All my life I wanted boobs.

Well, I take that back. Only when I quit dancing and moved to Los Angeles did I begin to obsess over my cleavage, or lack there of. While I was dancing in Texas, it never fazed me. Nor did it faze my high school sweetheart who loved me just the way I was. But as soon as I hung up my toe shoes and headed for Hollywood, a seed of insecurity began to blossom within me.

In hindsight, it probably had more to do with the environment than internal workings but it soon became a problem. The silicon that surrounded me began seeping into my soul. I toyed around with my weight, hoping it would redistribute itself but instead, it went straight to my butt. I tried chest exercises and visualization techniques to no avail. Little blips of insecurity concerning my chest would flit across my mind at least once a day.

I prayed. I hoped. I wished. But still, no change.

I once confessed my woes to my curvaceously-blessed friend, Sammi, to which she replied,

“Ingrid. You have beautiful little pippins.”

“Pippins?”

“Yes. Pippins. They’re so dainty and proportionate and perfect for YOU. You’d look funny if you had boobs.”

To which I blushed. And for a moment, I believed her.

The men in my life never seemed to mind. During our marriage, my ex-husband would scoff any time I’d mention my size and again would tell me I was perfect just the way I was. After my divorce I dated a guy who refused to let me complain about my breasts and in bed would lovingly say,

“When you’re with me, you’re not gonna to cover up. I love your body.”

He said it with such sincerity but I couldn’t accept his words as my own. I couldn’t let go of the fact that I yearned each day for a C in place of my A. Or at least a full B. Was that too much to ask?

Finally sick of it all, I scheduled a consultation with a plastic surgeon. By God, I wasn’t going to live another day thinking or dwelling on something that I could, in fact, change. Why not? Everyone else was doing it. In LA it was, and still is, akin to getting a facial or having your nails done. It’s commonplace. I was an anomaly for not having fake boobs.

I endured the topless visit where the surgeon told me I was indeed a great candidate. And he explained the procedure in such a way that made me feel comfortable and confident with my decision to change my body.

But ultimately I just couldn’t do it. The idea of being cut into and having foreign objects placed inside of me for the rest of my life, and all the complications that could ensue, freaked me out.

So now I was faced with the fact that unless I ever have kids, this was it for me. I was going to have to accept my body the way it was.

Over time I’ve come to accept this part of myself more and more. I can’t say I still don’t long for a cupeth that spilleth over but it no longer occupies my everyday thinking.

Instead I choose to focus on what I do have and express my gratitude for it.

I am grateful that I have a strong and healthy body which allows me to climb mountains, swim seas and explore the world.

I am grateful that I have two arms and two legs that allow me to dance or run a race while some are bound to wheelchairs for the rest of their lives.

I am grateful that I’ve been able to retain my ballet figure with little to no effort years after quitting and I can eat whatever I want without gaining a pound.

I am grateful to have friends in my life who reflect back to me the beauty of who I really am inside and out. Come to find out Merriam-Webster defines a “pippin” as:

a highly admired or very admirable person or thing.

I think Sammi is a keeper.

As my love and gratitude grow for what I do have in my life and for what my body provides, that little voice of dissatisfaction is banished to its cave and no longer heard. But I must be vigilant in minding my thoughts to ensure I never go down that road of self-rejection and self-loathing ever again.

So how about you? How would you rate your self-image? Are there things about your body you wish you could change? Can you accept yourself the way you are? Or if it is something you can change, like your weight, can you finally do something about it? Are there things about your body, like freckles or a gap between your teeth, that used to bother you but now you accept as part of who you are and your uniqueness? Come on… I showed you mine, now show me yours.

Inspired by a Sam Levinson poem, author August McLaughlin created Beauty of a Woman BlogFest to which I’m a proud contributor. Head on over to her blog on Friday, February 10th, to read more stories on beauty and self-image and for chances to win awesome prizes, including a Kindle Touch or a $99 Amazon gift card, body image coaching, BOAW mugs, and more.

Photo courtesy of artflakes.com

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