Lately, my Body and I have disagreed on a number of topics. Body says it’s hungry in the wee hours meant for slumber. Body groans it’s tired when it should provide developmental activities for Babe. Body protests in sitting down to write when Babe goes to sleep each night.
For the past few months, the Babe and I have climbed on our bike, splashed in pools and lakes, and ran ‘round our anterior spaces. And yet, when I jogged with a bosom friend, I could barely push Monster Bear’s stroller uphill.
As any human who has carried a few babes, or even a few years, with her we often judge our Bodies for what they do not do well rather than what they have done. A woman’s Body is a magician. We women are quick to pull at excess skin or to cram various parts into ill-fitted garments that should only be used when swimming with sharks. Why is it so easy to judge a minor flaw of the same Body that has provided us a safe house for our silly hearts, for our wee offspring? I am to blame for this. Almost daily I glare at my wobbly bits and stretch marks instead of being thankful for the memories they represent.
Often in failing lights and faulty moods I decide my Body is too ugly, too wobbly, too waifish, too sickly. Too this and not enough that.
A few weeks ago, I stood in my girl friend’s apartment, undressing in front of a long mirror. As I dove headfirst in a number of dresses she offered me, I had no idea that I would soon walk away with more than just material goods. She said, “Look at you, Lace. Your Body is ahhhhhmazing. If I had that body, I’d be naked all the time. It’s so perfect.” Look at your curves, she said, gesturing to my hips that bulge after having babe, to my thighs that have never really gap. I couldn’t digest her compliments thoroughly as I stood so readily exposed. And she knew it. She answered my silent protests: “Listen, you’ve been with your Body too long, you look too long, girl. All I see is how gorgeous you are.” And I tried to look through her mirror, to see what she saw. But I couldn’t just yet.
How trifle and yet so troubling this is for it takes up so much of a person’s day–how he or she perceives her/himself impacts each and every portion of the day whether he or she deems it worthy or not.
Recently, a bosom comrade said that she is not happy with her current skin-folds, and that she knows this from living with herself, from looking at herself every day. I wanted to scream and cry and yell as my toddler does when he does not get his way, for I disagreed so purely with her blunt remarks about her Body. She is a goddess, truly. But how could I give her my lenses? I wished to poke at her temples until she saw as I did.
Looking glasses be damned, I am still working on this. Loosening my gaze in self acceptance is not an easy task. But I need to for the sake of my son, as I never want him to hear me harp on what my Body can and cannot do. Accepting that my Body is thirty and will respond how it wants to a lap of an ice cream cone, to a run outside with nothing but the wind and the ticky tacky streets is a tiny goal of mine. How do you see yourself? Does it mirror my perception? If so, throw out your mirrors and hug your friends because they see the real you when you cannot see yourself, your Body and all of its wonders. Let your friends be your eyes as they have been your ears to listen, your shoulders to lean, your arms to hold. Such a friend is worth much more than the seven years bad luck you may cause from breaking each and every mirror in your life. Even if that gaze feels as grand as The Bean.
Let me know when you’ve shattered them all.