Face Your Body Fears

I'm rocking a bikini on an exotic beach! I'm standing next to one of the most beautiful (inside AND out) women I know. I didn't worry about what other people were thinking. I just stayed in the moment with my friends. It was liberating.

I’m rocking a bikini on an exotic beach! I’m standing next to one of the most beautiful (inside AND out) women I know. I didn’t worry about what other people were thinking. I just stayed in the moment with my friends. It was liberating.

The journey to a career where I heal with photography started with my own insecurities. Even after losing a substantial amount of weight, I still work to accept my body and the progress I’ve made. I hope that reading this will help you face your body fears.

I was lamenting the idea of a bikini to a guy friend.

He thinks I’m gorgeous so I figured he was a good source. “I want to wear a bikini,” I said, “But I have a soft tummy and stretch marks.” He was quiet for a moment. Then he asked, “Are those things going to go away?” I just stared. (In my head I went over surgical and personal training options.) But in reality, he was right. They aren’t going anywhere and I either make peace with them or make peace with a one piece.

So I found a bikini, which wasn’t easy.

I have small ribs and big boobs and had to order a custom suit from my AMAZING bra company. FYI busty gals: an underwire bikini top in your measurements is a HUGE self-esteem boost!

Face your body fears. Come to terms with your body.

I feel so peaceful with my body now. I felt gutsy one morning and posted a selfie in a sports bra and tennis skirt. The response was incredible.

I posted this selfie and message to Facebook and was not prepared for the comments, likes, messages, text messages and phone calls. It's always weird when I'm called an inspiration. But if it's helping someone else feel more comfortable in their skin, I'll keep pontificating.

I posted this selfie and message to Facebook and was not prepared for the comments, likes, messages, text messages and phone calls. It’s always weird when I’m called an inspiration. But if it’s helping someone else feel more comfortable in their skin, I’ll keep pontificating.

After my trip, I saw my friend Feisty Cupcake post a photo to Delicious Dolls Magazine’s Facebook call for Derrière Tuesday. And in what might have been insanity, I shared my own painting that… shall we say “highlighted” my own bum. In less than a day it’s gotten over 300 likes, over 14 shares, and I’m simultaneously terrified and tickled. But I DID IT.

I still can't believe I had the guts to share this painting. The response is gratifying. It's forcing me to see myself through others eyes. Eyes that don't have my internal tape of all the things I worry aren't good enough.

I still can’t believe I had the guts to share this painting. The response is gratifying. It’s forcing me to see myself through others eyes. Eyes that don’t have my internal tape of all the things I worry aren’t good enough.

I’ll be honest. This work, the work of accepting yourself, is not EASY. But nothing worth having comes easily. Start with baby steps. When someone compliments you don’t defer it. Don’t wave it away. Accept it. Try for one second to believe it’s true. Try to KNOW that others can see what we can’t. It doesn’t mean that what they see isn’t real. It might mean that what you see as wrong isn’t actually real. That’s a mind eff!

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Iman is a photographer who, through her unique process of coaching and photography, can show a woman what other people see when they look at her. She is passionate about teaching other photographers how to live and be a professional and making change in the world. She dreams of changing the way women look at their bodies and how the world defines beauty. She also thinks being an instructor on CreativeLIVE would be incredible. Iman battles Lyme disease and shares her unique view of dreaming while fighting for her health. Her post day is Wednesday. info@imanwoods.com Iman Woods If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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