I used to be ashamed of my Body. I used to hide all of it that I could. I didn’t appreciate it for what it was, what it could do and has done for me, and instead looked at it under a microscope and saw all that it wasn’t.
It wasn’t long. It wasn’t lean. It wasn’t tall. It wasn’t feminine.
We live in a world of body shaming, of judgment, of comparison. I’ve done it, you’ve done it, we’ve all been guilty of shaming, judging and comparing our bodies to others’. I’ve changed a lot over the past couple of years. Once I settled into my 30’s I started to treat my Body like it was all that I had instead of wishing I could change it. And once I put it together that I cannot change everything, but that I could change some things, and then accept the things that I could not change, I began to love it more. I began to appreciate it more. I began to respect it more.
This Body gave birth to two children. This Body has run thousands of miles and lifted thousands of pounds in its thirty three years on this earth, it has twisted and flipped, it has carried loved ones through pain and sadness. This body has morphed from round and lumpy to fit and strong. And when I think about it in those ways, I can think of it as a mighty powerful thing. Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at our bodies in different lights, different views, from different angles in order to see everything that it is. Sometimes we need to test its limits in order to know how amazing it can be.
I’ve been feeling a little less-than lately. Maybe it’s the grey weather, maybe it’s the holiday blues, maybe it’s just that we all go through periods where we feel down and I was due for mine. I had been wallowing in it, and knew it was time to climb out of it. So Saturday morning I went for an 8 mile run. It was cold, it was rainy, I still had a sinus infection, and all signs pointed to staying home by the fire. But instead I flipped it upside down and fought through. After I came home my Body ached. I had pushed it far, pushed it when it didn’t want to be pushed, and it was tired. My back was stiff, my knees sore. And instead of stopping, instead of laying down, I decided to balance out that ache, that soreness and stiffness. I decided to turn myself upside down and push it in another direction. I decided my Body needed some balance.
It’s easy to become ashamed of looking at ourselves. We think it’s vain, conceited, or too self indulgent to step back and look at our body, to study it. It’s easier to ignore it, make jokes about it, put it down. I have issues still with calling myself or my Body Beautiful. But I say if you’re feeling a little less-than, and in need of a boost, turn your body into art, take a step back and marvel at the beauty and all that it is instead of all that it isn’t.
It isn’t perfect. It isn’t flawless. But those are now OK with me. Its imperfections and flaws are what makes my Body mine and no one else’s.
It is strong. It is capable. It is fit. It is Beautiful.