Sunday, April 13, 2014

Reflections on the Body Love Conference

Jess Baker introducing Tess Munster
I can't believe how fast time flies. Doesn't seem that long ago that I was counting down the days until I got to jump on a plane and head down to Tucson for the Body Love Conference. Now that was over a week ago! Time flies when you're loving yourself I guess.

I first heard about the Body Love Conference through The Militant Baker (who I am advertising with this month - give a shot out if that's how you found Curves and a Camera). As the founder of the BLC, Jess Baker did such an amazing job not only recruiting volunteers but spreading the word and making sure that a wide range of people heard about the conference (while I was there I met locals and ladies traveling as far as from the East Coast).

Sonya was the first to make me cry with her
presentation on This Body is Not an Apology
I went with an old HS girlfriend of mine who "twisted my arm" into going with her. This was my first time going to a conference (or something along those lines) just for me. I worked all week long, flew out to Tucson after work, didn't arrive to our hotel until nearly midnight, only to get up and spend the day with some amazing women.

Body love is something that I've struggled with for many years. I never grew up being told I was pretty...it was always my makeup, my hair or my outfit that was cute/beautiful. Never just me.

Now I'm sure some of you will say "but isn't that the point? to teach our girls they are smart and more than just their looks"?

Tess's keynote made me cry the 2nd time.
TRUE! However, growing up with a body that didn't look like my classmates. Becoming a woman, and trying to find myself, in a society that believes I am "less than" and not "worth as much" because I am "over" weight.....creates the trouble on the other end of the spectrum. No, I wasn't a girl who grew up believing all I had to offer the world was my looks....but I also was never taught that I could be pretty, could wear fashionable clothes, could have a boy fall in love with me, want me....that I should love my body.

So fast forward many many years later. I'm 23, haven't had a "boyfriend" since high school, and was tired of being the funny/smart bestfriend/like-a-sister character in my own life's story. So I said FUCK IT! I'm just as worthy of love....just as beautiful as anyone else. I started dressing how I wanted, stopped (trying to at least) say hurtful things to myself and started trying to change the way I approached life.

Jess is such an inspiration to kick some ass!
Now here I am. Thirty one years old and, while there are still some harder days than others, I'm loving who I have become. So being able to travel to Tucson and share this concept of self-love with over FOUR HUNDRED other men and women was just life changing!

Thank you to everyone at the conference, all the volunteers, the speakers, Sonya Renee Taylor, Chrystal Bougon from Curvy Girl Lingerie, World Famous *BOB*, Liz Denneau from Candy Stike, Ida Tapper, Tess Munster, Jess Baker and my friend Susan for making this a weekend I will never forget! I laughed, I cried (a few times), I developed major girl-crushes, I found new heroes and I made new friends.

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