WARNING: This blog post will be laced with profanity and I don’t care what you think. Sorry I’m not sorry. You have been warned.

Today is July 4th – Independence Day. I will be celebrating in typical American fashion: beer in hand, by the pool. Except I’m not a skinny bitch drinking Bud Light. I’m me. I’m overweight, I have cellulite, I have stretch marks, and I don’t give a flying fuck what you think of that.

I’m a self-hater. I don’t even like myself. I am my own worst critic and my biggest enemy. I have hated myself for as long as I can remember. I’ve never been good enough for myself. My OCD never let me be good enough. I was always searching for this perfection that DOESN’T EXIST. Well, as of today, I have had enough. Today is MY Independence Day.

I’ve gained a lot of weight since high school, but who the hell hasn’t? First, it was because of 2 back-to-back foot surgeries that kept me off my feet for a couple weeks. Then it was a knee surgery 5 years ago. It was Georgia Tech that had me stressed and eating McDonald’s at 4am coming home from the library. But the worst, the worst is the medication for OCD. I gained a significant amount of weight in just 6 short months on the medication. Would I do it again, knowing that I would gain the weight? Absolutely. It helped me understand what “normal” was like. It helped me fight back the Monster to the point where I can go back to grad school and not have weekly panic attacks. It helped me be better, in everything. It helped me break free. But it gave me this body. And it’s not all the medicine’s fault. It certainly wasn’t shoving the donuts in my face, that was me.

Six months before I started treatment, we had started with a Crossfit gym and I was hooked. I loved it. I dropped jean sizes, felt more fit and healthy and was hitting new records often enough to make me happy. But I knew when I started therapy, I had to give it my full attention. The gym became a far off second thought and I eventually stopped going. It’s taken me nearly a year of serious mental work and therapy to get back to the point where I could go to the gym again. And now I am. I’m working out at the gym at my office, the same Crossfit gym as before and doing things at home. I’m eating better, tracking my food and calorie intake and devoting my time and energy to getting the weight off. Which brings me to my point…

I’m proud of my cellulite, my stretch marks and my love handles. Because they made me better. My body had to suffer so that my mind could get better. If you don’t like it, well you can fuck right off. And if you don’t want to see my body, well I suggest you stay away from my in-law’s pool today, because I’m going to be swimming. I’m not going to let anyone’s opinion (including my own) of beauty get in the way of enjoying this day with my nephew. I’m not going to let my self-hatred and insecurities impact my sweet nephew and my soon-to-arrive niece. I will not let my OCD get in the way of singing off key, playing pretend, dancing in the bathroom stall or putting a menu on my head in a restaurant to make them laugh. No, I will not let my OCD make me afraid to be silly, or to enjoy these moments with my favorite little ones. I will not let my body stop me from being the best version of myself I can be. I will get there. And if you don’t like it, well like I said before, you just fuck right off.