I want to love my body. Did you hear that? I want to love my body.
This does NOT mean that I want to improve myself and then love myself. It does NOT mean that I want to crossfit it into submission, or miracle cream away my wrinkles or thigh dimples, or train for the Olympics. I know these improvements are healthy for some but to me, constant improvement and striving for an always unrealized ideal (because let’s face it, when you get there, there’s always something else) just feels like war. And war is meant to tear down and not build up.
I’m tired of war. I’m tired of believing the lies that come with war. I’m ready to make peace with myself, with this body that has served me well, that has done amazing things.
I remember the first time I looked at myself and thought the “F” word. I had just received my yearly dance pictures, saw myself awkwardly posed and thought, “You are fat”. And in that instant a lie was planted deep in my heart and it has taken root there and spread ugly shoots out into so many other areas of my life.
My body has been my enemy and my livelihood for my entire life. I find it ironic that the two would or could co-exist.
I have been a professional dancer and used my body to create art for the enjoyment of others. I was a massage therapist, using my body to free the pain and tensions trapped in another’s. I’ve been a Pilates instructor, training my body to obey me and then training others to do the same to theirs. And while I have loved these things, found solace and purpose and meaning in these things, there has always been that lie whispering back at me.
“Your thighs are too fat!” “Your breasts are too small!” “You don’t kick high enough, massage hard enough, and your abs aren’t tight enough!”
“You are not enough!”
Then I turned 35 and the lie cut deeper. We had a difficult time conceiving our 2nd son. The doctors telling me that 35 was the magical number when things get harder, go wrong, or just can’t. And when we finally do conceive and have our revealing ultrasound the doctor looks at my chart and says “Well, I see you have advanced maternal wombage.” (or some such s**t). And the lie that my body is failing me from the inside as well takes up residence next to the first one.
I’m almost 40 now and I’m ready to surrender, call a truce, raise the white flag. I want peace. I NEED peace.
Do you know that it never occurred to me that my body has done something truly magnificent until I read through all of these posts? All of my amazing contributors talked about loving themselves, their imperfections, setting a good example for their children, and that it all just doesn’t matter. And it clicked! I belong to the same club as them. I have the same scars, I have been stretched inside and out just as they have. And yet dare I still believe the lie that I’m not enough?
I have 2 boys. 2 perfect, happy, healthy, amazing boys! I carried them inside of me, tucked up close to my heart for a long time. I delivered them. I nursed them. I raise them. They want me and they believe that I AM ENOUGH!
It’s time to believe it.
Time to stop ridiculing my body and taking it for granted. Time to stop demeaning it with wisecracks and putdowns. Time to stop defining it with a number or a size. It’s time to shower it with gentleness and compassion and love and peace.
Peace…not war. Truth and not lies. I am enough, this body is enough…and powerful, and magnificent, and life-giving, and beautiful.