Photos c/o Tutti del Monte
When I wear make-up and a killer outfit I can feel pretty. But when I’ve spent the day at the beach, and my hair is salty, I feel beautiful, free and confident.
When do you feel most beautiful and free? Is it when you’re in a ball gown headed to a black tie event? Maybe when you’re in your power suit going to a meeting, or perhaps when you own that red lipstick on a night out?
I have always felt beautiful, free, and confident in two scenarios:
- After a hard workout when I’m dripping sweat, and have my hair pulled back, and no make-up on. Maybe I feel more connected to myself because my muscles are tired and achy. Or maybe it’s because I grew up on a tennis court drenched in sweat. Whatever the reason, I’ve always felt beautiful while working out.
- When I’ve spent the day at the beach. If I could bottle the mixture of sunscreen, sweat, sand and dry salt water, I would. I welcome the crunchy feeling of sand in my hair and between my toes. I’m not even upset when I find sand all over my car and in my sheets for days after the fact. The sun brings out thousands of freckles all over my face that can disappointingly be hidden under make-up. Spending the day at the beach makes me feel alive.
I can feel insecure in a pair of jeans that don’t feel just right, or when a shirt hugs me in the wrong places, and self-conscious when I wake up with puffy eyes from not enough sleep. But for some reason, when I’m in a bathing suit with no make-up on and wet hair, I feel beautiful. It’s weird because being in a bathing suit is the most exposed our bodies ever are in public. It’s vulnerable, and I know it can be a painful thing for a lot of people.
When I am exposed and vulnerable, I realize there are no flaws, no imperfections, just my perfectly created body. And that is enough and beautiful right now.
We took these pictures after a long workout followed by swimming and playing in the ocean for hours. The photos were impromptu, but as I looked at my sun soaked legs and felt my salty, crunchy hair, I felt lovely and free. All I wanted to do was remember those moments, and that feeling.
I have noticed that the more I love and embrace my body, the more I am able to see the beauty in those around me. I wonder what would happen this summer if, instead of begrudgingly putting on your suit, you choose to see your body for what it really is: a beautiful, complete gift. Don’t love some future or past version of yourself, but love yourself today, right now. Embrace your body and choose to love it.
Maybe we’re all so insecure because we shame our bodies and the bodies of those around us. What if we made the tiny choice to love our bodies as they are? To replace body shaming with body embracing. Every negative thought turned to a positive.
Instead of tearing each other down, why don’t we high five each other for having healthy legs that take us through our lives without complaint. Instead of comparing which girl wore it best let’s applaud that there is no cookie cutter for beauty. I think we’d be shocked at the beauty and freedom we’d experience–not just in ourselves, but in our friends, families, and spheres of influences.
If I want to see a culture free of body shaming, comparison, and criticism, then I get to first see the beauty in myself and own it boldly.
Today that’s what I’m doing. I’m saying to myself, to you, to anyone who reads this that I love my body. I love my make-up free face and the freckles all over it. I love how I look and how I feel in my bathing suit.
I am beautiful….and so are you.