This was a difficult photo to post. For years, heck decades, I felt as if my self-worth was defined by how flat my stomach was. I always walked around sucking in my tummy, not eating or drinking before going to the beach or if I was wearing something more form fitting. I went to extreme lengths to make sure I lost whatever extra weight I thought I was carrying around. I would constantly punish myself for every roll and fold. It was exhausting but it was the only world that I knew. After having my girl, things were never quite the same and my body changed. I struggled a lot with that. But then I realized that I had a daughter to set an example for and that I needed to work on me if I was going to make sure she did not live in the hell (and I don't exaggerate) that I lived in for so long.
This was a big reason why I returned to school and why helping others is such a passion and drive for me. I never want anyone to feel imprisoned by their thoughts like I was, wherever you are in your journey. And over the last year I found a community of men and women who have inspired me so much. They have helped me to realize that I am so much more than the size of my stomach. They have taught me that I am worth more than the negativity that I fed myself. And that is where I now choose to be. I still have those thoughts, but I am stronger and can fight past them. Please don't let your thoughts and emotions imprison you like they did me. And if you find yourself in that place, just know that there is someone who has been there and will be there to fight with you to find the light-because it is there and you deserve it too.