How My 3-Year-Old Gave me the Perspective to Accept My Body

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Perspective is something I’m working on these days.

I’ve lived with body image issues for as long as I can remember. I’ve never been small enough, skinny enough, or toned enough. There’s always something that I need to work on, whether it’s my belly, my arms, my thighs, my chest, or my back. Did I really just name every part of my body? Well, in all fairness, I think my calfs have always been just fine.

Now that I have a three-year-old, I’m starting to accept my body a bit more. Don’t get too excited too quickly. I said I’m starting to, not that I have fully accepted it. However, lately I have been having more okay days than worry days, so that’s something.

I’m starting to believe what people are talking about when they speak about bodies and perspective. I recently shared an article I saw on Scary Mommy called “Woman’s Side-By-Side Photos Prove Instagram ‘Perfection’ Is A Myth”. It was a wonderful article about a woman’s mission to dispel the idea that everything on social media is as it seems. Because it isn’t. And her side-by-side photos prove it.

The article got me thinking about my own body and my own self-image. It got me thinking to the two photos I purposely took while on vacation for this reason, but that I didn’t have the guts to share. I wanted to post about body-image and how easily we can be confused about what a person’s body actually looks like. But I just didn’t do it. I couldn’t do it.

Until now.

Today I have the guts. Today I will show my photos. Today I will bare my soul and conquer my fears and show you my insecurities. Why? Because I’ve lived with Body Dysmorphia for years. Because I am a mother and I need to display a healthy mindset about my body for my son’s sake. Because there are too many women out there who are too ashamed to be who they are (me being one of those women).

So, here I am. Photo on the left is with my son. In it I see larger thighs than I care to have. I see fat under my arm that needs to go. I see stubborn rolls on my side and back that I can’t seem to get rid of. Now, photo on the right was taken the exact same day, maybe ten minutes later. In it, I see a flat stomach. I see a bit of my rib cage (which, unfortunately, has always been a goal for me). I see no rolls and no cellulite. I am happy inside. I’d love to tell you that that is how I look all the time. But it’s not.

The only difference between these two photos other than the fact that I am holding my son in one of them, is that the photos are taken from different angles. Anyone can look slim when you take a selfie or a photo from high up.

I won’t lie and say I am at ease showing the world this. I won’t lie and tell you I am completely comfortable with baring my truths online. But I will tell you one truth, if there is one: This is me.

The real me.

I am wearing a bikini because my rational mind says it’s okay. Later on, I will wear a one piece because my irrational mind will tell me to cover up. I have a lot of work to do, but I’m a work in progress and I accept that.

My goal is to reach women of all shapes and sizes and let them know that it’s okay to be who you are. No one is perfect because there is no such thing as perfect.

Be kind. Be you. Be real.

Karen Szabo is a part-time worker by day, boy-mom by night, and blogger at any time in between. She’s doing her best to keep her sanity by writing about being an anxious mom. She’s contributes to The Mighty and has written for Sunshine Spoils Milk, Sammiches & Psych Meds, and ParentCo

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