I must say that I loved last last summer; I’d lost a bunch of weight thanks to not being in an office all day (and I started smoking, that helped, but was a poor decision).
This year…is different. I am saggy and flabby thanks to working an office job again and eating way more than I should, and carrying around 30lbs of quitting smoking weight. My clothes don’t fit and I feel gross. I bought a swimsuit from Victoria Secret only to realize that the $48 only covered the top; so, right before we left for the pool, I slid (oh who are we kidding, maneuvered) into bottoms from last year that happened to match. And let me tell you, the back isn’t looking like it was last year, and so the bottoms were tight….too tight. I so didn’t want to go to the stupid water park and be all fat, but whatever, suck it up, I need a tan.
I felt uncomfortable in my own skin (literally) and pushed and pulled my bathing suit while I tried to find a position to lay in that allowed me to have a tan but made me look as least fat as possible while I read my book.
I looked down at my stomach in disgust and suddenly, flashing before my eyes, were the things that this body I was now so disgusted by had accomplished. Skin that had stretched as I grew life – as I turned food into humans, y’all. So many times that I had glanced at this stomach and ached – years of yearning for the life that had existed in there but then on one check up was just…no more. So many times that I prayed that it would be round with life again. The doctor’s visits, the negative tests, the tears. Walking that long hospital hallway after surgery, leaving empty handed, save for an envelope with butterfly-covered coping materials in it…again. How I swore I would give anything, any vanity, any part of my body, to have a child to love. How had I come to despise the way it looked?
And somewhere in the background, The Oldest One contorts the shape of her face when I criticize myself, though I try very, very hard for her to never hear it. I am her mother, and with that role comes an unimaginable weight of having to teach her to love herself. And I see as she tries to reconcile the fact that I can tell her to love herself, and that God made her the way she was, and not to let society define her, and then say I hate my ________, that I wish my ears were different, and that I wish I could look like the one wearing the bathing suit in the picture.
How can one hate the way their stomach looks when it used to do things like this?
When it gave life to these people?
When it mourned the loss of the life of two others.
This body – it walks; it has functioning legs and arms. It can run, if it wants, and it needs to start doing so. It can communicate and feel love and is loved. It softly teaches about Jesus and learns and craves and digests and types out thoughts. It writes and claps and fixes computer errors and kisses boo-boos and smiles and experiences emotions so powerful they bring me to my knees at times. It knows joy. It knows heartache. It knows grace and mercy. It knows how to drive and rock a baby and sing and dance. It cries and breaks and heals. It loves and serves and makes mistakes and apologizes, which it hasn’t always done.
It is beautiful.
However, it needs to be healthy for all of those things, and it needs to choose carefully what food nourishes it and it needs to get up off the couch and go do things – but not because it needs to look good in a swimsuit, but because it wants to experience these things for a long time, and it needs to be healthy to do so.
Publicly announcing that you’re going to start working on health isn’t easy (I’m about to dump this instead of hitting post), but it’s necessary. So here I am, checking in – at the beginning. Let’s hope the end doesn’t include me passed out in a ditch in shock from my exercise allergy.