So, I’ve been banging on, and on, about my 35th year being a turning point for me.
A new, brave chapter in my life.
The start of the rest of my life, one might say.
Well, dear friends, I did something yesterday, so courageous yet so spine chilling, so horrifically inconceivable to the younger me, that had it been proposed 2 years ago, there’s no way on Earth I would’ve had the guts to do it.
What? You ask…
I stripped down to a bathing suit and worked my boo-tay like a seasoned pro.
No, not at a Road Train pit stop… Jeee-zus!
No peeps, I took part in a summer photo spread for a popular weekly magazine… GULP! GULP, GULP, GULP, SHUDDER!
Yes, the whole world will now be privvy to what’s under my apron.
I have to admit, in the time leading up to my national body debut, I was crippled with anxiety.
Yes, I am totally empowered when it comes to my life, career and being a strong, independent woman, but put me on show in my dainties and I’m a shy, little mess.
A bikini in public…? NEVER!
I was in front of the mirror (on quite possibly, a daily basis) scrutinizing my thighs, sitting down, standing up, scrutinizing my ass, sitting down, standing up, bending over, pinching my loose stomach skin.
“Why does skin lose it’s elasticity after babies?” Because sweet child, God was a Man.
But, I realize now, how foolish I’ve been.
I met for lunch on Tuesday, my new friend Taryn.
She’s an amazingly inspiring woman, who is the founder of the Body Image Movement and The Unstoppable Program.
She is on a seriously noble crusade, to change the way women and girls view themselves and their bodies, because lord only knows, we are all our own worse critics.
When I told her what I had in store for me this week (right before I ordered my calorific Tuna Bruschetta drenched in Mayo…) she made only one request…
Bree, before you say anything negative about your body that day, please think of me.
I was at the supermarket earlier this week, and a woman came up to me.
Can I ask you a personal question?
I figured, what the ‘hey’, I’ve already bared my heart and soul for the viewing pleasure of millions, and now give out a weekly dose of my totally unedited life on the internet, what could this lady possibly have to ask me, that I would consider personal?
Have you always been this size, I see you at the gym and wondered how much weight you’ve lost since being on TV?
Fark man, I didn’t see that one coming.
Look, if you really want to know… I’m the exact same size I was 1 year ago while I was cooking up a storm in Kitchen HQ, and although I’ve been a healthy gym goer since my twenties, shifting those last few kg’s of baby weight was an impossible task until I took up long distance running during MKR and stopped boozing on like a sailor.
You’re like a bottle of wine, that gets better with age.
This was a delightfully sweet line, delivered from my glorious husband (who has courted me for more than 11 years) on my most recent birthday.
With all these positive, and personal statements, by friends, strangers and husbands alike, you would think I’d shut the hell up and stop ragging on myself… But, I’m a WO-MANNNN, and that’s just what we do.
We never see ourselves through the eyes of others, we see ourselves through our own hyper-critical shame goggles.
So, off I went, heart and stomach in hand, and, I stripped down.
And, then I saw the photo’s.
And, then I wanted to cry.
I actually, for the first time ever, saw myself through other peoples eyes. Not my own eyes.
Yes, sadly, I have a couple of stretch marks. I have cellulite on my ass and thighs that just won’t budge. I have stomach skin that crinkles when I sit down.
But, these things don’t matter a damn now, because I am healthy. I am strong. I am fit. I am 35 and I look better than I did at 20, even after pushing out two screaming footballs.
I will finally, permanently, SHUT. THE. HELL. UP.
So, let’s all band together, my sista’s.
Stop wearing those hate-coloured selfie glasses we like to put on everyday.
There are unsolvable female problems (stretch marks, cellulite, loose skin), but, there is one problem we can all overcome… The negative way we see ourselves.
In honour of my new found clarity and my long overdue body epiphany, I am sharing with you my Rainbow Chard, Kale and Cannellini Bean slice.
This is the type of dish I eat with my girlfriend’s, at our ladies lunches.
I want you to serve it at your next ladies lunch.
And, when you do, I want you to look around the table at each other and remember my words…
We’ve all got our hangups, but we’re all freakin’ beautiful. THE. END.