*I’m cleaning out my blog post draft folder this week. These are blog posts that I wrote in 2012, but for some reason never got published. I’m looking at you, Otis.

Did you know that I turned 29 this month? I used to think that I’d always have the same amount of cheerful joy about birthdays. Back in the day, I would claim the entire week as a celebration, buy a new dress and go out to dinner, eat as much pasta as I wanted and still look cute in a two-piece bathing suit.

Needless to say, things have changed significantly. We stayed home, watched Redbox movies, and ate ice cream. I didn’t buy anything new and most of that cheerful joy energy is being shoveled into planning Otis’ birthday party. And a two-piece bathing suit? Those are stupid. Even when I was skinny.

And that might be what is floating through my head more than anything lately. I have always prided myself on having a great self-esteem. I even remember when I believe my self-esteem was born. I was in college and saw some pictures of myself from a high school trip. I remember being on that trip thinking I was fat and ugly and that I should only wear turtlenecks.  But then I saw a picture and I thought, “Holy crap. I was hot!”

I realized very quickly that I was either going to spend the rest of my life looking back at pictures finding out in hindsight that I was beautiful. Or I could just live like I was beautiful today. So I did that. Believed I was beautiful today.

For the past 9 years it’s worked brilliantly. I would look in the mirror and 9 times out of 10 think, “Hellz to the yeah”. Mark would sometimes point out the potential flaws in my line of thinking. Like, isn’t this the exact same thing as settling? And then we’d have long discussions about the nuances of words like “settle” and “accept”.

Then I had a baby. How I felt about my body started to change. I didn’t know it anymore. I didn’t know how to feel about it anymore.

I thought my body was absolutely amazing in so many ways. Like, there was a kid in there, he was jettisoned out and then my boobs made food. That’s Sci-fi crap, People. And my body did it!

But then there was how my stomach is rounder, my waist thicker and my thighs are very well acquainted with one another. I won’t even talk about my boobs.

All of those things, this softer and fleshier version of me, were supposed to be wrong. Ugly, even? I was supposed to want to get back into my pre-baby jeans as fast as possible, right? I needed to feel guilty because I didn’t look like those posters on Pinterest, right?
thinspirationI hate you, Pinterest, with all your “thinspiration”.

But I didn’t. Like I said I’m really good at loving myself. Too good, maybe?

When I look at myself in the mirror now I… kind of like it. Like, seriously, I like that I look different.  That I don’t look like 18 year old Marie anymore. Like, at all. My tummy isn’t flat (or firm) and there are hints of a double chin-a-brewing. And I honest to goodness like it.

veda&marie2It’s like a tampon commercial: racially ambiguous girls in white clothes.
She stills looks like that. I do not. And that’s ok! I think…

Or maybe a better way to say it is that I’m not grossed out like I thought I would be. I secretly thought that I had such a good self-esteem because I really was hot and if that hotness ever left then I’d lose the self-esteem, too. But I don’t think that’s what self-esteem is.

I don’t mean I don’t want to be healthy. I do! I want to go on walks on pretty days and I’ve started a steady exercise routine of rugrat crawling races with my little man. I almost like Greek yogurt!

My only problem right now is all the wrestling I’m doing in my brain. Is it ok to be ok with having a body that, in society’s eyes, is only ok? I feel beautiful in a new way, but I wonder if I’m allowed to feel beautiful in this new way. Isn’t that funny?

Because the new way that I feel beautiful isn’t represented anywhere except in those once-a-year fashion editorials where they make plus size models slouch to accentuate the rolls.

v magazineWho poses like this? Ever?

So these are my thoughts. I’m getting older and fleshier. And I’m ok. Is that ok? Are you ok? Are we ok?