Kristen Bosly of Perth, Australia has hated her body for most of her life. But after a recent beach vacation with her family, she underwent an attitude transformation and became a crusader for body positivity.
The Aussie mom and blogger recently posted a photo from her vacation in Tasmania on Facebook, along with a powerful caption about body image. The photo shows Bosly in a swimsuit, posing with her two kids, 8-year-old Beckett and 5-year-old Bronte.
The mom wrote in the caption that she’s always wanted her body to be smaller and thinner.
“I’ve used it and abused it,” she said. “I’ve blamed it for a lot of things. I’ve been terribly ashamed of its wobbles and dimples; like somehow they are the measure of who I am.”
Bosly said she saw a meme encouraging moms and dads to be in photos with their kids because one day, those images may be all their children have left of their parents. This notion struck Bosly.
“I’ve avoided pictures most of the time as I disliked how I looked in them. Not any more!” she wrote. “The truth is, I’m tired of being ashamed of my body; it’s done nothing but support me for 41 years.”
The photo of Bosly with her kids in Kingston Beach is meant to be a reminder of the fun day they spent together, “cellulite and all,” she wrote. “No cover up. No board shorts. No ‘modesty’ towel. No filters. Just us.”
Adding that she no longer feels ashamed of her body, Bosly concluded, “I look at this photo and all I can see is how happy we are and that’s awesome. I finally feel free and it feels fucking awesome!”
Bosly told The Huffington Post that her turning point came about sort of by accident after she forgot to take her board shorts to the beach. “Once we got to the beach I thought, ‘What am I going to do here? I want to go in the water with my kids, but I am too embarrassed to take my clothes off,’” she recalled.
“I was standing on the beach, stressing out about it and just had a moment of absolute clarity when I realized the only person judging me on that beach was me!” she added. “Nobody was paying me any attention and the only thing stopping me from just letting go and enjoying the day was my own silly hang-ups!”
Forgetting her shorts turned out to be one of the best mistakes she’s ever made, Bosly said. While reviewing photos from the day, the shot of her with her kids on the beach stuck out to her.
“It wasn’t the most flattering photo of me, but the smiles on all of our faces were so genuine and full of joy and I knew it had captured something special,” she told HuffPost.
“I had already taken a few risks that day (being in nothing but a one piece on a beach AND posing for a photo in my bathers) so I thought, why not challenge myself further and share this awesome moment with the people who read my blog?” she added. “I thought, if one person finds it inspiring or it makes them see themselves differently, then it would be completely worth it.”
Like Jessica Turner’s famous essay, “Moms, Put on That Swimsuit,” and Allison Tate’s “The Mom Stays in the Picture,” Bosly’s Facebook post and its message of body positivity in motherhood has resonated with women around the world.
Bosly said the reaction to her post has been “utterly amazing,” as women have reached out to share their own stories and thank her for inspiring them to change their perspectives. Though there have been some negative responses, the mom said her new outlook has allowed her to look past the hate and focus on the outpouring of love and support.
Ultimately, Bosly hopes her post inspires people to let go of their hang-ups and live more fully. “I have battled depression and anxiety for most of my adult life, and there were times I thought I would never be able to love who I was along with the packaging I come with,” she said.
“But despite the road being a long and hard one, I am so proud to say I got here, and trust me, if I can, so can they,” she added. “It is a life-changing decision to make, and I hope that if nothing else, anyone who reads my story will find a shift in their own thinking begin and help them on their own journey to self acceptance.”
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