Name: Kim Christenson
Tell us a little about yourself: I'm a mom of three and a freelance writer and journalist who loves ice cream, books, and beaches. I write about motherhood, marriage, and dream-chasing on my website, Talk Wordy to Me.
When is a time in your life where you struggled with body positivity and self love? If I'm being completely honest, I'm struggling to embrace everything about my body right now. I've had three kids (my youngest is two), and as worth it as they are, it's taken a toll on my body. There's flatness where I wish there was fullness and fullness where I wish there was flatness. It's funny though, because at the same time, I feel more confident than ever and am learning not to care as much about body perfection ideals. There is always going to be something I wish was a little different about my body. And I know the grass seems greener on the other side. My friend made a comment about me getting thin quickly after my pregnancies, and I thought how much I'd like to trade my lankiness for her curves!
Do you remember how old you were the FIRST time you had a negative thought about your body? I remember wanting to shave my legs when I was maybe 9-years-old, because I thought they were too hairy. I know I was self-conscious about my crooked teeth before I got braces in 6th grade. I also remember getting made fun of my big knees. (They stuck out because I had chicken legs!) Kids can find something mean to say about someone else's body, even if they are perfectly normal. It's sad. And I want to protect my kids from it. At least I can teach them not to be negative about other people's appearances and to know they're beautiful, no matter what other people say. Truthfully, adults can be pretty mean about this stuff too. I want to be someone who always builds people up with what I say to them and about them. I'm working on it. I think that kind of example can go a long way to helping our kids be more loving and accepting.
When is a time in your life that you genuinely loved yourself inside and out?Even though I'm not perfect and I wish I could change some things about myself (inside and out), I can honestly say I love myself right now. Having loving family members and friends who show unconditional love to me is a huge reason for that. What is one or two things that you really like about yourself (can be physical, personality characteristics, talents, etc)? I like my ability to sympathize with people. And my hair. :)
What does real beauty mean to you? Someone who is truly beautiful makes you feel beautiful. They don't make you feel small or less-than or hard to love. They celebrate and love you: Quirks and all.
For the times in your life when you have felt insecure in your own skin, what have you done to try and get out of that mindset? I try to focus on all the things my body can do and the things I like about my body. Then, I make goals to make improvements to my body that are within my control. For example, I recently made a goal to limit my treat intake to once a week. Although I may not see a huge change in my cellulite (ha), getting my sugar intake under control naturally makes me feel more confident and happy with my body.
Do you think social media plays a part in women and girls lacking self love? Big time. I am terrified for my daughters to get on social media. I feel like especially the younger girls who are on social media post the most perfect photos of themselves looking happy and flawless. I get scared of my daughter thinking she needs virtual likes to feel beautiful and validated. Scary stuff.
Why do you think there is such a problem with women loving themselves and their bodies? Of course, media plays a huge part in this. Somehow, the ideal has become to look skinny and have flawless skin and really stylish clothes (your kids must have them too!) in order to be truly cool in real life and double-tap worthy on Instagram.
How can we change this mindset? We can adjust our priorities. There's nothing wrong with wanting to look your best and being into fashion. But when you exclude or look down on others because they don't fit that mold, something is off. Also, not being afraid to show vulnerability and imperfection will help normalize normalness instead of going along with the lie that perfect is best!
How do you teach your daughters to love and appreciate themselves and their bodies? A mom has such a huge impact on her child's self image. If she has a negative self-image, she will probably pass that on to her children. I don't talk negatively about myself in front of my children (or at all!) The best thing I can do is model the behavior of loving myself. They will see that example and follow it.
If you could tell your younger, insecure-self one thing, what would it be? Embrace yourself right now. Don't wait for something to be different about your body or about your life. You can only find happiness right here, where you are, with what you have. Try to make healthy choices, but don't let imperfections rob you of being happy and loving yourself. Also, don't care so much about what other people think about you. What matters most is what you think about yourself.
Kim Christenson // @talkwordytome_
Photography // @laurenwennphoto