I’m going to state that I strongly dislike bikini photos online, as I’ve ranted about many times. I’m also going to negate myself and do exactly that right here, right now. This picture was taken yesterday, and I was looking at it before I went to bed last night. I was so struck by the amount of joy that I had to get out of bed and write. beach
I managed to make it to the beach to meet my friends, but without a bathing suit top (ugh) so I rocked my friend’s rad Styx shirt because who doesn’t want to jump in the ocean when at the beach?! I was pretty proud of myself for having the gall to do so and then thought f:#$% it- and as a matter of fact, you’re welcome fellow beach goers. As photographically documented here, I doubled down on my audacity and was just about to launch into displaying my mad air guitar skills.
That joy emanating from my soul was hard earned. Instead of the typical female response to looking at pictures of ourselves going “OMG, I look fat”, I saw joy first, and it made me so happy. Yes, I’m pms bloated and have put on a few pounds the last couple months for a variety of reasons but lucky for me I know a great dietitian. I’m owning it, and strangely enough that’s the first time I didn’t have a meltdown of someone taking my picture when I’m in my bathing suit.
Timing is everything, and in my joyful epiphany last night realized a year ago this week I started therapy for the first time. I’ve spent the last year totally manhandling my  shit and I can say right now that it shows.   Going to therapy and really doing the work to heal was the most painful yet wonderful thing I’ve ever done. It was scary, it was sad, and it was super fucking hard but I did it.  While I’ve always considered myself a happy person, I had no idea just how joyful I could be until today.

I read all these campaigns about ‘real’ women, ‘real’ bodies, photos of women who had babies, lost tons of weight, or had some major physical transformation.  While I’m bothered sometimes that so many of them are in their underwear I’ve clearly come full circle. I thought to myself: what ‘group’ am I in? Not shockingly, I’m my own category.

This is a woman who is 39.
This is a woman who may or may not have children but is currently the best aunt ever.
This is a woman who finally claimed her self-esteem.
This is a woman who is a dietitian that (15 years ago) was really overweight .
This is a woman who just spent 2.5 months living with her bestie and helping her kick cancer’s ass.
This is a woman who worked through PTSD, anxiety, and panic disorder.
This is a woman who has really amazing friends and family that helped when she finally learned to ask for it.
This is a woman who loves so hard she’d squeeze the life out of you with hugs if her 5’3 frame would allow.
This is a woman who dwells in the emotional deep end and thinks small talk is just that – small.
This is a woman who will never stop believing that love will conquer all.
This. Is. Pure. Joy.

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