Saw my therapist Wednesday afternoon.
First we had to oodgey-goodgey over my new elephants, and talk a bit of catch up before we got down to the me part of the conversation.
I shared that I lost eight pounds by cutting coca cola from my diet.
This lead to a conversation about physical health. We talked on this for a while, expressing the joys and concerns of our bodies. We talked of weight and health and strength. We talked of how grateful we are for our bodies.
For me, it’s not what size I am, or the number on the scale, it’s about how my body feels. As healthy as my brain is beginning to feel regularly, I want my body to feel equally healthy.
I have a magic number in my head, my ‘ideal weight’ but it’s so unrealistic. I’d be nothing but nose, shoulders and breasts. That’s why I ignore the scale and the labels in my clothes.
Does it fit comfortably? Do I feel strong? Can my body do everything I want to do?
I don’t hate my body because it’s got more padding than it used to. I don’t hate my body at all! This body has carried me through forty seven years of life, it grew and birthed two of the most amazing humans. It can run and jump and dance. It can sit and lie and be still. It has freckles and scars and bushy red hair.
My body is precious.
I don’t care what size my body is as long as it’s strong and healthy.
Right now it’s not as strong as I’d like it to be, so that’s what I’m doing, making it stronger.
This reminds me of a conversation the girls and I had about body shaming.
They’re both thin, inherited from their dad’s family, I come from folks of a sturdy stock.
Thing 1 has always been ‘underweight’. She’s an eater, but she just doesn’t bulk up. At all. Think Olive Oil, all arms and legs and neck, but with a cuter nose.
Thing 2 has always been small. She didn’t hit five feet or a hundred pounds until she was sixteen. Petite is the word you’re looking for. She’s a little firecracker.
They shared stories of experiencing skinny shaming.
Now I have personally said, “Eat a cheeseburger and put on a jacket.” to Thing 1 when she’s complained about being cold.
Turns out I was body shaming her. (not about the jacket, just the cheeseburger bit)
That’s horrible to consider.
My daughter’s body is perfect and beautiful. I would never purposefully disrespect it.
I only wanted her to be warmer, so I theorized if she ate more and put on a jacket, she would be warmer.
Thing 1 is underweight. She used to eat like a teenage boy, we wondered if she had a hollow leg, etc. but she just doesn’t keep weight. That’s hard for her. She struggles.
Should she be shamed? Should someone purposefully be hurtful about it?
Thing 2 went through a phase in which she purposefully starved her body. She honestly couldn’t have weighed ninety pounds. She was bones and skin and sunken eyes.
That frightened me. In ways I find hard to put into words.
I trod carefully when discussing what she was eating.
She has since returned to normal eating and a healthier weight.
I did suggest she eat a little more and it hurt her feelings.
I was body shaming her.
That was not my intention, I was fearful for her health and didn’t know what to do but offer food.
I look at photos of my girls, even the ones from the tattoo shop on this blog, I see strong healthy bodies. I see young women who use their bodies for work and play. I see the strength and vulnerabilities of their bodies. I see the difference between the little girls they used to be and the women the are. I see the freckles and tan lines. I see the self-inflicted scars and tattoo ink. I see what carries my daughters through this life.
They are healthy and strong. They are perfect exactly the way they are.
I am awed and overflowing with the maddest love for them!
I’ve used the word ‘porky’ when describing myself to them. They don’t like it.
I’ve worked hard to be clear that I want my body to be healthier, not simply more thin. They’re always supportive of me and my body. Like me for them, they want me to be in a strong and healthy body that works the way it’s meant to. They support my paying attention to what I eat, but never support “dieting”.
Bodies are made of bones and blood and muscle. They’re covered in skin and hair. They’re designed to do wonderful and awe-inspiring things. They even create more bodies! How much more awe-inspiring can you get!?!
I love my body.
It carries me through this life.
Stop worrying about shape and size and weight.
Stop comparing your body with the bodies of others.
Stop shaming your body and the bodies of others.
If a body is strong and healthy, what else matters?