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Melissa!!!! You look beautiful!

I appreciate so much everything this woman, mother, wife and coach gives back to us as a group of fellow women/mothers/wives.

You continue to inspire me.

Melissa Parker-Coach added 2 new photos . 10 hrs ·

This is me a few weeks ago. Same body, same day, same angle, same (horrible dressing room) lighting.

I was trying on dresses for an event I have since attended with my husband. The first dress was what I had in mind. As soon as I put it on my body, I felt insecure. This inanimate, standard piece of fabric, cut and made by machines did not fit my living, breathing, healthy, functional body. I started thinking about ways I could alter my body to fit it. Even someone who has been working for a long time on body positivity, acceptance, and neutrality still has her moments of diet culture thinking. I realized quickly, though, that I did not want to buy more things that would make me physically uncomfortable (and keep me mentally and emotionally and spiritually uncomfortable in the process) just so I could accommodate this one piece of fabric.

Except Cinderella's step sisters, I can't think of any people I know that would consider physically altering their feet simply to wear a pair of shoes. Why do we do this to our bodies for a dress or a pair of jeans? IT IS NOT WORTH IT.

I shook myself in that moment and reminded myself "ain't nobody got time for that." I went back to the racks and found the second dress instead. This dress made me feel comfortable in my skin. I knew immediately that this dress would allow me to go to the event without worrying about my body and my physical state the whole time, so that I could enjoy myself and be present in the experience.

I've heard so many conversations recently in my real and virtual communities in which women (and sometimes men) are talking about how they "have" to change their bodies or achieve a particular (usually what was true of them in the past) aesthetic. It breaks my heart to know that so many people think so poorly of the physical manifestations of the wonderful creatures they are. Now, I'm all for pursuing health and wellness. But to me that doesn't mean punishing myself with workouts and diet plans I hate, just to achieve a particular goal (usually for a short amount of time, only to wildly swing in the other direction out of anger and rebellion over having to be miserable in the first place). Instead, I prefer to focus on the process, the habits, the rhythm and routine of my life as the way I pursue wellness. How my body looks is, in part, a result of these things. It's also in large part a result of my genetics, which I have zero control over. It has been so freeing over the last many years to come to this place of peace with who I am, physically, mentally, spiritually, and to free myself from the constant worry about what I'm doing or eating (or not) just to achieve an outcome that, it turns out, I don't have a large amount of control over anyway. red bridesmaid dresses short

It's been quite a while since I've made a post this personal. That's mostly because I've been working really hard the last many months coaching women as they pursue this journey for themselves. Other than the growth and development of my spiritual life, my marriage and my children, there hasn't been anything in my life that has been more rewarding or fulfilling than this work.