These moms are proud of their soft curves. Of the changes pregnancy brought to their bodies. And of themselves, for being so confident and secure that what the rest of the world thinks new moms should be back in their pre-pregnancy jeans before the little one figures out how to crawl.

Their Goddess Gathering post went viral. And I love that it did. I needed to see that. Even with my One and Only just into her second week of kindergarten and no signs that my ovaries want to unscramble themselves long enough to bake another baby and my newly diagnosed food allergies leading to a a healthier me, I still needed to see that my post-baby body is okay.

And I thank the women of the CT Working Moms blog for that message.

With the launch of Girl Body Pride on the horizon, I was inspired to ask my team of writers if they were interested in doing our own spin of the Goddess Gathering on GBP. My idea had been to open the floor to all women, not just moms, to submit photos of themselves in a show of body love and acceptance. But (and this is why I’m lucky to have these women working with me) my idea was quickly turned into a very thoughtful discussion.

Elan “Schmutzie” Morgan had this to say:

I just think that this kind of thing confuses beauty with acceptance, which are two different things, and I think it’s dangerous to artificially marry the two, even by accident, because if a viewer doesn’t see the beauty in a particular photo, they might feel that this is a short-coming on their part rather than a visual preference, which is a bad message. We can dislike the visual appearance of things while still accepting them, but these kinds of campaigns often don’t allow for this kind of really important nuance in thinking.

Okay, I can see that. It took me five years, after all, to get to a place to this place of Almost Acceptance inside of my head. And GBP contributor Jodi Steadman Burrus thought it was a valid point, too. So she asked us all a very simple question:

 

Why does it have to be something we see in the mirror?

 

Why, indeed.

And that’s how Beauty Beyond the Mirror was born. Because when it comes right down it it, what is reflected back to us in the mirror and what we see when we look at photos of ourselves is more about how we perceive ourselves, mirror or no mirror, than anything society throws at us.

Girl Body Pride officially launches on August 1. That’s this Wednesday. To celebrate our launch and welcome you into the GBP community, I ask you to write a blog post linking to Girl Body Pride sharing your own thoughts on Beauty Beyond the Mirror. It’s a hard question to answer, I know. I’ve been mulling this one over for a few days and I keep falling to “well, I think my personality doesn’t suck” and “my eyes are pretty nice.” The first is a cop-out for me. The second, in my mind, doesn’t work because how would I know if my eyes are pretty without seeing them reflected back at me in some form.

That leaves me with the ADHD/Right-Brained/Creative type answer which is this: What is beautiful about me is the fact that I’m 34 and still struggle to determine what it is that is beautiful on some days and am in love with my eyes or my lips or have an extra swing in my hips when I am feeling particularly good. I am sarcastic. My sense of humor is not always PC and I like to use bad words. I love social media because it allows me to connect with so many but cannot stand being social when not on my own terms because face-to-face leaves little room for the opportunity to withdraw into myself as I feel the need without looking like a total bitch. I am introverted-extroverted-outgoing-life-of-the-party who is happiest inside of my own headI trip over my words when spoken but can express myself clearly when my thoughts are able to skip across a keyboard without feeling the need to self sensor what it is that I say. My beauty is in the complexity no mirror can capture as I learn to balance the need to share my words with the world and my fear that the words I share will turn those that know me away.

That is my truth.

What’s yours?

 

 

It’s almost here. The official launch for Girl Body Pride.

I’m excited. I’m exhausted.

I’m ecstatic.

And I hope you follow us, like us, check out our channel on YouTube, talk it up in the forums, and sign up for some GBP to be sent to your inbox. Because you’re just awesome like that.

Want a sneak peak? Here goes:

Girl.

Because no matter what decade we find ourselves in, we share a desire to heal a piece of ourselves while doing everything within our power to make sure today’s daughters grow strong in mind before all else.

Body.

We are at war with the reflection we see in the mirror. It’s either too full or too thin or too curvy or not curvy enough.

We want more for our daughters. We also want to be able to check out at the grocery store without being bombarded by magazine headlines touting The Best Diet, How to Get a Better Body Faster, and the Six-Week-Post-Partum-Bikini-Photo-Shoot that is now par for the course for practically every celeb mom. This constant reminder that we can’t possibly be happy as we are is what we (and our kids) have at eye-level and what we (and they) see on television daily. And that, my friends, is total bullshit.

Pride.

We all need to be reminded that we are worth everything at this very moment. Happiness is not something to be determined by a number on the scale or the tag in our clothing and Hollywood doesn’t get to tell our us, our daughters, sisters, friends, and cousins that we aren’t perfectly wonderful just as we are anymore.

No matter our body type or our social standing in high school or if we’ve had five kids or none, we at Girl.Body.Pride are here to remind us all to focus on our beauty, our strengths, and our spirits. No matter what anyone else says, we must remember that how we see ourselves is most important.

Girl.Body.Pride.

Just the Way We Are.

And that’s just the About page.

August 1, people. And GBP is planning on bringing The Awesome.

 

This is why countdowns make me nervous, y'all.

I am not counting down to BlogHer 12. I’m not. Countdowns make me nervous and increase my anxiety and things usually explode at the end of them. Plus the week before I’m supposed to be schmoozing it up with people who usually are not aware that I am not wearing a bra while we discuss Life and Other Important Things and getting prettified to take part in the BlogHer fashion show as a model is not a good time to use my chin as a scratching board. I might like to pretend that I’m a cool customer this time around, but my anxiety levels and heightened ADHD/OCD scab picking habit are telling me otherwise.

(Note: If you found the proverbial Waldo hidden in the paragraph above, please help yourself to a virtual cookie from the tray. You’re welcome.)

No. I’m not counting down to BlogHer. But the rest of the internet is.

Don’t worry. I’ve already blamed all of you for the Enjoy Life pseudo-chocolate chips sitting atop a big ole’ spoon of raw almond butter because this is how I roll now when eating compulsively to deal with the fact that I’ll be leaving my kid with BFF Heather while I’m off living it up in NYC and probably hitting the American Girl store with BlogHer roomie Robin O’Bryant before returning so we can both soothe our raging cases of Mommy Guilt because we are leaving our babies, people. We are leaving our babies with their fathers and our best friends, who happen to be capable adults that are not us, and we only feel guiltier for knowing that we will be thrilled to be away from them and on our own, having adult conversations, and not having to remind anyone to stop telling perfect strangers that they are getting pretty good at cleaning their vaginas without Mama’s help because shit like that just gets awkward. 

It’s too late to cancel my plane ticket or buy one for Buttercup to ride shotgun. And if I poke enough air holes in my suitcase for Buttercup to breathe en route to the Big Apple, people are bound to hear her singing show tunes to pass the time. My only option is to ease my guilt by bribing her love me upon my return. I’d better get cracking on a thank you gift to BFF Heather for taking on the ominous task of having Buttercup at her place (baths, books, bed, 5 a.m. wake-up calls to get herself ready for work before getting Buttercup up at 6 to get Buttercup ready for Kinder drop off before 8 in the godforsaken morning, and then school pick up, homework, dinner, and rinse and repeat) which I have assured her will be a breeze because it will totally not be a breeze but I’m trying to sell this thing, m’kay?

And yes, I did just say all of that in one breath in my head. Hence the lack of punctuation. Deal with it.

In all honesty, I’d rather stay home. While I know I’m going to have an incredible time and renew old connections while creating new ones and that my platform ain’t building itself, nor is my manuscript ever going to get picked up be a publisher if I don’t get my name out there (I’m thinking Bump-It and a fake tan, yes?) I also know that eating at BlogHer is going to be a giant bitch and that I’m going to two wine mixers and I’m allergic to yeast.

Que the Jeopardy theme-song:

Answer: See this wine I’m drinking right now? Sucks to be you.

I’ll take, “What is Hell for $5,000, Alex.”

 

It’s okay. Really. I will just focus on the fact that seeing my friends in person is more important than the alcohol I won’t be consuming which will be a total fucking lie. Maybe. 

Oh now don’t get offended. You know I can’t wait to see you and share actual physical space with you and squeal like school girls for approximately 30 seconds before each of us reaches for our iPhones and spends the rest of the time we spend in each other’s presence conversing in tweets and hashtags because that’s how these things work. We will only stop tweeting long enough to air kiss and squeal again as we promise to not wait until the next conference to ignore each other in person when it’s time to say good-bye so I can get to the American Girl store and you can go drink more wine and then we won’t see each other again until that next conference that we weren’t going to wait for.

It’s gonna be great.

There are only a few days left before I board a plane and leave my only child with a woman  who is on the fence about having her own children one day. Which means I should probably wait until I return to choose a thank you gift for the BFF. After all, it’s kind of hard to wrap up a tubal ligation.

 

I’m online a  lot more than usual right now trying to get Girl.Body.Pride up and going for the official launch on August 1. The tricky part is that I’ll be at their airport at 3:30 a.m. on July 31 and flying out of Tucson at about 6:30 a.m on August 1, which makes my timing pretty shitty. It will all be worth it in the end, though. GBP is something that I think has been building itself in my brain for a while now, and it’s finally time to make it a reality.

The funny thing is that while I’ve been working my ass off trying to secure sponsorships for the site, recruiting some pretty fucking awesome writers who have graciously committed to serving as regular contributors, and even more kick ass writers willing to grace the pages of GBP as featured guests with their words, thoughts have been already started shifting. Women have been celebrating their post baby bodies and encouraging others to do the same.

No Airbrushing.

No computerized perfection.

I even answered this call for women willing to show their faces and their post baby bellies with a photo of my own.

I'm proud....But...

But then I wonder if I would have taken the picture and been so willing to post it before I lost the 40 pounds I never announced because I didn’t know the number until my nurse practitioner told me at my last visit and which I have been obsessing about ever since. Would I have done it when I had a huge belly pooch even when I was sucking it in?

Probably not.

So maybe there is still work to be done.

We launch August 1.

Will you join me?

 

First Day of Kindergarten. July 20, 2012.

 

I expected tears. And clinging.

And begging. “Please don’t go!”

I expected feet stomping and balled up fists and squinty-mad eyes to delay the process. After all, it’s worked before.

Today is Buttercup’s first day of kindergarten here in Arizona. And I expected hell and mood swings and hand baskets. We may have two years of preschool under our belts, but that was different. She had supervised potty trips and only 12 kids in her classroom and the school day was only three hours and the school week was only four days.

This? Today? It’s the big time, people. This is elementary school with independent trips to the bathroom and 24 friends to make and a full day of school that starts before 8 a.m. and a school week like the big kids where they go Monday through Friday like the days Mommas and Daddy’s work because that’s what big kids do.

This time it’s different because it’s kindergarten and that’s a major milestone and her having asked me sweetly if I could please sleep next to her last night, maybe because she wanted to gather the courage she needed to draw from today as she slept in my arms, is probably why the unexpected happened instead.

I expected tears this morning when she waved at me as she walked into her classroom with her first day of school outfit and her new big kid back pack and an entire day to learn and explore and experience. But I was surprised. As the door closed behind her, I was beaming, proud of my growing girl, and walked back to my car.

I hadn’t shed a tear.

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