photo collages – another exercise in learning to love myself

Sometimes the Universe speaks to us through blog posts.

The other day I read a post titled “Women At War With Their Bodies and How It’s Impacting Their Businesses” on the Boss Babe blog and I felt like the author, Wendy Porter of Crowned for Success, had read my mind and was spilling all my secrets.In the post Porter confesses that there was a time when she put off starting her business because she was unhappy with her weight. She writes:

For a long time it kept me from even wanting to start my business. I was always coming up with excuses of why it wasn’t the right time, “maybe when I lose 20 lbs or do waist training or when I lose my stomach or when I find a good cellulite cream or when I get rid of my double chin or my flabby arms THEN I will start my business” or how about “when I get back in the gym, I will start doing Periscopes or FB Live…

And Porter knows that too many other women are falling into this trap.

I’m one of them.

I currently weigh more than I ever have in my life and this weight gain has definitely affected my self esteem and my business.  I’m letting a number on a scale hold me back. I need new headshots, a brand photo shoot and a sizzle reel for See Jane Write and I’ve put off all of those things because of my weight. Because of my weight I won’t use Snapchat or Instagram Stories as often as I should or post many photos of myself to social media, even though my analytics show that these posts get the most engagement.

Every time someone posts a picture of me from an event or even when I’m featured in a newspaper or magazine, I sit staring at the photo pointing out flaws, loathing the way I look, instead of celebrating the publicity or remembering the fun of the occasion.

The irony of this is when I was a skinny pre-teen I longed to have the curves that my aunts and older cousins flaunted. And even today plus-size fashion bloggers are my favorite style mavens to follow on Instagram. I think Gabi of is one of the most gorgeous women on the planet. And I would never, ever pick apart a photograph of another woman the way I scrutinize pictures of myself. I look at other women and only see their beauty, both inside and out. But yet nowadays I find it so hard to see the same beauty in myself.

Can you relate to any of this? Chances are you can. So here’s what I think we can do about it.

Let’s make health and fitness part of our blogging business plans. I said to an acquaintance recently that the more See Jane Write grows so does my waistline. And it’s funny because it’s true. I’ve gained so much weight this year because I’ve been too busy to eat right or exercise regularly and most nights I don’t get enough sleep. But I believe your business can only be as healthy as you are. And this isn’t just about the scale. I also just feel really crappy. I believe we all need to start seeing taking care of our bodies as a business growth strategy.

We need to love, not punish, our bodies. I have always loved to exercise. In college I was even a certified fitness instructor. So I’ve never understood why some people see working out as punishment for eating a burger or a piece of cake. But recently, I’ve realized that I have the same mindset about food. Instead of seeing eating fruits, vegetables and lean proteins as a way of loving and taking care of my body, I see it as punishment for Taco Tuesday or trips to Yogurt Mountain. A shift in mindset will help us slowly make the dietary changes we need.

Start today. I know that whenever I am exercising regularly I feel good about myself, regardless of what the scale says, because I feel strong. So starting today I am going to make my workouts one of my top priorities. There’s no need to wait until January 1! And as getting active gets us feeling more confident we’ll be able to move forward and do all the things we’ve been putting off for our blog businesses, too.

Keep up the good work. Entrepreneur Oliver Emberton once said, The best way to develop confidence is to become good at something and get yourself in front of people who appreciate it.” And I know this to be true. I feel most confident when I am in front of my students teaching or in front of the women of See Jane Write coaching. I feel confident during public speaking engagements and when I read something I’ve published and think, “Damn, girl! That’s good!” If you’re struggling with confidence I urge you to keep doing what you’re good at and find people who will appreciate your talents and skills.

Think of the children! Because I am a teacher, I am a role model, whether I I want to be one of not. The young women at my school — especially the black girls and the girls who consider themselves feminists — look up to me and I can’t let them hear me saying disparaging things about my body or see me walking around defeated and depressed because of my dress size. Do you have a daughter, niece, or mentee who looks up to you? Think of the good example you need to set for her.

What tips do you have for a better body image?