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Feb 15, 2010

Comments

bink & boo

I love this post, thank you for writing it and thanks for sharing your insecurities.

It has been a year since I gave birth to my beautiful little boy and I still haven't lost the baby weight. I feel so judged by other women/moms. I seem to end up in conversations of women bragging about the weight falling off, and their bodies being better then before they gave birth. Sometimes I feel like they are just rubbing it in my face. Living in SoCal there is a lot of pressure to "look good" but I have never given into that...until now. Ugh I wish I could just have it sucked off and out of me. WAIT, I CAN! Just kidding.

P.S. I just wanted to let you know I think you are beautiful. I love your hair and I think your freckles are fun!

ira

Jena, IMHO this is the most interesting article from you
I'm far from perfect and I love myself!:)

fernfiddlehead

I was made fun of a lot as a kid for the shape of my head (see flickr photo below), if you can believe that. Not much you can do to change that. I am pushing 50 and do not worry about my head. I have two daughters. I cringed when reading how that woman spoke of her daughter. Thanks for sharing this.

Account Deleted

Jena, Your ability to be comfortable in your own skin shows in the gorgeous pictures for your vintage shop! Exuding confidence and flashing a genuine smile make everyone look amazing!
I know a woman who recently expressed indignation at "not getting laid" while others in a mutual group of friends she deemed "fatter and lesser attractive" were. Her very statement summed up her ugly attitude which ALWAYS ends up showing through.

Down and Out Chic

i remember asking my mom before going to bed (regularly) if i could have a lip 'reduction'. it was most certainly my biggest insecurity growing up, but i've learned to love them and i'm so glad i had a smart mom who told me "one day you'll find them beautiful b/c they are." now, finally, i agree with her.

Carrie

Great post Jena. I have plenty of insecurities about myself and my appearance (I can so relate to the curly hair!). It wasn't until I was firmly in my 40's that I finally threw in the towel and became comfortable with the way I am. I'll never wear skinny jeans and I'll never have sleek hair, and I'm okay with it.

I think getting to the point where you are comfortable in your own skin is one of the most beautiful traits anyone can have. That confidence just oozes out of people with it, and screams to the world. And that, my friend, is beauty & happiness.

Laura.

ack, i love it! i feel the SAME WAY, with the epiphany experience. it does take too much energy to hate all the things about me that i don't like! it's also (as always) so great to read a little more about YOU and your thoughts, so thanks for sharing!
i had a college roommate who had the most beautiful freckles and she covered them up with cakey orange makeup, it was really sad. i have a strange condition called duane syndrome (kind of like a lazy eye) and was called me cross-eyed until i went to college. it was something i was always incredibly self-conscious of, until someone i didn't know very well complimented me on the COLOR of my eyes! it was a complete turn-around and amazing to me that someone would notice something about my eyes beside the fact that one of them doesn't move as far as normal. there's always a flip-side.
have you read alreadypretty.com? she talks about self-love and body image a lot, and after reading her blog for about a year, i have a really positive voice in the back of my head now, most all the time.

kelzuki

thank you for this. i am working on getting to where you are.... almost to my last year of college too, so maybe it will happen for me soon. i yo-yo back and forth with how i feel about myself.

but this was really inspiring. it is always surprising to hear of other people's insecurities- you are so beautiful, it's hard to imagine where any such doubts would come from. something to remember! thank you very much for writing this.

karen

We put ourselves through so much as women. We have to be great mothers, wives, friends, girlfriends, and look flawless too. There are a ton of outside forces to blame but in the end we can only blame ourselves if we continue to ingest all the rules that don't allow us to just be our beautiful selves. I feel sorry for that woman's daughter, but I feel almost as sorry for the woman herself. It's not unique to her, those thoughts, and she may never know what she is doing to her daughter. I'm far from perfect in viewing my "imperfections" but you're right, it requires energy that I could use for better things. Here's to my skinny hips and broad shoulders.

tinypaperheart

what a beautiful entry.

Jody

brilliant. so true. so telling. thoughtful. i am thankful. happy monday to you.

In Honor Of Design

beautiful post.
I have freckles too, which is odd for being hispanic....I used to think they were a bad show of the sun, but then I realized I got them from my mother....and that made them beautiful.
I realized that the things I was most insecure about my husband loved the most-which made me realize, I was wasting to much time caring. God loves each of his creations-his masterpieces...when we can accept that, we can live confidently:)

Lisa {milkshake}

Wonderful post, Jena. I used to be very self-conscious about my body before I had my daughter. Then I realized that whatever I told myself about my body were things my beautiful, smart, creative little girl may someday tell herself. A friend of mine once put her hand on my belly and said, "this is where you grew your baby. Be thankful for it." Puts things into perspective!

I never say bad things about my body in front of my daughter, and if someone else talks bad about themselves in front of her, I make sure we talk about it afterwards. That is one of my biggest pet peeves.

Anissa

jena, thank you so much for this post! my hair is naturally curly too and for years i would do anything to get rid of them! i would spend so much time straightening and blowdrying my hair to perfection. then one day i woke up late for school and didn't have the time to flatten out my curls. i felt like i looked awful but when i got to school, i received some compliments from my straight haired friends and i realized that it wasn't worth all of the time and energy b/c there are people who would love to have natural curls. so now i just embrace them and i couldn't tell you when the last time was that my hair wasn't in spirals:)

mommymae

jena,

your mama was right. you are utterly beautiful & i'm glad for you that you know this. i think it's such an important lesson that our daughters (and sons) learn to love themselves and to revel in their unique beauty.

while i don't have a ton of insecurities & never have, i do have more wrinkles than i'd like since i didn't take care of my skin when i was a pool rat. my 4 children have blessed me with a small map of stretch marks on my belly, but i wouldn't have the marks without the babies, so i'll take it. one thing that i wish would hurry up and get here is the white hair sprouting on my head. my dad has gorgeous silver hair & i want it NOW.

kenzie

I love your freckles and hair. So beautiful! I have a hard time because I have an identical twin, and right now we are 5-10lb different. No one would notice if you gained 5 lb, unless your clone was standing right next you, and you're the fat twin. I've come a long way from being too worried about that. Finally getting over it.

Sarah

thank you so much for this post, it made my monday.

Janelle

When I was a kid, I would always get called so many names.

But now, I just don't care and it is so freeing.

I like my slightly crooked nose that isn't as big as I thought it was. I love my long and graceful fingers. I like my skinny arms and teeny shoulders, even though purses will always fall off. I love my "bigfoot" feet. It's just so much easier to feel good about yourself than constantly being down on your own looks.

Ryan

I've always loved my own freckles too!

Tiny B

Hi Jena,

This is a beautiful poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins. You may already know it. If not, I hope you enjoy it. It's called "Pied Beauty".

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Monica

Jena, Embrace the things that make you... you. Your hair, your freckles, your lips. Its all part of a wonderful package that is uniquely you. At 34, I have finally gotten to that point myself and its a wonderful liberating feeling. I also realized, that many of my "flaws" come from my family. I got my crooked ears from my Mum who got them from her Dad. Its part of what ties us together. They are such amazing people that it makes me proud to sport my crooked ears.

p.s. my husband is covered in freckles and I always tell him he is covered in freckly goodness :)

Valerie Williams

Jena, this is such a wonderful post! I hear you on the curly hair and the big lips, and may I add to my list my big thighs and my never-will-be-completely-flat stomach.

But I had the same epiphany that you did, that it is just too hard to hate yourself all the time, and that once you start believing that you are beautiful, the world follows pretty quickly.

Thanks for sharing your story & I hope everyone out there is careful what they say around the young people in their lives.

Hannah C

Lovely post. It is so true!

Molly Piper

My husband is freckled, and I love it! He as a man still deals with being insecure about them from time to time.

After 3 pregnancies, my body does not look at all like it did when I was 24. I struggle with comparing my not-so-flat stomach to other women.

Loved the line about the exhaustion of hating so much about yourself. So true.

Angela

What a nice post. It is not always easy to be interracial. I am glad you learned to appreciate your beauty. BTW, my nephew has the same gorgeous red hair as you!

Beth H

Thanks for sharing Jena & everyone! I think we all have body-image issues to some degree. For me, it's my thick ankles. I've always wished I had the kind of skinny, defined ankles that look cute in sneakers with no socks. I do not, but I've finally gotten over it - with the help of a very sweet husband who couldn't care less about my "cankles" & tells me "at least you'll never break your ankle!" with a grin. He also points out the features he loves best about me, which have helped me see that I am beautiful & the things he appreciates about my body are often the same things I am most self-conscious about. I may have "cankles," but I also have a lovely, curvy feminine shape & a pretty face that I am happy to see in the mirror (most of the time!). We all need to stop being so hard on ourselves! Beauty comes in all kinds of packages.

renee

I did the same thing with my teeth and in high school got them bonded (aka, enameled to close the gap) and now wish I hadn't. It's one more thing to keep up with and one less authentic thing about myself.
But that's part of high school, huh?
I still worry about my ice cream butt :)

renee

(I meant with the rubber bands, trying to close up the gap) toooo much coffee. . .

Helle

This post rocks...:). I sometimes (quite often) totally ruin my day because of a...pimple...or because I feel fat...or just ugly...and I'm not even a teenager anymore. Your post really did inspire me to try to finally stop doing this to myself...life is too wonderful to be wasted on hating and disliking and worrying...
And I love curls soooo much, you're lucky...:)

Evie from ePost-College Working Girl

HA! Thank you so much for writing this post! I am a fellow freckled girl, and while my two front teeth are butt buddies they are so close, the two teeth beside them are a little "wonky" for lack of a better term. I actually would mold paper clips into the shape of a retainer when I was little in hopes that it would work and straighten out my teeth. I, like you, am obviously over this period of dis-satisfaction with my looks, and have even found that there are plenty of guys out there who are suckers for freckles!!

nightowlcraftworks

Great post! It really hits home. I was the flat chested skinny girl. Skinny... horrible thing to complain about, right? Well. It is terrible for people to tell you are skinnier than Ethiopians (not funny). It didn't help that my last name was Head. You can imagine the teasing. Sometimes they said things to me I didn't even understand.

I am comfortable with myself now. Still skinny & flat chested. And proud. And loved by a beautiful man.

Now it's my daughter who is my little "mini me". She's 13. She comes home crying because kids call her anorexic. She could eat a gallon of ice cream every day and not gain anything. She's just thin. She is so pretty and has such a great spirit, it's hard to watch it being broken. It's worse than when it happened to me. I love her so much.

daisy janie

Such beautiful writing and insightful thoughts. I grew into liking myself, too. I wish we could keep the happy-go-lucky, oblivious prepubescent visions of ourselves b/c something sure does change when you get to 7th grade. I don't know if I would have known those things about myself if some smartass kids in Jr. High hadn't pointed them out as a bad thing.

From your skinny-small-boobed-gap-toothed-freckled-curly-haired-red-headed-big-footed friend on the East Coast!
(mocked for all of the above)(also straightened the hell out of my hair and wore rubberbands from friends' braces on my front teeth!)

Anjuli A

I hear ya! It took me a while to accept my body for what it is, and really be thankful for all the good parts! I used to hate my wide hips (now happy for curves), my brown skin (now happy I don't get burned and am naturally tan), my nose "bump" (it's character!), my "untidy" brows (now I pluck, but never need eyebrow pencil!) and many other things that I've realized nobody notices but me. I actually developed freckles on my nose in my early twenties (unusual for a half-white/half-sri lankan girl) but it turns out I really like them! Maybe there's always somebody who has the opposite of what you have, wishing they were more like you... so I can be happy with the things I have! (most of the time at least)

Trude

So, so poignant and true. Some people just never get to that point where they can embrace who they are, and it's sad but you can bring a horse to water...right? I've got a ton of freckles all over my body, mostly arms and chest and face, although they've faded a bit with time (and staying out of the sun a lot, thanks to seeing my mom deal with skin cancer). I was never really self conscious about them though - probably because my mom was always so careful to make me feel beautiful, I owe her so much for that. The big thing when I was a kid was body hair. I can remember being made fun of my tons of arm hair when I was in grade school. I'm Norwegian, almost 100%, and we are a hairy people that need to keep warm! Luckily it's blonde, but I'm still pretty self-conscious about it - although never to the point of shaving arm hair or anything. :) But at this point in my life, I've completely embraced the fact that I'm extremely pale, don't look good tan, have a huge smile and big lips, blonde hair that will never hold a curl and it's all good because it makes me unique. <3

Amy Chapman

I have always been jealous of women with freckles! Im such a plain Jane and would love to have something different about myself.

Emily

What a beautifully written post with such awesome sentiment!

I'm 4'11 and 3/4 tall (but 5'0 if anyone asks...) I cried in the 9th grade when a bone doctor I went to see for very minor scoliosis told me I had finished growing (he was right). I still can't see at concerts and am referred to as "little emily" on a very regular basis... but I've definitely learned to embrace it. It even inspired the name of my blog :)

lisa teso

Such an incredibly beautiful post - so glad you got up at 4am to let your mind work.

Thank you so much for sharing this, its going to help us readers a lot more then you know :)

xo,
lisa

kendal croix

i have always been jealous of people with freckles.

Belinda

What you have just written makes you so beautiful without me ever having looked at you. Thank you, this was something I needed right now.

The Little Things

Beautifully written - life is just too short to be worrying about what we look like! We just need to get out there and enjoy it.

Mandy

The best thing that I can think of is "ditto" to pretty much everything said here.

Freckles? Check. Pale White? Check. Over 40? Check. Still have a few things that I want to change? Check. Starting to get grey hair? Check. Comfortable with myself? Very definitely.

Penny

Hooray for freckles & curls! Although, this Summer I even have freckles on my feet which is weird. There are just a few, so it makes them look like they've got dirt on them!

So, I guess I do still wish for less freckles, on my feet!

Gloria B.

I have always wished for freckles. I think they are so interesting and make whoever has them look SO cute! (in fact, the freckles on my fiance's nose where one of the things that first endeared him to me). I have super straight hair that is flat and dull - I would LOVE to have a head full of curly hair like you do! I am also very white and I feel so "standard" and "vanilla". Beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder...so while you feel different and unaccepted (or used to anyway), I see someone who is exotic and different (I blend into the wall!) But, our appearence is mostly the luck of the draw and maybe we should worry about the inside more than the outside. I think that is the only way to truly be happy with what God and our parents gave us.

Amy

This is amazing! I think there are so many of us that struggle with things we don't even realize we struggle with. For me, it was always my hair. I always wanted to have the opposite of what I had. I bleached it, chopped it, dyed it with every guy I dated & broke up with. I decided to quit after going from light blonde to dark brownish red & still felt so empty and dark inside. I let my natural color come back, slowly, and tried to find hope and joy in things other than appearance, food, and men. I'm praying God will continue to restore me.

alli

I HOPE YOU GET TO MINE!!!Jena, you are beautiful and right. what makes you UNIQUE is what makes you stand out. I started reading your blog and was like, HEY ( a little)she's LIKE ME!! I ALWAYS had insecurites but like 31 flavors mine is a little different. Your hair is like mine, super curly except mine is black. I was always teased because growing up TRI-RACIAL in a black neighborhood, people used to tease me about my hair. What ARE YOU??? I used to wrap it in an African headwrap so people would stop asking me questions. I'm African/Native American and white(?jewish) OK??? I was too skinny because everybody in my family was fat. or guys said I was a too white/light and girls and guys said i wasn't black enough. HELLO? what do I do. So i had to accept my skinny body, mocha brown skin, curly crazy hair, thin lips, and native american/english nose.OK? Quiet as it's kept I used to love my hair, b/c it;s what makes me UNIQUE. people stopped teasing me.But It took me AWHILE to learn God created me this way for a reason and it is beautiful. ALL of it!! Be blessed.

grahamgam

Thanks for this post. I still struggle to embrace what makes me unique. One of the biggest insecurities is my nose. I struggle with thinking it's too big and broad. I know that it is a superficial thing. I hope one day I over come it.

Ruerenee.blogspot.com

I'm a new reader. You have a beautiful blog!

Wanett

I think I still struggle with being a part of the small boobs club ;o)
I think I am (finally) to the point where I love my big eyes, a source of MUCH teasing while growing up. I fight my insecurities every day so that I don't pass them onto my girls. It would break my heart to see them struggle, but I know it can't be completely avoided. Accepting yourself is a right of passage for everyone, but I refuse to add to it by pointing out their "flaws" and laughing at their dreams.

k

What a wonderful post to read right after Valentine's day. If anyone is still feeling insecure and 'down' because the romance holiday fell flat for them, this will cure their blues. I'm tempted to print this out and tape it to my bathroom mirror so I can be more forgiving of my own wild curly hair and ghostly pale complexion.

Brenda

I loved your post, Jena! And I absolutely love your hair and freckles - always wanted a glorious crown of curls like yours! I've been hit with it all: 5'11", had a crossed eye in grade school, loathed my crooked front tooth that shows when I smile (we couldn't afford braces when we were kids), too skinny as a kid, now too generously curved as an adult, "four eyes," "jolly green giant," etc. I learned to stand tall and proud, smile anyway darn it, went back to my glasses after contacts bothered me too much, embraced my straight hair after years of perms. I'm now learning to embrace my inevitable signs of making it this far in life with grace and self love. Which I remind myself of every time I see more wrinkles ...

We girls are constantly barraged by unrealistic and expensive "shoulds" - I'm loving a recent increase in media about loving ourselves as we are, and from a young age.

sillylittlelady

My freckles never bothered me, in fact, I didn't even know that I had any until college and people started saying things about them. I guess because I see myself all the time, I don't see the freckles. But I do see my crooked teeth. I hate them, they still make me uncomfortable and self-conscious, but my partner likes them and that is helping me to overcome my insecurities :D

Marissa L.

What a great post! I think many women can relate to this, I don't know what it is about early self hatred in girls but it seems fairly universal. Seems that even the ones that seemed so self assured at the time had their own issues.

For me it was my skin color, lips and nose. I got teased for being biracial with darker skin and having thicker lips. I seriously looked into bleaching my skin and I walked around sucking my lower lip in. I didn't really get teased for it but I was horribly self conscious about being flat chested. I have no idea where the nose thing came from, I have a pretty average looking nose and never got teased about it. And it is totally true that as an adult those things that I thought were the most ugly about me are possibly my best physical features.

And after having been pregnant and nursing and going from a B (I was a AA as a teen) to a DD I can easily say that cleavage is overrated because big breasts are uncomfortable.

shana

you. are. awesome.

melissa.098@gmail.com

Wow, what a wonderful post. I found it through Twitter. I'm also a redhead with freckles, although my sister got the curls and the fire-red. I still deal with things, and fight the deep down nagging voice, but have come to accept and love the way I look. It's a wonderful thing to accept my uniqueness and I plan to teach my daughter (someday) to love herself.

Julie

What an awesome post! You and I have very much in common! I too have naturally curly hair, which I used to just hate. I'd do anything to straighten it and also had a few burns on my scalp and forehead from a hair stylist who wasn't paying close enough attention while chemically straightening my hair. I used to have a gap in between my two front teeth, which is completely gone now, but I remember how much I used to hate it (went away on it's own, not sure how, but it did). I have tons of freckles as well, and I'm always amazed when people comment on my freckles, because I never really notice them it's just "me"...but upon closer inspection I am amazed that I don't notice them, because I do have a lot! But all of those things I used to hate about myself while growing up, I cherish now and embrace. They make me me and I'm happy to be who I am. Just wish I could have cherished them earlier on in life. But what's done is done, I'm glad I'm no longer wishing "me" away and am now enjoying every part of me!

Sarah Westervin

When I was little, I desperately wanted a face full of freckles, curly strawberry-blond hair, little pink glasses (even though my vision was fine) and braces (because the older kids had them, so they must be cool).

I hate to be cliché, but beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

amanda

Brilliant post! I am a fair skinned freckle face, and used to hate my freckles when I was little, and my uber pale skin seeing as being tan was all the rage through the 80's and 90's. And I of course developed a few sunburns in hopes to attain a gorgeous golden bronze that never quite showed up:)
But I too have since learned to like or at least accept these things about me, I have actually met people who were jealous of my freckles!? :)
Oh and in college I had a shirt that had a picture of a strawberry with a face on it and said "Freckle Face Strawberry" wore it with pride!

Angela

I did the exact same thing with those tiny rubber bands when I was a kid. Now that I've had braces, gotten them removed, and had a permanent retainer put it in, I wish I had that gap back. Now I think it made me look like Lauren Hutton, and that was a good thing. I miss that gap.

Arlie

thank you for this. it made me feel a world of difference today :)

NMWELLS

Ooooh this is a good subject for me!
I hated my big.... nose, ears, & feet! I grew into all of them! And now I LOVE MY NOSE BECAUSE IT FITS MY FACE, AND I LOVE MY EARS BECAUSE I HAVE A SUPER SHORT HAIR CUT AND MY EARS JUST DO SOMETHING FOR THE WHOLE CUT! AND THE BIG FEET, WELL... I'M STILL LEARNING TO LOVE. BUT WHAT'S TO LOVE ABOUT BIG & WIDE??? (Oh and I forgot about my big lips, but I'm grown now, I'm to sexy with the big lips! NO COLLAGEN BABY )

Hannah

Thank you so much for this post. I was a ballet dancer as a teenager up until my first year of college, but I have curves just like my mother. I hated them because they weren't the dance "ideal", and I wanted to be thinner in hope of hiding my natural curves. I got very skinny but I am simply not built like a typical ballerina. I gave up dance and later pursued photography instead (which I know now is what I meant to do), and now that I have birthed and nursed a baby I realize the beauty in my own body.

Catherine Chandler

Thank you so much for this post! While I may not be a red head, or have curly hair, or freckles, I find all of those things absolutely beautiful. And you, my dear, are stunning. I myself am a bit boring...a bit of a plain woman who dresses comfortably, but with enough style. I never seem to fit in anywhere perfectly, which is fine by me. That's always allowed me to have friends in many circles. I always find it strange when people hate the things that make them stand out...how I have always wanted to have something that makes me stand out! Kids used to call me a poser when I tried harder to make a certain genre stick (i.e. punk, industrial, hippie, etc.) and they were right...those weren't me. The thing that makes me wonderful is that I can work many situations and make many friends in many places.

Jenai

Your post took me by surprise because anytime that I've seen your picture in your posts I've always said to myself, that you are such a beautiful person. I love your freckles and the red curly hair. I never understood as a kid why red heads hated their hair or why people picked on them. I always wished for my hair to be as beautiful as the colors I've seen on red heads. And curls to boot! Love curly hair. I remember paying big bucks in high school (late 80's) for a spiral curl. It was cute, but such a pain in the butt and way too much money. Never again did I bother with that.

I volunteer with a youth group that mentors young girls and I have a few whose parents don't have the money or interest in helping the girls with their hair. It makes them so insecure that it is really heart breaking. One girl has had too many bad perms that her hair has broken off so short and the texture has been fried. She usually wears a hooded sweatshirt and keeps the hood over her head. All I can do is try to remind her that she is beautiful, intelligent, and special and anyone who says different doesn't belong in her circle of friends.

I wish every parent would work hard to raise children who care enough for others feelings that they would never think to hurt another persons feelings by teasing them or saying ugly things. Our society places too much importance on looks and what we as a whole think is beautiful.

Thanks for this post and giving us all something to think about.

Oh I almost forgot to mention what I used to be insecure about. My name, as a child used to really bother me. I grew up in a small rural town and unusual names were not common. Teachers would pronounce my name wrong during roll call, people would ask me "What kind of name is that?". I had no middle name so I couldn't even use that to escape my 1st name. Now, as I am older, I have learned to appreciate it, especially as I tend to enjoy not being like everyone else and many times get complimented on my name. People may not remember my face, but they won't forget hearing my name.

ann

this is a wonderful post. i have insecurities about my height. i'm 5'1", 105 pounds, 26 years old, and get called a teenager all the time. i know when i'm 40 i'll appreciate it, but it sometimes affects my job. people don't take me seriously so there's part of me that overcompensates by being slightly bitchy, which shouldn't have to happen to get something done! my mom always said that everyone would have a hard time treating me like a grown up but i think she has the hardest time of all...
i wouldn't trade my short stature for anything, because i truly think i would be less "ann" if i were any different.
thanks for the post!

rowena

I'm with you 100%. I am so tired of the way women and the media focus on how we are not enough, on how we don't look right and must be less or more or different, pay for something to make us beautiful. I wish we could accept our differences as what makes us beautiful.

I'll never be tall and leggy and sylph-like. But maybe I can love being curvy and petite and just who I am.

Kristen- Marinade Handmade

I've always been tall and carried a little more weight in my booty and thighs than I wanted... I've always been self conscious of my body--even when I was very thin. I guess the insecurities never go away unless you learn to accept who you are at any stage. You also have to stop comparing yourself to others to be successful at this. It's not easy and I struggle with it everyday. I always feel like I could be just a little more toned, but am not as concerned about weight as I used to be. I also feel like doing the things that make my body feel good like yoga, long walks, eating well, changes my perspective of all of that too. I am currently heavier than I have been in a long while and have been working to lose a little weight and tone up before I get married in September...however, I went and tried on wedding dresses last weekend and found the perfect one--I never felt better! Now I am actually struggling with whether or not I even want to lose the weight-- that's how good I looked in the dress! Amazing how little things like that can help with confidence... Anyway, I know I am loved no matter how thin I am, so I am working really hard to be okay with the here and now...

drsmoothdeath

my dear i've loved you from day one, just the way you are.

Stacey

I went through an extremely awkward period around the age of 13. My face size had not caught up with my eyes and the kids would call me "guppie". Now, I am appreciative of my large eyes and get compliments on their expressiveness and depth.

P.S. Jena, I think that you are stunningly beautiful.
Great post!

lani

wow this is beautiful,
as are you.
moved me to tears.
thank you.

jen

you are so spot on with this. it is so difficult to see oneself clearly. there's a lot of social garbage in the way.

but i have to say this post made me laugh, too, because you are sooo gorgeous! and i didn't know they even MADE spf 70 sunscreen!

Elisa

Loved reading this, Jenna! It's wonderful. Man, I have crazy, crazy thick curly hair and got teased so much too. I know exactly how you feel. I even got it straightened in high school and it looked terrible. You do get to a point in life where you just have to embrace your own unique qualitites.

Thanks for writing this - it's such a good reminder.

Tikki

Lovely post- I am so with you. I straightened my hair to death before embracing my fabulous, crazy curls. Love your blog!

iamchanelle

oh, what a sweet and lovely post. thank you.
i have been insecure about too many things to list here for my entire life. i am almost twenty-eight years old now, and finally coming to the realization that i am directly complaining to God when i hate parts of myself.

this is how i was made. how i am. and i am Loved.
and that is enough for me.

:)

betsy and iya

J,

Oh my, I just lost it---streams down my cheeks. Your post and then all the comments that followed were unbelievably inspiring. Besides being drop dead gorgeous, you're a darn good writer. I am so MOVED right now, I can barely express myself!

I wanted to point out something very important:
I think we often forget to look past the surface. I mean that most of that teasing and poking and ugliness comes from the same exact feeling that it perpetuates; Usually someone only makes fun because it makes them feel better about their own insecurities. It's a sad vicious cycle.

I completely agree, the way to battle this is to embrace who we are and to encourage others to embrace who THEY are and fight with an iron fist participating in any negativity that breeds this behavior---even if it's just a joke.

i love you, j. so beautiful. so strong. so inspiring. you blew something open with this post. so refreshing.

xo~b

Michelle

I appreciate the honesty of this post
I wonder sometimes how this ever
happened, that we feel like we are
not good enough or that we have to
compare ourselves to others.
How did our society become so
judgemental? I have struggled with
my weight all my life and had
thought that being overweight equals being unattractive. I am finally learning that I have to love the person inside this
body and take care of her and when
I do that, the bad body image can
melt away. It is not easy to reverse
a lifetime of negative self talk, but
it is worth it!
Thank you for the wonderful post! <3

Stephanie

I love this post, you put it so well. I use to hate my pale skin, freckles and red hair. Sometime in high school I had the same realization that it is the things that make you different that also make you beautiful. I am still working on loving my naturally big and curly hair though!

plaisirs simples

i honestly think that the majority of people look best with what god gave them and with a little makeup. if your hair is curly, it looks too forced straight...if you have a big nose, it probably is symetrical with YOUR face. embrace what you've been given! and good for you for rising above anyone ELSE's insecurities!

katie s.

ten years ago this coming may, i had a baby boy. i was 19, and not ready to be a mom, and had a very supportive family and friends. i gave my baby boy to another family to be raised. all these years later and things couldn't be better - he's happy, we're all close, i've gotten married and gone to grad school and all is well. but every day, i loathe the stretch marks all over my saggy belly. i keep working on accepting that part of me, but it still doesn't stick :)

jessie

I'm with you, I had the same issues growing up, including being accused of having an eating disorder. I felt like I was all angles and bones when everyone else seemed to develop womanly curves. It's so easy to be self-conscious about the very things that make us unique.

Cyn

It's a mystery to me why all of us girls do this to ourselves. Maybe struggling to like how we look is a necessary step to becoming who we really are.

And if you work on it, I will say that the older you get the more you appreciate YOU.

Lauren

This was so incredibly moving to read. Thank you so much for sharing such an intimate post with us!

There were so many things I didn't like about myself as a teen and I will never forget being teased mercilessly in school by the bullies. It got to the point that despite being a straight A student, I wanted to drop out of high school.

But now that I'm 32, it's thankfully hard to care about having cellulite or a crooked nose or any of the numerous other "imperfections" I may have. I'm definitely going to keep going to the gym and taking care of myself, but I have no desire to change me into something else. I won't pretend like I'm not insecure sometimes, but I don't really have the time to focus on the negative.

Kudos to everyone else who's on the path to loving themselves as they really are. You guys are beautiful!

cheryl

thanks for sharing dear (: you're gorgeous, don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.

much love,
cheryl

lily

You are one exceptionally gorgeous and smart woman!

I just found your blog, and... If it's any indication of how much I love it, well let's just say is now 5:59am and I have been reading for several hours now.

I have freckles, too. My freckles are located specifically on the apples of my cheeks and on the bridge of my nose. In spite of what some people have decided to share with me, I've always loved my freckles; I totally don't understand why [some] people dislike freckles.

When I was in kindergarten, I thought my voice sounded too deep, husky and "mannish" compared to other girls. So I rarely spoke.

In elementary school I was called half-breed, mutt and mulatto. When I was in the 2nd grade, a boy in the schoolyard pushed me to the ground and told me that maybe if I "scrubbed my skin properly it wouldn't be the colour of s&#*. I got up, socked him in the face and told him his personality was s&#*.

When I was 13, my ballet instructor would use her cane to tap my backside with. This was her way of reminding me to tuck my pelvis under to "correct" the curve in my lower back and, as she would say, "to keep my backside from protruding so much and looking vulgar". I told her, her attitude was vulgar and never returned to her class again.


I was, how do you say, a scrappy and slightly tomboy-ish kind of girl.

No matter how many retorts I was able to lash deserving parties with, their negative words and comments did affect my self-image. For a few years I straightened my hair and would walk with my pelvis tucked under and then one day... I was just tired of it all.

Actually within the past several years I've come to embrace [everything about] myself. I don't know what specifically triggered this change. I honestly believe that I had exhausted myself into acceptance. When I have my bad days and nothing seems to fit/look/feel right, I have a wonderful boyfriend who never lets me forget that I’m beautiful. Nonetheless, I have been getting pretty good at reminding myself of this too.

Lily

All the things that I used to despise and torture myself about, I now cherish.

Sadly, my hair is no longer as curly as it used to be. My once tight tendrils are nothing more than a sea of dull waves now. I would give anything to have the curls back -- to hair as gorgeous as yours!

Everything about you is stunning!


Ok, I'm off to bed now. LOL.


lily

We should all think more like Jessica here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR3rK0kZFkg

jessica

My glorious freckles give my daughter something to count when we patiently wait in line. What on earth would she do if I didn't have them?

Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty - they merely move it from their faces into their hearts. ~Martin Buxbaum

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