It's hard to write about hard things.
But I've spent too long putting this one off. When I sat down to write it, I scrolled through Instagram for about 20 minutes before shifting my focus to my laptop to finally put words to my thoughts and feelings. So here it is. Here I go. I'm diving in. Thanks for coming along, friend.
So, I have this body. It's got 2 arms, 2 legs, 10 fingers, and 10 toes. It gets me from point A to point B. I can hear pretty well and see okay too. This body, it does what it's supposed to do. But I've come to realize that I've been doing something pretty terrible to this body. To my body. For the past 15 years or so, I've spent countless hours, dare I say days, nitpicking and being disappointed. Punishing my body for what she doesn't do for me. Telling her to look like someone else. Scolding her when the fabric I try to cover her with doesn't fit right. Cringing when her imperfections show. Dying a little inside because her thighs squish right up next to each other. Highlighting her defeat when the hike is too steep or the pants are too tight. I've grown to hate her, this body of mine. My body. I read an excerpt from a blog written by Sarah Bessey a few months ago. It felt like a punch to my gut. To my not-skinny-enough, not-strong-enough, not-tight-enough gut.
"Because I know that a lot of us have intentions and goals for our bodies. Good for you. But perhaps you could look at what is underneath those resolutions about your body.
And perhaps, just perhaps, you could make it your intention to - this year - rest from your battle against your body and simply embrace her with peace and love and joy and gratitude.
Maybe you don't need to shrink and shrink and shrink. Maybe you don't need to look like you're forty when you're sixty or twenty when you're forty.
Maybe you need to make peace with your body - this age, this stage, this ability, this capacity. Maybe it's time to love your body.
Sarah Bessey - Maybe this is your New Year's Resolution
I screenshotted this excerpt on my phone on March 6th. I texted my friend the screenshot that day with the message "Pray for me, I think I'm going to write about this next." It's now May 24th and Sarah Bessey's words have been echoing in my mind since. They're echoing loud and often because I've come to realize that I've been fighting a battle against myself.
Let me go back to one of Sarah's comments..."Maybe it's time to love your body." LOVE MY BODY?!? Love? My? Body? There's no way. Not now.
In 40 pounds, I'll love my body.
After a half marathon, I'll love my body.
Once she proves herself worthy, then I'll love her.
Once I'm able to take a selfie and not feel like I have to hold my phone a foot and a half above my head...surely, then I'll love this body. My body.
But to be honest, I'm not even sure I'd love my body if all the above things were true. So I started to try to imagine what it would be like if I didn't hate this body, my body. For the past several weeks, I've tried to name aloud the things this body has done for me. I've tried to say Thank You. I've tried to point at the marks and scars and see them as a way to read the story of my life. It's really hard. But I've been trying.
I started to get marks on both sides of my lip a bit ago. You know what those are? The early signs of wrinkles. I've heard about those. My mom and grandma have told me about them. But you know why I've started to get those marks? Because I smile a lot. Several times a day, I smile. Thank you, body, for reminding me of all those smiles. Keep doing that.
My right knee pops when I bend it a certain way. "I'm way too young for this" I usually say. But you know why it pops like that? I hurt myself dancing in High School one time. Doing what I love to do. Giving it my all. I wouldn't have had it any other way. So keep popping girl, remind me of those times.
I have a pretty gnarly scar that extends down from the bottom of my belly button about 5 inches. It isn't a neat scar. It wasn't a scar made with concern as to what this body would look like in a bathing suit after it healed. This scar is from April 30, 2017 at 8:35 am. When the baby girl growing inside me experienced a dangerously low heart rate during labor and my doctor had to get her out immediately. I love this one. I'll never speak unkind words towards this mark on my body.
I have stretch marks and cellulite and a double chin in most photos. I have short fingers and peeling nails. I get dandruff easily and I always run warm which leads me to be bright red or sweaty a lot of the time. But oh, my body...may I grow to love you. May I love you for what we've been through together. I hope that I grow to see your beauty and appreciate every mark and every scar. Every night as you rest, may you feel restored and renewed for the next day to come. For when we wake, we have work to do, a husband to love, and a baby to kiss. I'm putting my weapon down. I will not fight you. I will not make you the punch line of every joke. I will love you. I will nourish you. I will work with you and not use you. I will not try to shrink you. I will love you. I promise to love you, my body.