In an age of selfies, snapchat, Instagram and influencers it can be awfully hard for a girl to hang on to some genuine, authentic self-love. I mean we are bombarded in the media with images that are heavily edited, redacted, filtered, altered, or staged in such a way to make us buy in to the myth of perfection. Some idealized picture of who they think we should want to be. Honestly, if I see one more episode featuring the "unreal housewives" where none of the women have any wrinkles, put on display their unnaturally taut faces bearing the usual frozen, vacuous expressions, their Balayage perfected hair, pre-fab boobs and manicured nails I may just scream. For the love of God, women are getting silicone injections in their body at their neighborhood Jiffy Lube, risking their lives all for a Lululemon-Kardashian ass, it's like chasing unicorns and has come to epitomize much that is wrong in our world today.

How in the actual fuck did this become our new normal? Vaginal steaming, waist training, cupping, vaginal rejuvenation, breast implants, breast lifts? Really just leave the girls the hell alone. These magical, mystical life-giving beauties are a testament to the strength and the absolute amazingness of women. I have breastfed three children and let me tell you, those girls are tired and have earned the right to sag and droop a bit if they want.

Self-love starts here people. When I look in the mirror what is the message I am choosing to send to myself? Can I bravely tell my reflection that each new wrinkle was hard fought and well earned? Paid for by the countless sleepless nights spent rocking my newborn babies, the job insecurities, a sick parent, the unexpected and unimaginable heartbreak. Every crease, Every line has a story to tell about each of us and our beautiful, incredible and at times, anxiety ridden and grief laden lives. The reflection in the mirror is simply my story made visible to the world.

Maybe that is why we continue to create ever more cosmetic surgeries and procedures and we fund a billion dollar beauty business as we willingly hand over our money to any snake oil salesperson peddling perpetual youth. I don't know, perhaps it feels safer to try and deny and erase our history, refuse to accept the vulnerability that comes with being in these human bodies. Our aging process that is so clearly visible for all the world to see, forces us to face our own mortality square in the eye. And, as long as our magazines and social media stay preternaturally young and we continue to eradicate all evidence of aging and imperfection, we close the door on creating a conversation about deeper truths.

These bodies tell our stories with painstaking honesty and share with the whole world our lifetime of heartbreak, worry, loneliness, resilience, and joy. They bear witness to our lives and lovingly mark the passage of time. Every time we try to inject, cut, lift, laser, away our perceived imperfections, this translates into a missed opportunity to seek meaning in this crazy journey we are all on together. It is our collective insanity that compels us to addictively scroll our Facebook feed and compare our insides to others outsides or try create the perfect Instagram pic no matter the cost, and it diminishes each of us. It is the passage of time and the recognition of our own mortality that continually reminds us that our time here is fleeting and we should get busy making it matter. When our world begins to reflect media images of unretouched, imperfect, unapologetically beautiful humans we will learn to truly embrace diversity and begin to yearn for more than what is only skin deep. We learn that it is only our story that truly matters.

So today I announce to the world that I am claiming this for myself! Today I choose the unedited, unretouched, unfiltered story of my life. By letting go of this construct of beauty and perfection we open ourselves up to one another through our story and it is through our stories we find our deepest connections around our shared humanity. The many-colored threads that weave between us help us to touch something greater than ourselves, something divine, something undeniably true. For when this life comes to an end, as it will for us all, I don't want to look back on my life having spent far too many of my moments in search of the perfect peroxide blonde, an unnaturally smooth visage, an annoyingly pert bottom or a perfect pair of Hollywood inspired double DD's. I want to be able to say that I lived out loud, faced down my fears, loved with abandon, laughed often, felt deeply, practiced kindness, helped others and left this world a little better place for having been here. I want for you to look at me and in each new line see the story of my imperfect life. See the woman who struggled to learn how to own her story and at the end of the day wholeheartedly tried to create a life that meant something. A woman who defied all odds to embrace a new construct of beauty- one that whispered… it is time to #BeYourStory. Pass it on

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