Don't Forget to Love Yourself

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Today, I'm celebrating being a woman and the importance of feeling comfortable in your own skin. We talk a lot about Valentine's Day and relationships in February, but you have to love yourself before you can love someone else. There was a little period of time where I did not give myself the love I needed.

I think everyone goes through some kind of insecure/weird phase in their lives. I went through mine in college. My sophomore year I started becoming severely anorexic. I don't know why because my body image never bothered me in the past. I've always been very thin. One day I started eating less. Then I started counting the calories and checking the scale daily. It became an obsession and then a competition with myself. How many lbs would I lose this week? How skinny could I get? Am I skinny enough? I ended up being 105lbs at 5'8" (skinny AF), wearing size 00 Abercrombie jeans and eating 400 calories a day. This consisted mostly of a blend of Special K Cereal, Goldfish, and Almonds to ward off hunger. The crazy thing was.. I still wasn't satisfied with the way I looked, and I didn't think there was anything wrong with my behavior. When I looked in the mirror I saw plenty more to work on... when in reality... I was so unhealthy.

Soon those around me jumped in and saved my life. It didn't take much to quit my habits after my doctor told me I wouldn't survive pneumonia or the flu if I were to get sick with my immune system and body the way they were. I flipped a switch in my brain and immediately quit. I believe it was just a control issue. College is a scary transition and maybe my way of coping with anxiety was by not eating... who really knows. I started getting positive attention with the more healthy weight I gained back which really helped keep me going. Now, I'm healthy, eat whatever I want, enjoy working out, and never count calories.

I also found myself in toxic relationships that I refused to get out of. I've had cheaters and mental/emotional abusers. People that I would vent about to my girlfriends so much they finally told me I needed to seriously take some time to get to know myself again. I was dependent on someone and had to be in relationship all the time. When I finally broke away from the last cheating loser I moved to Houston for a new job after graduating college. I finally started feeling like I was getting to know myself again, taking care of myself, and loving myself. I worked, focused on me and my career, and nothing else.

After a few months of just doing my own thing I was 100% confident and the happiest I had ever been just being on my own...and then I met Kirk. Doesn't it always end up being when you least expect it? I was not interested in a relationship, but it quickly turned into just that. The difference was I was fully repaired and had given myself exactly what I needed. That helped me be ready for something more serious with someone else. I didn't know then he would be my future husband, but all the time and love I took for myself helped me be ready for that relationship. God knew I needed to self repair in order to be the best wife.

I've learned so much along the way and the older I get the more proud I am of being me, being a woman, and knowing we have so much to give in a relationship, but we also have to love ourselves before we can do that. Being a mom, I can't imagine myself going through all the insecurities I went through with body image during college (I'm fully aware my body will never be the same and I'm okay with it)... I can't imagine what it would feel like being married to my husband still carrying feelings of bitterness from being cheated on in past relationships.. I just wouldn't be the best wife and mother. It took months and months of self love to heal and become the woman I was meant to be. Only then do I really believe God allowed me to meet Kirk. If He thought I wasn't ready we probably wouldn't have met.

I'm not looking for pitty or saying that my life was sooo hard because there are other girls out there who have had wayyy bigger problems that me. I love my life. All I'm saying is that through all your hardships find it in yourself to take care of you. Someone else in your life is going to need you to be strong for them..

Today, I'm bringing it back to a fun shoot I did for Kirk as a wedding gift (don't worry- There are no Rated R pics LOL)  There are some amazing photographers out there who do an incredible job. My wedding photographers did this shoot in addition to my wedding package. Koby and Elizabeth Brown with Koby Brown Photography. You can find them on Instagram at @Kobybrown and his wife @elizabeth.b.brown www.kobybrown.com. They are wedding photographers specializing in destination weddings, and their work is outstanding! I can't wait to share more of what they captured in Cabo when I post my wedding series.

Love, B