Before I jump into telling you to just *treat yo self* and love yourself and be confident and in love with you like it's the easiest thing on earth - let me be the first to admit:
I know it's not that easy. I've allowed insecure people to convince me to question my worth for most of my life. I've allowed bonafide crazy people to make me question my sanity. I've allowed stereotypes and common misconceptions to define me in my worst, and I've believed every hateful, harsh, untrue word about myself. I have spent the past decade (at least) wondering if I am attractive and kind and interesting and worthy, and have allowed toxic people to verify that I am, in fact, not.
I've spent the past two years fighting off demons and unlearning detrimental beliefs. I've fallen into the deepest ruts and ridden the highest waves. I've felt the deepest despair and embraced the truest joy. Felt like I was at rock bottom, and had to pull myself up when I was too afraid of being judged for needing help. In the past two years, I've weighed 79 lbs, and 120. I've been through some shit. We all have. And sometimes it feels post-apocalyptic when you look back. Sometimes it's easier to just accept the ruins and say "I can love this" than to actually rebuild what you love.
If you're here right now, you'll likely know that I'm in love. I'm in love with a guy who once said to me "you can't love someone who doesn't love themselves" in reference to an insecure friend looking to be taken care of emotionally, and at the time, thinking I'd made it through the worst of my loathing and self doubt, I agreed endlessly. And a part of me still does strongly agree. But I'll be honest, I wasn't whole when I fell in love with him. I was still in the process of becoming whole, all by myself, when he took over the parts I could't just yet. The larger part of me now believes that people who are loved well, heal well.
And I've been loved really, really well lately. I've been loved through young single motherhood, 79 lbs and 120, angry and crying, and happy as can be. I've been loved well through deciding to go vegan, through expressing a need to meditate more, through cheating on those decisions, through venting more weight than I ever knew I was carrying, through being the worst bowler mankind has ever seen, and through learning how to be a good parent and partner. All with words of wisdom, judgment-free. (Or at least, he kept it to himself and applauded me through it anyway.)
I've been loved properly, and it's reminded me how a person ought to be loved. It's taught me how to love myself right back, as selfish as that might sound. (I love him a lot, too, if it's not obnoxiously obvious.) It's taught me how to not be so judgmental of myself, so critical and stressed over pleasing everyone around me. It's taught me how to be more open and honest about myself, and with myself. Loving someone who is whole, and having that mirrored back at me, has given me the aha-moment that in every friendship, business agreement, relationship, and promise, all I've ever truly had to offer is myself. And that that is more than enough.
So if you couldn't tell, I am very into self-care lately. I'm into putting the kids to bed and spending 20 minutes absorbing doTerra oils before snuggling up with my love, a glass of a prosecco, and The Office. I'm into green smoothies and forgiving people. Expressing myself freely when I've been disrespected, and disregarding other's opinions that are irrelevant. I'm into taking so much time on my hair that people notice (a rare treat in motherhood). And, because I am loved for the first time by someone who encourages me to be confident and content in my skin, I'm into making intimacy a big priority in my relationship. (If this kind of open discussion makes you as uncomfortable as it makes me, just CLICK OUT OF HERE NOW)
I've recently partnered with Rose + Candy again (you might remember me talking about their Fourth Trimester box for new moms last spring) to talk about how moms have the right to feel sexy and intimate again after their bodies, minds, and spirits have been ripped to shreds by their little parasite people. Why did they call upon me for this task? I have no idea, I'm already blushing remembering how this bomb got dropped on my door.
No literally, I forgot the Rose + Candy Sex Box was coming, until one day when I happened to be working from home in sweaty pjs, greasy hair, and kid food all over my house. Someone knocked on my door, so I looked out my kitchen window, and there was literally an entire bomb squad outside my door. I was like "Oh hell no, are they about to serve me? Am I being arrested? WHAT did I do?" so I answered the door like "hi, I didn't do anything, wrong house". And then they knew my name, because it was on the package they were holding that "registered as sketchy", and they asked me if they could open it with me to make sure it wasn't drugs or whatever. I had no idea what it was or where it was from and was equally curious who would send me drugs, so we opened it together; me, one lady cop, and FIVE man cops.
As soon as the lace and aphrodisiac lollipops started overflowing from the box, I, in my sweaty jammies with greasy hair and the reddest face of all time, snatched it up, yelped "I know what it is now it's totally safe, thanks" and closed the door as quickly as I could. Want to know what registered as "sketchy" at the post office? All the bottles of lube.
I have never been the kind of person to order lace robes (it's the black one featured in the above photos), vibrating pendants, aphrodisiac lollis, a million samples of lubricant, or anything else of the sort - and sat alone in my kitchen going through the box still as red as when the cops were here (face palm emoji forever). But once my boyfriend got home from his work trip, told all of his co-workers about my humiliation, and was both as embarrassed and interested as I was, I relaxed into the reminder that when one is loved so relentlessly, they're allowed to boldly open up, learn and try new things, and recognize that they deserve to be loved, and show it back passionately.
The Sex Box from Rose + Candy is available on their (temporarily under renovation!! Keep up on their | Facebook page | to see all the new launches) website and is a great gift for a mama who hasn't felt sexy since before she grew a watermelon. Rose + Candy caters to mamas, but it's also a great gift basket for a bachelorette party. If you're a mama like me reading this, get it for yourself and giggle at your own discomfort of confident sexuality while easing yourself into the idea that you're allowed to be in love with everything you are. If you're a husband or a boyfriend living with a beautiful woman who needs the reminder that she is sexy every single day, get it for her asap.
To my love, thank you for handing me a mirror and demanding that I see what you see.
To Donna Smith of Donna Marie Photography, thank you for the rest of forever for making me feel beautiful and comfortable enough to (not step) leap out of my comfort zone every time we make art together. ( Facebook | Instagram | Website )
And to anyone who works at the post office, I just wanted to let you know, not cool.