psssst. come here. a little closer-yea, lean in just a little bit more-i want to share a secret:
i HATE taking pictures. or better yet, i HATE how i LOOK in pictures.
now i'm sure those of you who know me (and have seen my Facebook account) are reading this and saying to yourselves, "oh please, who is she trying to fool-the A'Driane I KNOW always has her face in a camera, she loves posting new pics." but i'm here to confess to you that while i may take a ton of pics of myself, i hate how i look in them. now when it comes to actually taking a picture, i'm split 50/50-i'll explain further in a moment....
 to be frank, i don't take a ton of pics for vanity's sake-i'm not a vain person. in fact, i try so hard to steer clear of being vain that I can't  say to myself, "A'Driane, you look pretty today," without feeling like a conceited....well, let's just leave it at conceited. i know, i know, it's a distorted and twisted perspective, and totally not healthy or benefitting in the self-image department, but i'm working on it. i digress though-back to pictures....
i often take pictures to capture a mood, a hairstyle, a reflection of how i'm feeling about myself at that particular moment, on a particular day-i actually force myself to take them for a couple of reasons....i take pictures because quite honestly, i keep hoping each time i take one, i'll finally be ok with what i see, and to see if the image captured on film matches up with how i think i look in my mind. for example, if i take a picture of my smiling face, in my mind that's how i see my face-bright and smiling. however, when i look at the picture, i see bright, smiling....and chubby cheeks...and bags under my eyes...and whatever other imperfections i didn't notice. so, that makes me hate how i look.  
you see the problem is, i don't think of myself as...let's use overweight as an example. but the reality is that i am indeed overweight and film captures the reality i sometimes either don't know exists, or i do know it exists, i just don't want to accept it....
so, i hate how i look in pictures, which in turn makes50% of me hate taking them. the other half of me loves taking pictures-i'm a creative person who enjoys photography and capturing moments. i just wish i could get rid of the 50% of me that despises it.....
so, what i'm learning, what i'm focusing on, what that picture above represents, is me finally learning to accept my reality. now of course i can do things to alter this reality and create a new one for myself through exercise, losing weight, etc....but i've realized that God is trying to show me the key to a having and maintaining a healthy self-esteem, and that is by simply loving myself as He does-just as I am. in other words, God's basically telling me not to wait until i'm a size 6, perfectly in shape, can run 5 miles, beautifully toned and all made up to love myself and the woman He's created me to be. He's teaching me how to love myself now, all 183 lbs of me. chubby cheeks, cellulite, stretch marks, muffin top, saggy boobs (yeah, i just went there-welcome to my new level of transparency hahaha), tired, hormonally ravaged skin/body and all, He's showing me that i don't have to wait to love myself. the key to a healthy self-image starts with loving the what you hate about yourself how working on improving them at the same time.
and why don't i have to wait? simply because God doesn't! let me turn the lightbulb on for you, like He had to do for me this week: GOD DOESN'T WAIT UNTIL YOU'VE GOT IT ALL TOGETHER TO LOVE YOU. He loves you just as you are, mess and all.  God knows you can be a mess. God knows you sin and mess up. God knows we ain't got it together-BUT HE LOVES YOU AND I ANYWAY, and He works with us to improve in the areas necessary.
so, today when i looked in the mirror before i headed to church, i FINALLY was able to do so without hearing "God, I look hideous," in my head. real talk here people. and i believe because i'm allowing Him to teach me how to see myself through His eyes and accept reality for what it is, it's improved my level of confidence-which up until a few days ago had been in a sewer, on it's way out to an ocean somewhere. i've been able to start the difficult task of keeping my head up and carrying myslef with renewed confidence. don't get me wrong, i'm going to lose some weight. i'm going to work on those things i feel need work. but i'm going to, as a dear friend/unknowing mentor of mine said about a week ago, "love myself through the seasons." ok so during this season, i'm struggling to lose baby weight-that doesn't mean i have to wallow in the pit over it-instead, i'm going to shift my focus on learning how to carry it and not let it carry me, ya dig?
so to encapsulate all of this, i took a picture this evening-
and i'm finally starting to like what i see.
until next time, love yourself through the seasons and keep makin room for beauty honeys :)