I’ve always hidden my body in some way. I would wear baggy clothes at school, layers at work, and in pictures.. Well, let’s just say every filter, lighting, and contorted angle I could use to look thinner, I did. I was never comfortable being seen as my most honest self: nude. Any time I was intimate with a lover, I wouldn’t let him see or even touch beneath my clothes. I never allowed my naked body to be appreciated, even by myself. It was almost four years ago that I finally woke up and realized what a blessing my body is. I was in a psychiatric facility after a suicide attempt. I found that I was helping others and coaching them on how to accept themselves, embrace their flaws, and keep living life, because no matter how much depression tries to convince us otherwise, it is. I was in my bed late one night, and I came to the understanding that my words were true, and I shouldn’t be depriving myself of the love and kindness I was giving to everyone else. When I was released, I set out on the ultimate self love journey. I started an Instagram, where I posted honestly about how I felt and what my body is to me. I became increasingly more brave, as I progressed in my journey. I started modeling lingerie, body cons, and swim suits! I couldn’t believe how good it felt to flaunt my curves. I walked proudly, jiggling thighs and all. It was liberating. Shortly after I cultivated a truly confident self, I met the man who I was meant to share my body with. For the first time in my life, my first impulse wasn’t to hide my body. I was eager to show him and allow him to touch the majestic being that is me. It was amazing. I finally was able to look at myself in the mirror. I could finally wash my body in the shower without crying from all the soft patches and lovely lumps. I was the person I was meant to be, and I was free. I was free of societal expectations, requirements, and constraints, because I stopped caring what they wanted and focused on what I wanted. Life is not meant to be spent in hiding. We are not meant to be ashamed of our bodies. We are not meant to feel guilty simply for existing. Life is for living, and I intend to do it fully. That means enjoying moving my body, showing my body, nourishing my body, and fucking loving my body. I am proud of every scar, every dimple, every ripple, and every stretch mark. This is my body, and I love it.