Step Up

4

In my early 20’s I dated a personal trainer for 4 years.

He was obsessed with not only his fitness and outward appearance but also mine.

Many a night we would have plans to go out for dinner and I’d be sitting there all dolled up waiting for him to finish his workout. It became tedious.

I’ve always had good self esteem but there were moments he made me feel bad about myself, he would question my diet, my exercise routine and our long term future based on my commitment to his fitness philosophy.

One time I made Raspberry Friands from scratch and he tasted one and threw it in the bin because I’d used flour and sugar, I gave them to my brother who said they were delicious and I was crazy to be his girlfriend. There were lots of red flags with his controlling personality but I justified them by the fact I was living a healthy lifestyle, until one day I decided I’d had enough.

I was happy with who I was, I was happy with my body and felt that what I had to offer went beyond my physical appearance.

We officially broke up when I got on a plane to go to the UK, there were many reasons I chose to travel to and work in another country but leaving behind a dysfunctional relationship with a narcissist was a bonus.

The night I met my husband I was at a dance festival, I remember being inside one of the tents with the music pulsing through my body and saying to one of my closest friends, I love myself, that everything I had ever been through and survived, the strong, independent, courageous woman I was, I respected her.

Then this mysterious man, who I’d just met and had been flirting with, asked me to go for a walk outside, it was night, there were people walking from tent to tent, an electric atmosphere of possibility and youthful festivity.

We started to dance and he put his arms around me from behind and touched my belly, for a split second I tensed, feeling insecure about the fact I had a little pot belly after gaining a few kilos, then I thought to myself, my body is beautiful if he doesn’t like it he can get lost.

That was the only time that thought crossed my mind because he loved my body and he fell in love with who I am. I’m 13 years older then I was then, I’ve had 2 kids and my body has evolved with these changes. He has never stopped telling me I’m beautiful and I believe him, because I think I’m beautiful. I think every woman should believe she’s beautiful.

Our bodies are a rich tapestry of the journey we have experienced from childhood, adulthood, motherhood, we are the role models of the younger generation. How we view ourselves will impact our daughter’s body image, she will one day become a mother and teach her daughter to love herself.

My daughter is perfect the way she is, I want her to grow up believing that no man has the right to make her question her value, if she meets a man who creates doubts then he is the one who is not worthy of her.

Love is kind, love starts in the mind

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