Hey girl hey! My name is Melissa Kilner (middle name Mae). My short story? I’m a photographer, mom of 3 (with two pups), and I’m on a quest to help men and women everywhere feel confident, brazen, and empowered in their own skin. Want the long version (including all of my deepest darkest secrets)?

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Overweight and in a bikini? You bet your ass.

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Published : Gig Harbor Living Magazine

Last month I had the INSANE honor of writing an article for my local gym that was published in magazines in Gig Harbor, Coeur d’Alene & Sandpointe Idaho. I was given the freedom to write anything  I wanted, and this was what was on my heart…


It’s that time of year again. The time when we reflect on the past year and all of the resolutions that we failed. One year past and we take a day to recommit ourselves to be better. We promise that we’re going to drink more water, lose the 20 pounds of baby weight (from 15 years ago), stop telling ourselves that tacos are a part of the 4 major food groups (just me?), and get to the gym every day. We tell ourselves that THIS year will be the year that we wear the two-piece bathing suit. Because for some reason, that’s SO important <insert eye roll> .

Don’t get me wrong, we should all strive to be healthy. It’s so incredibly important that we take care of our bodies. We only get one for our whole life, and if we’re going to live it to our full potential, we’re going to need it working like a well-oiled machine. But when did that start becoming about being a certain size? When did we stop going to the gym because it makes us feel good and keeps our bodies strong, and are only going because we strive for perfect and unobtainable body types (you know, the photoshopped ones). When will enough be enough? We have become experts at looking at ourselves naked and picking apart every. little. bump. Will we ever be able to look at our bodies and not just see all of the years of failed resolutions? When can we look at our reflection and just see an amazing mother, father, an adventurer, a teacher, a hero?

Why is our go-to truth about ourself that we’re not good enough? As children we thought we were awesome. Heck, we wouldn’t wear pants half of the time and we didn’t care what anyone thought about it. And then at some point in our life, that truth changed.

For me, I remember that moment like it was yesterday. I was 13. It was a beautiful summer day in the Pacific Northwest with the smell of sunscreen and salt-water lingering in the air. I was boating with my family and we had just docked at a music festival. I was wearing a blue gingham-print halter swimsuit (a two-piece) with jean shorts. I just hopped off the boat to go check out what was happening onshore (ie. go look for cute boys to flirt with). I was walking down the dock, and lo and behold, two hunky shirtless teenagers were walking towards me (excuse me while I go groom my peacock feathers). I was feeling pretty confident in my little get-up, and just as I was about to strut past them (and believe me, I was STRUTTING), one boy looked me up and down and then turned to his friend and said, plain as day, “Nah. She’s too fat.”

SHE’S. TOO. FAT. I could feel the color drain from my face. And just like that, I became fat. I didn’t question him. It didn’t matter that I was a size 7, straight ‘A’ student, that I played musical instruments, danced in performing groups, volunteered in the community… I didn’t even know this boy, and yet for the next 20 years of my life, I let him convince me that not only was I fat, but that was the ONLY thing I was.

How silly. I’m convinced that if this, now man, knew what an impact he had on my life, he would surely apologize. But this story isn’t about him, or that this is even his fault (it’s not) (but he’s still a jerk <cough>). It’s about me (well, us really). It’s about how I let a stranger, of all people, dictate my truth. Don’t we all do that, though? Whether it was a mean girlfriend, a crappy parent, a retouched celebrity on a cover of a magazine, a high-school bully from 40 years ago… We let them tell us who we are, or who we should be, instead of merely just being.

Here’s the thing, you are beautiful just as you are. Truly, in all of your imperfection, you are beautiful. You offer gifts to the world that no one else can give. So, for this new year, lets change it up. Lets spend the next 365 days being true to ourselves. Lets treat ourselves with love and kindness (yes, that can include the gym and proper diet too), and living our life like the world depends on us and our gifts, because spoiler alert, it does.

xo,Melissa

 

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