I'm no skinny minnie. And yes, I'm quite alright with that.  I have a fairly round booty and I'm proud to say that it still stands up pretty nicely. I have round hips that became ever more round after I had my daughter. The mommy-spread. That's what I call it. I have stretch marks on my tummy - and while I certainly have not always loved them, I've made my peace with them.  So much so that I no longer refer to my tummy as my "used grocery bag" (because that's what I felt it resembled). It's now simply - MY TUMMY. Plain and simple. Nothing negative about it. Nothing ugly about it. It's just my tummy - place where I hold all things delicious like lasagna, filet mignon, Ben n' Jerry's Chubby Hubby ice cream, and babies.  See....here's my tummy. 

That was taken 4 days before I gave birth, and is one of my all time favorite pictures. I was perfectly and wonderfully ROTUND! Ya could have rolled me all over town - and you know what? I've never felt more beautiful than in this very picture. 

Until now. 

A month ago I was invited by Miss Jes Baker (aka The Militant Baker, aka Body Love Goddess) to participate in an upcoming project called EXPOSE:2014. The project would involve me, my tatas, a pair of black panties, and a camera. I didn't even hesitate. I was in like Flynn and not afraid to show my skin.  Sixteen days ago I did something I NEVER would have done a year ago. I did it for 36 year old me. The me who is strongresilientemporweredHAPPY. And I did it for 16 year old me who always felt fatslovenlyuglydismissablepissedoffINVISIBLE. And I did it for 21 year old me who ate until she could no longer breathe, and then shoved my finger down my throat religiously as I prayed to the good Lord above to just please, one day, let me be SKINNY. And I did it for every single woman, and every singly person who identifies as a woman - so that they would know what I now know. 

We. Are. Beautiful. 

Every single stretch mark that shows a life lived with good food and beautiful babies is beautiful. Every damn line in your "crows feet" eyes that show years and years of belly laughs is beautiful. Every deep line in your forehead that shows long nights of studying or worrying or a lifetime of people yelling "SURPRISE" is beautiful. The scars from getting bigger boobs, and the scars from getting smaller boobs - yup. Those are beautiful too.  Ya know why?

Because is it is WHO.WE.ARE.

So anyways - enough of my rant.  Here is what I did 16 days ago. 

And here is SOME of what 95 other amazinggorgeousfantasticlovingempoweringINSPIRING women did too.

It was incredible. But even incredible is too soft of a word to truly describe it. I did this knowing that I can truly tell my daughter now that she has absolutely NOTHING to ever be ashamed about. Not her wheelchair. Not her twisted tibia. Not her left Lady Gaga shoe. Not her inability to form full sentences (yet). Nothing. Not a damn thing. She is beautiful as she is - because her body is HERS.  

I am damn proud of the woman I am, and even more proud (and excited) about the woman I'm becoming. My mom once told me you come alive at 36. Truth be told, I wish I hadn't waited so long.

Read the piece written by Jes Baker. Her take on this event is absolutely beautiful. And see the FULL PROJECT shot by the incredible photographer with a sparkly soul, Miss Liora K.

If you take nothing else from this blog post, I ask that you take this:

You, as you are, right now, at this very moment, are beautiful. 

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