I admire the fuck out of this girl.
She had been holding pieces of a broken heart for years, and just started loosening her grasp. She took the risk of seeing the world in a way everyone else said was irresponsible. She had navigated airports, buses, and longtail boats that dropped her in the shallows of a bay at low tide with her backpack. She'd just come from a life changing month in Sri Lanka after being robbed in India. She was questioning her purpose and thirsting to discover what else life had in store for her.
Obviously, that girl was, and always will be, a version of me. Yet when I look back on this series of photos as some of my favorites of all time, I have to admit I constantly struggle with seeing this version of me. Since then, I've expanded in more ways than one.
It was the day before my 28th birthday and I was at least 15lbs lighter. Body image issues die really hard, ya'll. I'm as threatened by this girl as I am by every other girl in her 20s as I compare our bodies. I wish I could stand here and say that I know it doesn't matter what I look like, but that would be dishonest.
However, when it comes down to it, I admire this current version of myself even more when I can look at where I came from. I am a woman now, living in a woman's body that comes complete with curves, stretch marks, and a fair share of aches and limitations. I am the product of the expansion and growth I'd been setting myself up for. I'm confident now in ways that have nothing to do with my body.
I've expanded my inquiry of "what is Love?" to actually include allowing love into my world. I've learned to make home wherever I land and thrive with what I've got. I've learned to lead by example and inspire by living my own truth. I've worn sexy clothing not because I need validation, but because it feels awesome to be adorn my shape. I've proven that living a life I love isn't fatally irresponsible.
You know what? Even in my bigger presence, no one comments on my bigger size.
I am everything I was and so, so much more.