After my decision to join the ranks of the beautiful, strong women of VLL the question I get most often is why?
The answer is simple: My Daughter.
Growing up I always had poor self esteem and even worst body image. I went through high school so desperate to have someone tell me I was beautiful that I went looking for male attention in all the wrong ways. This made me feel dirty and disgusting.
During one of my health classes the teacher passed around a chocolate bar asking us to squish it, poke our finger through. After then entire class had done this she sat it on her desk and next to it place a freshly unwrapped chocolate bar. She then proceeded to ask us “which we’d prefer to give our husbands on our wedding night?” The fresh pretty looking one or the used up ugly one, this is how I saw myself and my body.
After two children, I wish I could say that I am proud of my body but I can’t. I gained a lot of weight and have stretch marks on my thighs, tummy and breasts.
Just a few days ago I stepped out of the shower and looked at myself and all I could think of was “gross”. I grimaced and groaned with disgust at my reflection and what I saw next broke my heart. It was two little blue eyes looking at me. My daughter was standing right there, watching me hate myself.
I broke down crying. I so desperately don’t want her to think that what she saw was alright. That hating yourself based on your outward appearance is ok. From that moment, I vowed to love myself, to stop hating my body for the sake of my little girl. I want her to grow up proud and unashamed of herself, her body, her vulva.
Now the only thing I say to myself in the mirror is “I love everything about myself and I am beautiful.”

-Nadine imagesh