This is not the blog post I planned on writing. In fact, I wrote this totally last minute, in one sitting. I had another one planned; it was poetic and stirring and pretty damn good if I don’t say so myself. But, after the week I’ve had… I felt I had to say different. It’s 11:57 pm and Bonnie Raitt just came on my Spotify… so let’s talk.
This past week, pictures from a blog post of me wearing a Lane Bryant bikini went viral. Not huge, like “Ellen-show” kind of viral. Just viral enough for things to shift. Enough for the social media bubble to burst and for the public floodgates to come rushing in. A lot of really cool stuff happened. I was featured in Women’s Health, on Today Show online, and, among other things, on Allure Magazine website AND Instagram. I noticed I was the only fat chick on their IG — which was pretty darn cool. Also, I my pic ended up next to a shot of pregnant Beyonce, which I’m going to take as some kind of omen that great things are to come.
See this pic? This is how I feel on the inside right now.
Over 7,000,000 people had their eyes on my Instagram last week. MINDBLOWNWHAAAAAATTT? Needless to say, with all of this, came quite a bit of nasty energy from folks who don’t agree with my choice to live unashamed of my body and my love for life.
This post is NOT going to be about them. In fact, I don’t want to give them any additional single ounce of my energy. Instead, I’m going to use this space to show wicked gratitude for the things that DID happen! Are you ready for a bomb of love to be dropped on this joint? Here we go!!
5 Things I Learned After a Picture of Me in a Lane Bryant Bikini Went Viral
5. I saw, and felt, the beautiful support of my friends of all shapes and sizes.
You know what’s cool? Hearing from people who love you or, at least, respect what you are doing. You would think that success makes lots of random people come out of the woodwork? Not necessarily. Sometimes, when you experience success… you get a whole lot of crickets from people who aren’t comfortable enough with themselves to share your joy. That’s totally ok. Because you DO get these beautiful moments of sincere love from friends and family, who have stood by you for years and years. And when they share they are proud? You legit cry.
And not to mention the selfless, beautiful words of encouragement from the people you didn’t even realize had your phone number. That’s insanely beautiful. The “Hey girl, I see you, great job” that you never expected? WOH!! Blows me away.
I teach this all the time in my Launching the Love group personal growth coaching — when you show up for others, you show up for yourself! When we give others our energy, the gift of SEEING THEM and letting them know we see them? Our world explodes into joy! Think about that the next time you have the opportunity to pay someone a compliment or do a kind gesture for another. Do it. Say it. Don’t just think it. You never know how your words will make someone else feel!
4. It opened the door for some much-needed conversation!
Change doesn’t happen without people being willing to get comfortable being uncomfortable. There is no doubt that my pictures made a whole lot of people uncomfortable. It did, however, make some room for much-needed discussion in regards to body positivity and personal growth. Thank you to all the countless folks who used my pics as an opportunity to engage in respectful dialog with people. Especially those that took the time to try and talk to those who violently disagreed with the statements behind my pics. Warriors of goodness, like my dear friend Gina from Nourish and Eat, who exercises recovery from her ED and uses her social media space to uplift so many women!!!
3. I realized I was resilient as all hell.
On Wednesday night, the weight of the negative comments got to me. I shared my vulnerability with friends, who stepped in to remind me I am loved, and to remind me to put things in perspective. By the time I woke up in the morning, I was ready as hell to move on and focus on great things. I also figured this out….
There are few things someone else could say to me that could be more damaging to me than the negative self-talk I experienced in my own head for years. The same self-talk that kept me rooted in my unhappiness. I remember Jordan Bach – a beautiful soul, spiritual teacher, and life coach – said the same thing when being interviewed at Gabby Bernstein’s Spirt Junkie Masterclass. He said, “What can a troll say to me I haven’t already said to myself before?” Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude. So wise. I see that now. I get it. A year into my own health and wellness journey and I can finally see how debilitating my own fear-based beliefs were. And just how deeply I hurt myself with my own self-talk.
Ps. Love you to you, Jordan. The few convos we had have genuinely shaped the trajectory of my life. #Grateful.
So yeah. Bring it. I got this. You know why? Because I learned how to get my own back. I learned how to pick my life up by the bootstraps, make it work, and move forward. Because I had enough strength to look some of my really big sh*t RIGHT IN THE EYE AND SAY NOT TODAY, NOT ANYMORE, NOT AGAIN and then decide to put that same sh*t down and walk on.
I’m pretty proud of that.
2. I was reminded, only we can be responsible for our peaceful state of mind.
This goes along with what I’ve already said; only you can prevent forest fires. LOL. No, really. Peace in our mind can only come from ourselves. Nobody else can give it to us. We have to be willing to feel peace, willing to stop fighting, and willing to be precise and proactive with what we chose to focus on. If you chose to focus on negative things, you will live a negative life. If you allow yourself the gift of focussing on things that are positive? You will always be able to tap into your own love. Pretty awesome. I’ve been living this, but a reminder is always welcome.
1. I touched hundreds of thousands of lives.
Here’s the part I didn’t expect. In theory, I knew it could happen…. But I never thought it would really happen on such a large scale to ME. I connected with people from across the globe. Literally. Messages have poured in from women of ALL SHAPES AND SIZES telling me how they saw their life, their struggle, their story in my words. There is so, so, so much beauty in that!
That’s the thing, guys. None of this is about me. It’s actually about US. I’m just the woman comfortable talking about all this stuff that so many of us have in common, but we’re too afraid to be open about.
For some reason, I’ve earned this small slice of social media. I’ve earned some trust. I’ve gotten some of your attention. And while I have it… I’m going to use it to do some good. There’s enough negative stuff swirling around this world. For me? I want to teach and lead with the energy I want to bring and see others bring. Stuff with humor and irreverence and optimism and sensitivity. I want to look at hard stuff with hope. I want to shine the light and make a difference while this small platform is mine to stand on.
And so I want to say a super heartfelt thanks to all the folks who messaged, who commented, who “liked” and who simply saw my images in the last ten days. It’s been… a wild and beautiful ride. I do not take a single moment of it for granted.
If you want to find this wicked cute bathing suit online, you can find it here. I am wearing a size 22:
Lane Bryant Graphic Swim One Piece in Black
Thank you to Lane Bryant for working with me. While the posts were sponsored, every single word you have read is a true reflection of my journey in life.