Loving This Body: Why Nicole Said Yes

Sarah’s Note: Next up is Nicole, this stunning, creative, super insightful artist/licensed counselor/activist. When I met with Nicole, I had intended to ask her if she would consider a partnership with her body art and The Beautifull Project, but as we enjoyed our lunch and shared stories, I knew this partnership needed to be bigger than that. She has this sleeping artist inside of her, and I wanted to wake it up because the world is just better when it is full of wide-awake women.

So, I asked Nicole to join the team, and after a few tears and an impromptu mid-restaurant hug, she said yes! Want to know why? Just keep reading.. Nicole opens up about the experience on the blog today.

I remember the first time I saw Sarah. Not met Sarah, but saw her. Sarah and I both live in the same town and for a while, we worked out at the same gym. Part of why I noticed Sarah was she looks so shockingly similar to a dear friend of mine from college. I had to do a double take to make sure it wasn’t my other friend, who happens to also be named Sarah. Crazy, I know. Anyway, I remember seeing her every time I was there in the gym and I thought to myself, yep – I feel ya sister. We are both here, sweating our asses off on this treadmill and it’s exhausting. I felt a connection to her – the connection I think many of us feel to other women who are trying to do things to alter their bodies to “feel better” or “fit in”.

Fast forward to the first time I actually met Sarah. It was a work related lunch, and I was pregnant. For me, being pregnant was a way for me to eat freely and intuitively, without guilt, because I felt like if anyone questioned or judged me for what or how or how much I was eating, I had an “excuse”. I am literally growing a human being in my body. Lay off. Reflecting back now, being pregnant helped me in my journey to loving and accepting my body – no matter what shape and size. At that meeting, I tried connecting the dots and let Sarah know that we used to work out at the same gym. We both made comments about working out, our bodies, and inadvertently our journeys about how we felt about our bodies. I just remember thinking to myself, we have such similar stories. I wanted to keep talking with her. Honestly, I wanted to just keep hanging out with her in non-work related settings. Her energy just made me happy, and I wanted more of it.

The next time we met was also at lunch. I had just been through quite a few crazy situations both personally and professionally. Situations that had altered my being down to my core. They had changed me. I could feel it, and I could feel the comfort in my own skin that I had found through my pregnancies and evolution of my body slipping away. I was slipping back into old habits of negative self-talk and feeling like I needed to slim down again even though I had just had a baby. And then I sat across from Sarah. We talked, and again, connected on a level about our bodies that was profound. I had just read her most recent blog and told her how it moved me because I had almost an identical experience. And there it was – that feeling of being comfortable in my skin – creeping back into my pores. It was at this lunch that Sarah and I discussed the creative side of me. The art that I once produced but had been put on the back burner because of kids, work, life in general. It was in that moment that Sarah asked me to be on her team. What? You want me to be on the team for the Beautifull Project? Honestly, I was shocked at first and felt like I was in an alternate reality. To me, Sarah is like a local celebrity and to be asked to be on her team was such an honor. Of course I said yes….I may have even said hell yes. I was beyond excited for so many reasons. I now get to spend more time with someone whose energy is contagious and whose wisdom helps remind me of how to be comfortable in my own skin and love myself.

Throughout my life I have been on a journey of loving my body. I have moments when I look at myself in the mirror and I am in awe – this body made two beautiful human beings. That is amazing! Then I have moments when I look at myself in the mirror and all I can think about is how big my belly is, how saggy my breasts are now, how my clothes don’t fit me right, etc. I have not perfected the art of loving my body, but I am committed to the path that heads in that direction, and being a part of The Beautifull Project is going to help guide me. I hope it provides the same inspiration and sense of belonging to you too.

My name is Nicole. I am a mother, a wife, an artist, and an activist. And today, at this moment, I love my body.

Sarah Stevens