So, Obviously as an American girl, this is one of my favorite holidays, just behind Christmas and Easter. I’m a Christian first, American second, and I am PROUD to be both.
On this holiday, you can find me doing the regular American things, like eating hot dogs and hamburgers off the grill, spending time with my
Last year, we had both our families together for this very special day. I just love that we can celebrate the holidays this way. I know other people simply aren’t as lucky. Here’s a photo of my mom, grand-mom, and Evan’s mom having a blast last 4th of July!
A couple of weeks ago, I got to participate in another body positivity photoshoot by the lovely, Chanel Pariseau. In this project, we are showcasing how every woman can look beautiful and festive on this holiday! It was so much fun working alongside such amazing women and to see how we can all look beautiful sporting the red, white, and blue!
One of my favorite parts of this project was that I got to meet women like Jennifer and Sarah who have served in the military.
Jennifer Manning is a veteran who served October 2008 through October 2014. She served in the navy onboard the USS Carl Vinson. Jennifer wanted to join the military after seeing that her dad had served, as well as her older brother, who is still active duty today. She saw the opportunities her brother had by joining the military, such as seeing other countries, and was interested in getting out of Maryland for a while. She also knew that joining the military would allow for her to have the opportunity to go back to college by helping to pay for her tuition when the time came.
Being a woman in the military can be hard, however after aJennifer Manning
whileI felt as though I was treated like one of the guys, I had to develop a thicker skin and a sense of humor. As a womanyou are definitely outnumbered in the military but sticking with other women is the way to go.
Jennifer got to be part of history, which is amazing
I wanted to participate in this shoot because I love the US and I’m so thankful for those who continue to serve in the Military to fight for our country. I know how much both the military members and their families sacrifice! It’s not easy to leaveJennifer Manning
familyfor 6+ months but every member of the armed forces is willing to do that and I’m so appreciative of that. Body positivity means loving your body no matter what! Women come in all different shapes and sizes and they deserve to feel amazing, not shamed for their size or shape. In this worldthere are so many things telling women how they should look and it’s not about that!
Sarah Blecker is an active duty in the Navy as a musician. (Seriously how cool is she?) She started her career with the U.S. Naval Academy Band in Annapolis, Maryland, and is now stationed with the U.S. Navy Band in Washington, D.C. She’d been in the military for more than 11 years now, first serving as an oboe player, and now working in the band’s public affairs office.
I can only speak for myself with regards to being a woman in the military, but I have found that it hasn’t been a positive or negative experience. My work is valued for what it is, not who I am, and I appreciate that.Sarah Blecker
Sarah spent the latter half of her childhood growing up in the Washington, D.C. area, and had a lot of exposure to the military and the military bands specifically. In middle school she knew she wanted to be a professional musician when she grew up, and had a lot of connections to the military bands already. Sarah went to college and earned degrees in music performance and music education, but she always kept an eye on vacancies in the military bands around Washington. Sarah had the desire to serve our country, and doing it through music was even better! She took several military band auditions, for the Marines, the Army Field Band (several times!) and the West Point Band, and finally won an audition at the Naval Academy Band. Sarah enlisted, went to boot camp, and the rest is history!
I love the concept behind Chanel’s photo shoots – that women come in all shapes and sizes and that we should celebrate them all and show the world that we are all beautiful, despite what advertising/social media campaigns try to tell us. I’ve never considered myself “model” material by any means, so I came to this shoot feeling really self-conscious, not sure if I looked okay, feeling way too professionally dressed when everyone else looked so awesome and fun in their outfits. But I left feeling elated, feeling supported by the other women who were all so positive with each other as we posed for the camera. Being in the military, we have physical fitness and weight requirements that we must meet in order to continue serving. I’ve spent a lot of my career worrying about the scale and how my uniforms fit, especially after having had two kids. More recently I’ve been working towards being okay with the look of my post-baby body. I’ve also been focusing on my overall health – physical, mental and emotional – more than just the scale. The results have definitely been positive; I meet the requirements of the military and feel better about myself at the same time.Sarah Blecker
I hope and pray everyone has a safe and happy Independence Day this year!