Ah, body acceptance: Society tells us to strive for body acceptance and positivity from one side of the mouth, while pointing out all that’s wrong with our bodies from the other. It’s a vicious cycle that leaves few of us unscathed.
On our last summery vacation – something I’m dreaming about now, by the way – I’d packed two one pieces (both of which are hella flattering), but instead I donned one of the smallest bikinis I’ve ever owned. The low-rise, cheeky bottoms aren’t something I’d have ever dreamed of putting on my body – especially the one that’s carried and birthed a child – but that’s what I wore.
And d’ya know what? I felt good in it.
Lying on the reclining chair with my book, I glanced down at the soft squishiness of my belly. It’s never going to be firm and taut like it was when I was 15. And that’s quite alright – I hope nothing about me is ever like it was at 15 again. Because I’m not 15. But I thought of the critical eye I had of my body then, and in all the years before and since then, and I felt sad and ashamed.
Over the years, I’ve treated my body poorly – like an abusive partner, really. Demeaning. Degrading. Withholding and then asking for more and more and more.Tweet
How many times did I skip a meal while calling myself fat?
How many times did I push myself beyond safety, allowing myself to become injured or exhausted by exercising too muych?
How many times did I pinch at or curse my soft, squishy skin? Suck in my stomach? Wear Spanx so tight my stomach hurt and my movements were restricted?
If my body was its own person, my apology would never be sufficient. Can I really be forgiven for such mistreatment, over such a long period of time?
I won’t lie: Sometimes I still look in the mirror and cringe a little. But those moment are fewer and further between as I get older and grow more appreciative of all this body has done for me.
It’s seen me through sports, injuries, and illness.
It has carried me across finish lines, up hills, and kept going even when I believed I’d fail myself.
It’s carried a child within it and carried that child out in the world, never asking for anything in return.
It has stretched and bent and heaved and twisted to give me the freedom to do everything I’ve asked it to.
And, hopefully, it will continue to do so in the years ahead.
I’m sorry it took me so long to recognize all the good my body does and is.Tweet
It’s a relationship I should have fostered sooner, should have appreciated sooner. But I didn’t, so I can only apologize and look forward with the hope my body will forgive me for all my misgivings.