You are lovely. You are amazing. You are strong.

First off, let me say one thing to everyone out there in Chubby Vegan Mom land (whether you’re a family member stuck with me, a friend crazy enough to remain by my side or a perfect stranger that lives vicariously through my blog), THANK YOU.

The outpouring of responses and support I received from my last blog was incredible. While only a few chose to share their feelings/stories in the comments section of the post, I received more than 100 emails, more tweets than I can count and dozens upon dozens of text messages and calls from friends.

Whether you were sharing your own story of struggle, encouraging me to continue my journey or simply reaching out to let me know that almost everyone feels this way from time to time, I can’t help but feel blessed to have such an inspirational group of people in my life, in person and via the Internet.

The biggest lesson I took from it? I’m pretty sure no one is 100 percent pleased with themselves. I received words from a close friend about how the post impacted her.

About how she didn’t necessarily struggle with the same physical woes I detailed (she’s one of those lucky, easy metabolism, burns calories kinda gals), there have been multiple phases throughout her life that she’s not felt good enough, hasn’t always been up to par and overall, didn’t feel beautiful (inside or out).

You know it’s out there, you hear those pretty girls in the magazines and high school say all the time that they have «awkward legs,» «bug-like eyes» or «disproportional bodies,» meanwhile you roll your eyes and wonder what mirror they’re looking into.

My friend, is one of those girls.

Since the day I met her she absolutely captivated me. She has a completely «I’ll do what I want and you’ll probably like it anyway» attitude and she’s wholly, completely, utterly unique. She’s gorgeous, svelte and has the kind of features that are never mistaken for next door. She’s better at being an eco-mom than me, one of the mothers I looked up to when I had my daughter (and probably the only one who told it like it was to me) and in general, she’s the woman I always describe to my friends as my husband’s dream woman (I like to say I’m the slightly more negative, slightly chubbier, more bitter version of his dream woman). Seriously.

And even though that might be threatening to most, she’s the last thing from a catty, high school, steal-your-husband woman, which should probably make me hate her more, but I don’t.

I don’t tell her enough, but she should know this, I think you’re absolutely lovely.

And brilliant.

And strong.

I don’t think enough women tell each other how astounding and wonderful we are. What fabulously dramatic and perfect creatures we are — despite our flubber, our big noses, our child-bearing hips, our uneven boobs or our stretch marks.

Most of the time we’re too busy tearing each other down to build the girl next door to us up. No matter the woman (the chubby one, the not funny one, the too skinny one, the less-than-pure one, the know-it-all one, the seems-to-have-it-all-together one), she’s someone’s daughter, friend, girlfriend, wife, mom, future mom, she’s going to have to be all these different things in her life, wouldn’t it be nice if we supported her, if we told her every wonderful thing about her, instead of whispering behind her back all her flaws (things that don’t even matter?)

So I guess I want to say this: To the women in my life, you’re all there for a reason, for a purpose and for both of those things, I thank you. Some of you make me stronger, whether I want to be or not. Some of you let me be weak, when I need it the most. Some of you make me feel beautiful, something I desperately need. Some of you make me feel like there’s more to me than just being a woman, just being a mom, just being a daughter, which is an incredibly difficult task to accomplish. Some of you remind me of the journey I’ve made, while some of you make me anxious for the one to come. Some of you will be with me forever, will be carried in my heart forever, have attached like an infectious invader that takes over its host body, but this time, for the best.

Some of you, well actually, all of you, whether you were my best friend in second grade or the girl that stole my boyfriend in the ninth, whether you were the mother who probably still doesn’t understand why I do what I do or the best friend who refuses to let go of my hand, even when I’ve done something to deserve it, you’ve all played an integral role in making me who I am.

And while I’m not certain I believe it quite yet, I won’t stop hoping that one day, I will. The woman you’ve helped make me, is precisely the woman I am meant to be.

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