Body Positive Quotes

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“Joy is the best makeup.”
~ Anne Lamott

“Everyone is trying to make me younger and I’m tired of that. I just want to be whoever I am right now. Our wrinkles are our medals of the passage of life.”
~ Lauren Hutton

“Growing into your future … requires a dedication to caring for yourself as if you were rare and precious, which you are, and regarding all life around you as equally so, which it is.”
~Victoria Moran

““You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.”
~ Amy Bloom

“Each individual woman’s body demands to be accepted on its own terms.”
~ Gloria Steinem

“Beauty shouldn’t be about changing yourself to achieve an ideal or be more socially acceptable. Real beauty – the interesting, truly pleasing kind – is about honoring the beauty within you and without you. It’s about knowing that someone else’s definition of pretty has no hold over you.”
~ Golda Poretsky

“The only thing that anyone can diagnose with any certainty by looking at a fat person is their own level of stereotype and prejudice toward fat people.”
~ Marilyn Wann

“There is no wrong way to have a body.”
~ Glenn Marla

“It’s also helpful to realize that this very body that we have, that’s sitting right here right now … with its aches and its pleasures … is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, and fully alive.”
~ Pema Chodron

“If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?”
~ Maya Angelou

“Real beauty isn’t about symmetry or weight or makeup; it’s about looking life in the face and seeing all its magnificence reflected in your own.”
~ Valerie Monroe

“If you retain nothing else always remember the most important rule of beauty which is: Who cares?
~Tina Fey

More inspiration on my Body Positive pin board. Image source

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Introducing Lily and her Shaky Relationship with the Camera

The rotating cast of stylish, smart, amazing women who contribute to this blog has gone through some recent changes. Nadine and Audi are both juggling too many work, life, family, and school obligations right now, and have bowed out. Soon you’ll meet Aarti and Joi, but today you’ll be joining me in welcoming Lily. Lily is a colleague of Nadine’s who has tons of expertise and personal experience to contribute to Already Pretty. I’ll let her introduce herself, but just quickly want to say that she’ll be discussing disordered eating so please skip this post if that subject is triggering for you.

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Hi there, my name is Lily. I’m a new addition to the incredible group of women who contribute to this fabulous blog! I must admit that when I was first asked to contribute, I totally laughed out loud. I have never thought of myself as “stylish” and certainly would never use the word “fashion” in the same sentence as my name. To me, style is wearing anything that makes the wearer feel comfortable, sexy, fierce, and whatever else they are going for. However, I LOVE to write and I do wear clothes, so there’s that.

Currently I am in the final month of my Doctor of Education final project (very similar to a PhD dissertation) so most days you’ll find me at my desk in yoga pants, a brightly colored long-sleeve, and barefoot. Really fashionable, right? When I am not working tirelessly on my project, I’m more likely to wear stretchy skinny jeans*, funky heels or flats, and some kind of top. I tend to be pretty simple in my style.

As a new contributor, I want to introduce myself. And now that I have covered my sense of style, I would like to talk a little about the journey that has brought me to where I am today. I am a therapist who specializes in sex, intimacy, and relationships. My EdD is in Human Sexuality, a field that I love, and it has been in this final program that I feel I’ve become my whole, authentic self.

I have struggled with an eating disorder for more than half of my life. There are many reasons why I chose this way to cope with my chaotic childhood, many layers to the onion. For me it has been a painful yet lovely road to recovery and now I choose each day to love myself, including nourishing my body. But I can still empathize with each and every one of you who struggle when you look in the mirror, struggle to feel comfortable in your skin, struggle to accept your body exactly as it is in this moment.

And although I’ve come a long way, I am struggling with all of those things myself as I write this. It is the holiday season and although I LOVE this time of year, it can be quite a trigger. For me it’s not so much about the food as it once was, but rather the photos that will be taken.

Many of us will gather together during the holidays to take photos with loved ones. I want more than anything to have photos like these that tell our stories of today for the future, yet I cringe knowing what creating those photos actually entails. When I’m required to be in a photo all I can think as I pose is, “Will I look attractive? Will I like what I see? How can I pose to not look awkward AND look good?” I have become the most annoying person to take photos with, but even worse to take photos of. I will absolutely demand re-take after re-take. In fact, my husband and twin now have a four-take limit.

It’s hard not to look back on older photos and compare my current self to myself in those photos from years past. Like many people, I often think, “In this photo I was so skinny and pretty.” But here’s the thing: I can’t let myself do that anymore. Over the years I’ve come to accept that I am only that size when I am sick. Really sick.

This year, I am searching for something besides a body shape and size in those images. I am looking for happiness, authenticity, and vibrancy. And guess what? I can’t see any of those things in the older photos. I do, however, see them in so many of the photos that I have taken over the last four years. (Especially my wedding photos!)

These days I look so different and not just in size, but also in facial features. I can see myself aging, and I don’t say that to criticize myself. I am aging as we all are, every day. And I may not look like I did when I was much younger and smaller, but that’s entirely my point. I can’t look like I once did because I am no longer the same person, and I don’t want to be. It isn’t worth it to me to starve myself, isolate myself, or suffer to be a smaller size. I have challenged myself to let go of hesitancy about my size and capture photos of me and my life as they are right now.  To not only create memories, but to document them in photos for years to come.

So I will not see my former self in holiday photos from this year because I shouldn’t. I have grown in every way; physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I am me and I will be photographed. I may not love the photos, but I will love the moments they are capturing. And that is more important.

Happy Holidays!
Lily

*I have a sizable, lovable, ever-growing rump thanks to CrossFit, so stretch is vital!

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Lily A. Zehner is a sex therapist, blogger, and doctoral student at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco. Her private practice, The Center for Authentic Intimacy, is located in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.

She is passionate about living authentically and helping clients do the same. She believes that letting our real selves shine is the key to self-love and finding true intimacy with others. She believes all bodies are good, beautiful, and perfectly imperfect. At times she struggles with this about her own body, but self acceptance can be a challenging road and it’s one she’s willingly chosen.

It’s taken time, but Lily has found her voice and she’s not afraid to use it! Her loud voice and boisterous laugh have become two of her most distinctive features. She’s also proud of her sizable, lovable rump, which grows ever larger as a result of CrossFit. She loves skinny jeans … so long as they have LOTS of stretch!

Lily’s definition of style is anything that makes the wearer feel sexy, comfortable, and confident.

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Dressed for: A Serious Swobe

Already Pretty outfit featuring cabled sweater coat, faux leather pants, black booties, fringe handbag

Cabled sweater coat – courtesy Woolovers
Tee – thrifted – similar
Pants – H&M – similar
Booties – Steve Madden (no longer available) – similar
Bag – Amazon/DIY (post here) – similar look
Earrings – Corsetsimilar shape

We talked swobes recently. I think it’s safe to say that this is the One Swobe to Rule Them All. Heavy, cozy pure British wool done up in amazing cables? Yes please. This sweater coat will join with my Icelandic tunic as one of the few items of clothing I own that can stand up to subzero temps. Though, as you can see, worn open it works beautifully in warmer weather, too. I loved pairing it with skinny faux leather pants for a fun juxtaposition.

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