On Wednesday, I did a thing. It was kind of a scary thing. It was definitely out of my comfort zone. From about 25 on, I have never had trouble doing things out of my comfort zone. Some of my best life experiences are because I jumped as far out of my bubble as I could.
There was a time in my life when I was quite skinny. All through high school, I was tiny. I went on birth control at 18, and my boobs grew, and then the rest of me followed. From 18 to 38, I have been back and forth with my weight. I’ve never been the same size as I was in high school, but I’ve never wanted to be that size. I’ve been up in weight, and down in weight, and up again. At times, I didn’t treat my body well: eating tons of fast food, drinking too much, and getting no exercise. Other times, I worked out every day, and counted EVERY SINGLE calorie. I didn’t hate doing it. I think I liked having control over something at that point in my life. I’ll never do it again.
Then I stopped. I lived. I drank and ate without worrying about the calories. I ate cake, and had ice cream. I got pregnant, and ate healthy, but still had treats. I had a baby, and tried to never worry about ‘getting my body back’ because it’s always been my body. Not only has it always been my body, but I grew a baby in it, and gave birth to a baby through emergency c-section. My body is amazing. It healed, and my body continued to be amazing. I was lucky enough to breastfeed my son for a year, to carry him, to rock him to sleep, to take him places. My body has never let me down. I’m not the weight I was ten years ago, but I’m healthy. I don’t need a flat belly to be healthy. I don’t need thighs that don’t rub together to be healthy. I don’t need to be hard on myself for enjoying life and food.
That’s not to say I don’t occasionally look at myself in the mirror and not love what I see. I think that’s true for any person no matter their size. I know that I eat healthy (while still allowing myself the delicious things in life), I know that I exercise. In fact, I exercise at a great place that I’ve already spoken about. Fitbump is a gym that is nothing but body positive. It’s a place for women to go and feel comfortable and happy about who they are. Counting calories and diets are NEVER a discussion because they don’t need to be. (If you need some great motivation and wonderful honesty about Mom life, follow Fitbump on Instagram and Facebook!)
In front of my friends, I’ve always been pretty good at self confidence. I’ve always been able to see the positives about myself. I didn’t always feel like that when I was by myself though. I faked the confidence. I still do. Some days, confidence takes a plunge when you have weight loss ads aimed at you through social media marketing, or when strangers on Instagram message you about what you do for exercise and eating? Would you EVER go up to a stranger on the street and ask them about their health and exercise goals? Hopefully not.
I’ve gone off on a tangent. This is only the introduction to what I did on Wednesday. My point right now is that even though I don’t always feel confident about what my body looks like, I know that it’s freaking amazing. It’s my body. It’s not a summer body, and I don’t need to get rid of my winter body. It’s not a post baby body. It’s simply my body, and I should be nothing but proud of my body, no matter my size.
The other day, I saw a post on Instagram from Fitbump about a Body Positivity Photo shoot that was happening soon. Basically, people meet at a public spot, strip down to either their underwear or swimming wear, and pose for photos. We take a moment in our busy lives to see the beauty in our bodies. There is no judging. No worrying. No feeling down on ourselves.
Kayla Logan is driving across Canada, and stopping in most of the major cities. She’s inviting local people to come, pose, and embrace their bodies. She’s doing a photo shoot in each city, and people are invited to come pose in their underwear or a bikini for a body positive photo shoot. All shapes and sizes are welcome, all people are welcome. She wants to liberate and empower everybody. To quote a line in an interview she did with CBC: “You are your most beautiful at your most vulnerable, and all our bodies are beautiful and should be celebrated.” She wants to share this body positivity campaign with others. From what I can tell, she is an amazing and loving person who wants others to feel happy and confident in their own bodies, as she does in hers. She uses local photographers, and does the photo shoots in iconic spots in each city. The photographer for our photo shoot was LeRae Shawn Photography (leraeshawn on Instagram). She was fantastic.
You can find Kayla Logon’s page on Facebook at Kayla Logan PR, and on Instagram at kaylaloganblog. She also has a You Tube channel – the link is on her Instagram bio. You can also find the link to her CBC interview on her Facebook page. She has events for all the places she’s going next. This will be posted on Friday, and she’ll be in Calgary!
I can’t share how others felt about this, but looking at everybody’s faces when we were finished, I’d say I saw proud faces. inspired faces, and happy faces. I’ll share how I felt from start to finish.
First of all, it took me a while to decide what to wear. I really wanted to wear my underwear, but I basically live in a sports bra and boys underwear. I was going to go with a cute black bra and panties, but changed at the last minute for one simple (and slightly embarrassing) reason: I sweat a lot. Bikini was the winner.
I went child free, but people can bring their kids – nothing wrong with showing your child you’re proud of who you are. As I walked to the place we were meeting: the wonderful red bus, Bus Stop Refreshments across the street from the Bessborough, I noticed a couple of things. First people were getting grad photos taken, and all I could imagine was their beautiful photos being photo bombed by underwear/bikini clad people. Second, I saw just how many people were hanging out in downtown Saskatoon. Downtown Saskatoon is ALWAYS busy, but Jazz Fest is on right now so it’s even busier.
I saw some of my Fitbump gang so I knew I had arrived to the right group. We were all still dressed, and as I looked around I could see that a few were nervous, maybe all. I was nervous. My anxiety was at an all time high. I was willing to not listen to the anxiety, and jump out of my bubble though. Kayla spoke a little to us, and explained what we were doing, and then invited us to strip down so we could start taking photos. We all kind of looked at one another, and then slowly started taking off pieces of clothing. I took my clothes off in one of the busiest areas of Saskatoon. I stood in my bikini feeling vulnerable, but also I didn’t feel alone at all. I was surrounded by a bunch of bad asses. I say this with only respect and amazement. Nobody was doing this alone. If you follow Kayla’s stories on Instagram, she’s not shy about showing that she’s also vulnerable at times, and that actually helps, but in person, she is very bubbly and confident. This is definitely needed for what she’s doing.
We crossed the street in our underwear/bathing suits ,and stood in front of the Bessborough for the photos. There is something I do when I’m in a bikini or even fully clothed. I suck my belly in. I try to hide my belly (which has always been the part that I dislike the most). During the photo shoot, something happened. I forget to continue sucking in my belly. I posed without worrying about how I looked because I was having a blast. I was laughing with all these people, I felt a bond with them all, and I could not care less if my stomach wasn’t perfect. I was inspired by the entire moment. I was aware of all the other people around us. I saw cameras out from strangers walking by. I was proud of what we were doing. I was proud of myself for jumping out of my bubble.
After the group photos, we also had the option to get individual photos taken. She had beautiful signs made by Owligraphy in Ontario. That’s also the Instagram name to follow. We took individual photos, and some friends posed together. We did a few Fitbump photos. We mingled, and talked to one another. We explained to anybody on the street that asked what we were doing. And then we got dressed.
As I already said, looking around, I loved how happy we all were. It was exhilarating. I’m so glad that I went. It is something I’ll always be proud of. While I’m being proud of stepping in front of the camera with all the others, I’ll also be proud of my body and all the amazing things it does for me.
I don’t have any of the photos taken by the photographer, but I will share one photo taken of me with my phone. This is me. Proud to be me. (Also tan on the top and bottom, and white in the middle.)
Thanks for reading. If there’s anything I can take from this experience, it’s to be proud of who you are. Love your body. Know that everybody had insecurities. You can still love who you are.
©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them