I am beautiful.

I am strong.

I've conquered healthy living.

I am proud of what I have accomplished.

My scars are reminders.

They show how far I've come.

They remind of where I don't want to go back.

My body will never be perfect.

It has curves. And rolls.

And more curves.

And it is lovely.

I can run a 5K if I want

Or climb a mountain with these legs.

My legs take me on bikes rides.

That is magic to me.

I am athletic.

I am brave.

I am my own best friend.

I have learned to love myself.

I am exposed.

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My Most Awesome Work Moment Yet

I've worked for the same company for ten years now. I was hired straight out of college with plans to either move up in the company quickly or move on to something better in life.

Ten years later, I'm still there, and have only moved up a tiny bit. I could spend hours and hours telling you why I'm still in this job I barely tolerate, but we'll save that for another day.

A few weeks ago, I had an email in my inbox from my manager telling me I had been chosen as a creative consultant for a team building project. OK, no. What the email said was a whole lot of big words that were Greek to me, and only after I responded back with, "Huh?" did I find out that I had been chosen as a creative consultant for a team building project.

Today, we had our first meeting for this project. Since the meeting was held three hours away from my office, I joined in via conference call.

The leader of this meeting spent ten minutes explaining why were doing this project and how it would create a better work environment and I could have sworn I heard the words "TPS reports".

And then he says something like all teams such as teams like mine tend to be boring.

WHAT! Who the hell was he calling boring? Obviously he didn't know that I was on this project. And right then, it became one of the most important things in the world to defend my creative mind.

Boring?! Who is he calling boring?! I rattled of an email to my manager's BlackBerry.

After a few more minutes of "blah, blah, blah's" I hear him say that we could break into our teams and brainstorm. My manager then gets on the phone and asks for my ideas.

"First, I want you to tell that guy, I don't appreciate being called boring!", I said.

My manager replied, "Um, April. You just told the whole room that. You're on speaker phone."

Whoops. Well. I guess now he knows. :)

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Over at the Sisterhood, we have decided that October is "I LOVE ME" month. We're all taking a pledge to love ourselves because as Christie O. says, "because it all starts with 'me'". She's right. It does. If you want to read and/or take the pledge, go here.

It has been a long and hard journey of learning to love myself. When I got my wake-up call and realized that I needed to lose weight, I had no idea how much my insides needed a wake-up call of their own.

There was always a part of me that I knew was awesome but I just couldn't bring myself to show my awesome to others. I was afraid of what they would think. I cared what they thought. I also got wrapped up in trying to please everyone. I wanted to be the person that could make people proud. I thought that if I didn't make them proud, I would bring shame to those I cared most about. I couldn't stand the thought of being THAT person. What I didn't realize was that in thinking that way, I lost a sense of myself that would make ME proud.

And wasn't that what was most important? Making myself proud?

Because if I couldn't be proud of myself, how could I make anyone else proud? If I couldn't love myself, how could anyone else love me?

I needed to make me happy.

I realized that in order to make myself happy, I had to discover who I really was. I needed to meet and get to know the real me. I had to learn that the real April was someone who I liked. When I realized how much I liked the real April, I began to show her to others. And holy crap! They liked her too.

You could say that on this road to self-discovery, I realized that I truly love who I am. Who I've become. Who I continue to become.

I know I will have moments of weakness. We all do. And that's okay. Because we'll just pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and love ourselves all over again.

Yep. This month, I'm taking the pledge. Will you?

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