The SHOULD-ers Full

DC898257-63DB-4DD0-B53B-CD450DD2F825.JPGI was full on gonna write a blog called, “I Used to be Pretty,” about how I didn’t realize my “attractive” phase was over and how I wished I were as fat as the first time I thought I was fat (you’ve all seen that meme.)
ALSO, sidebar: may the amazing spirits of all my English teachers past and present and future forgive me for using the vernacular “gonna” in the first line of this blog. There will also be some “wanna” and “ain’t” usage. I loathe it and yet will continue to use it. Therapize that!

Ok, back to what I was saying – it all started when Jacob sent me this picture of me getting my wedding dress fitted “on this day” 7 years ago. Compared to now, I look practically anorexic! (Like “oh she should probably eat a sandwich but will also get cast in all the Hollywood parts” anorexic, not cardiac arrthymia anorexic. You know there’s a diff.) I can STILL remember thinking before my wedding day in that dress, “WOE! I should have Crossfitted harder! I should have eaten less carbs! I don’t want to show these arms!”

What a terrible case of the “shoulds” I subjected myself to before one of the happiest times of my life. I look so young! So fit! So life-is-all-ahead-of-me-y!Not like now…I used to be pretty!

*THAT* was the blog I was going to write. One, because I know how many people, especially women, could relate to it; and two, because I thought I could be funny about it.

But it’s not funny. Let me say that again: it’s not funny.

You know why? Because we’re still doing it when we speak and think like that. We’re STILL INFECTED WITH A HORRIBLE CASE OF THE SHOULDS. And ten years from now, we’ll look back on pictures from today and think THE SAME THING: “Man, I wasted time wishing to be different instead of enjoying who I was and what I had in that moment. And that moment was so precious.”

F*ck it, ladies. It’s not hot girl summer. It’s HOT MOM summer. It’s VAXXED GIRL summer. It’s ARMS. OUT. ALL. SUMMER.

Because I did it. About a month ago (and some of y’all saw this post), I stopped weighing myself. (I used to weigh daily); but then I went one step further. I STARTED SHOWING MY ARMS. NO MORE KIMONOS. NO COVERUPS. JUST MY STRAPPY MAXI DRESS IN THE MIDDLE OF RED RIVER BREWING ENJOYING LIFE LIKE A NORMAL GIRL WHO SHOWS HER ARMS.

It has been life-changing. If you know, you know. I’m tired of waiting to be a dream weight or a dream size or a dream lack of flab & cellulite to live my life. A whole realm of clothes opened up to me in the span of a week. I hid my arms for all of my 30s. WHY. WHO CARES? Who looked at pictures of me with my arms out and said anything? (And if they did, who cares what they think? Clearly dum-dums with nothing better to do.)

IMG-2234.JPGLadies and gents and everyone in between, I tell you I HAVE DONE THINGS. I went to a party in a sleeveless dress. I filmed movies in sleeveless outfits. I acted. I danced. I went to a wedding. I selfied, I took group photos. I went to the Met in my Nap dress. I bought three new swimsuits on Shein and posted myself on social media in a Buc-ee’s one-piece. I DID IT ALL and my weight and my arms and my self-loathing didn’t stop me.

And then a funny thing happened: the more I acted like I didn’t care, the less I actually cared. I was living in a prison of my own making. I was my own captor, locked in by the “ shoulds.”

LIVE YOUR LIFE. Yes, I look gorgeous in that picture from 7 years ago; I would love to look like that again; but I also (mostly) love how I look now, too. They can both be true. I can know that losing some weight is a healthy goal for me and also be happy in the present moment. I can be beautiful now and later. They aren’t mutually exclusive!

IMG-0479.jpgThat’s it. That’s the post. ARMS OUT ALL SUMMER. Get rid of the shoulds, and DON’T LOOK BACK! The more we post and celebrate our selves NOW, the more other people will post and celebrate themselves now. It’s contagious. I wanna see your thick thighs on the beach and let you see mine. I wanna look at Ari’s thigh rolls and love the OG ones he got them from just as much. I wanna see cellulite and flat chests and droopy boobs; I wanna see botox and boob lifts and fake hair – WHATEVER MAKES YOU HAPPY. If it ain’t dangerous, it ain’t anybody’s business. Thin, thick, curvy, straight, I wanna see everyone living their best lives happy and free and weird and fun RIGHT NOW. LET’S GOOOOOO!

#armsoutallsummer (h/t my gorgeous friend Ardena Bryant for the phrase!)

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