, hey. If I'm still pregnant, this PCOS thing is totally irrelevant to my life. Also I am crazy stressed. Clearly the best course of action is to eat Lucky Charms and plenty of 'em.
I gained 60 pounds.
And then Sophia was born and I slowly lost the weight -- down to five or ten pounds less than my pre-Sophia "skinny" weight.
With Daphne I only gained about 27 pounds. See the difference?
And then I kind of hung out there for a while, lighter the 27 pounds, sure that this was as low as I could be expected to go in my adult life.
Whoops, gained back a little when we left walkable Philly for Nashville:
Then I discovered running. First I got to here:
and then I got to here.
(Sorry about the scary dead eyes, there. Bad light.)
But you can't get here from there without a little bit of this.
And a whole heap of castoff outsize bras besides.
I'm okay with that.
I don't know if I can rightly call it "baby belly", because it wasn't the baby that made me gain 50 pounds and lose 30 and gain 40 and lose 50. Although, Lord, with that last picture of Daphne-in-utero, I guess I can account for an awful lot of stretching. Nevertheless, here we are, and here is this:
I am in the best shape of my entire life. Sean says I feel like I'm made of wood, or metal, around the midsection. There is rock-solid muscle under those rumples. But that skin? It doesn't seem to be going anywhere. (This is the post-glycolic acid, post-dry brushing version, too.)
Not only am I okay with it; I think it's sexy. Not because of anything I could even articulate either. I just fucking LIKE it. It's soft. It feels good to my hands.
And I am damn sure going to show it off this summer. I'm strong enough now that I could kick the shit out of anyone who looked at me sideways, and DONE enough that I would consider actually doing so should the need arise.
So that's it. That's what happens when you are me and you swing wildly over a 75-pound span over the course of a decade. I don't have a very good sense of what I look like at any given time because my mind, it just hasn't caught up to all the changes my body has gone through. I don't mean I have low self-esteem or anything like that, I just honestly DON'T KNOW what this action looks like to the world outside my head. I cannot reliably select a pair of pants in a store and get them to fit. They're usually way too big -- except for the times when they've been way too small. It's all a beautiful mystery, ain't it.
I feel great. This is how that looks. That's all I care about.