I am 39 years old. I have given birth to four children. And I wear a bikini.
My body is not perfect. But it is mine. It tells stories of a lifetime. The birthmarks, the bumps, the bruises. The testaments of a clumsy but full life. The stretchmarks from adolescence that have never completely faded. The tattoo on the small of my back from a 19-year old’s spring break completed at a flea market in Mexico (sorry Mom). Two more tattoos etched in the time since, one that celebrated the fire of a marriage, one that celebrated the rising in the wake of a divorce. The tan lines of afternoons spent on lacrosse fields. The chipped toenail polish of feet that yearn for a pedicure. The calloused fingers from writing too much (though most days it feels like not enough). The map of veins in legs that seem to grow brighter, more present with each year. The hips that are full, the breasts that have survived years of breastfeeding and the abs that will never be 22 again.
I have a body that says life has grown within it. I will not hide it, miracle machine that it is. I will nourish it, protect it and celebrate it. After all, it does house my soul.
And those lives that have flourished within it and now outside of it, are looking at me. Up at me. They watch and listen to how I treat my body and soul. They learn how to treat their own. There is great power in the potential of these everyday moments. Our children take in more than we could ever give them credit for.
So, before we judge the best and worst bodies on the beach, let’s remember that it takes more confidence to be in the sand than it does to stay inside of a hotel room. Our bodies whisper our deepest memories so let’s listen to one another with open minds and respectful eyes. And when you find yourself yearning for that 22-year-old stomach, remember the wisdom that you have gained with each passing year and that is a breathtakingly beautiful thing.
Rock that bathing suit baby. It is just the gift wrap of your radiant soul.
Katie has a new book out that is a collection of quotes and mic drops to embrace your inner warrior. “Girl Power” is available now on Amazon and is the perfect gift for all the warriors in your world. You can find out more details and book signing info on her instagram @katieyackleymoore. Endless thanks for reading. Xo
Katie Yackley Moore is a freelance writer, real estate agent, yoga instructor and a momma of four navigating life and a separation and finding herself in the process. She adores coffee shops, laughing until it hurts and impromptu dance parties. Her work has appeared on Scary Mommy, Mamalode and HuffPost Parents. She has published a journal entitled “Dream a Bigger Dream” and the children’s books “You Are a Warrior” and “We are Family” and just finished her first novel. Catch up with her between tea breaks at The Naked Momma and on Facebook.