The number of years I’ve spent hating my body is a sad testament to the times we live in. Practically from birth, we’re bombarded with messages that we’re supposed to hate our bodies. We need to be on a constant quest to make them more pleasing to the eye.
But even once we’ve reached that level of “perfection”, something new comes along and we start the quest all over again. We’ve been given a set of rules by society. We’re not supposed to love and accept our bodies. We need to be better, thinner, curvier, a different color, etc.
My body and I have been on a bumpy journey for these past 43 years. I’m just now starting to honor that journey, and change the narrative in my own head about this body that has done amazing things! I’m just now starting to worship myself as the goddess that I am.
Join me as I take a look back at my body odyssey….
I remember looking at my 10-year-old body and thinking that my belly was too big. That’s the first time I remember hating my body. I was just a little girl with baby fat. But even at such a young age, began hating my body.
In middle school, when MTV actually played music videos, I remember watching these videos and wishing I could look like the women in them. I wanted perfectly round breasts, a flat, toned stomach, and tanned, thin legs for days.
During my middle and high school years, I was already dealing with the fallout from having trichotillomania (a disorder that causes a person to pull out their own hair), so I already hated myself. To add to that hatred, I also thought that my 130-pound body was fat and grotesque. I couldn’t see anything beautiful about the way I looked. Nothing.
And then I had two babies…
I loved being pregnant (most of the time), and I surprisingly didn’t hate my body during my two pregnancies. But most women know what comes with having babies. My breasts got bigger but sagged. My belly became a deflated balloon that now hangs down. And I’ve got stretch marks for days!
Since having my babies, and dealing with some trauma and mental health issues, I’ve gained a considerable amount of weight in the past 20 years. I weigh over double what I did in high school, and I’ve spent years hating myself.
I’ve treated myself horribly, using words I wouldn’t say to my worst enemy. I’ve been in hermit mode, thinking that I was so grotesque that I didn’t want to bother the world with my hideousness. The first time my now husband touched my stomach, I batted his hand away. And no matter how many times he told me that I’m beautiful, I felt the need to constantly apologize for being overweight.
But my body deserves better than that…
After years of struggling, I finally reached a place in my journey where I realized that I deserve better than the way I’d been treating myself. I realized that society doesn’t define my worth. The size of my body doesn’t define my worth. Nothing about my appearance defines my worth. EVER!
This face shows the million times I’ve lit up a room with my smile. These eyes have taken in astonishing beauty and expressed emotion with renewing tears. Each wrinkle is a story of strength and growth. My skin shows the changes that 43 trips around the sun bring, and each spot or discoloration tells a story.
My shoulders, widened by pregnancies, have been there for those who need to rest their heads for a moment or cry tears of joy or pain. My chest has been a favorite resting place for my beloved kittens who love having a place to lay. My breasts fed both of my babies, nourishing them for their first few months of life.
My belly hangs down and is covered in stretch marks…my babies grew for nine months in there. My uterus housed the two most important people in my life. They grew from mere cells to perfect, healthy babies who’ve brought immeasurable joy into my life. That belly kept them safe and warm while they did their most important growing.
My legs and feet have carried me miles and miles during this lifetime. They’ve carried me toward happiness and joy, and they’ve also carried me away from negativity and pain. They’ve allowed me to walk away from people and situations that were hurtful and not the best choice for my journey.
My body has worked hard…it deserves love now…
Every day my heart beats, my lungs take in and expel air, my brain runs the show, and a million things happen every second to keep me alive. It was well past time for me to show my body the love and honor it deserves.
I have now been working on giving my body the nourishment it deserves by making better, healthier food and drink choices. I consider each cell when I’m deciding what foods to put in my body.
I’ve also started an exercise program to help this wonderful body do its job. Each day of exercise brings more strength, more oxygen, and more feel-good hormones. That’s my body’s way of thanking me for finally loving her and treating her the way she deserves to be treated.
It’s been a long journey, and there have been many years of self-hatred, but here we are. My body and I have a much better relationship now. I can finally look in the mirror and see beauty and perfection instead of scrutinizing every negative aspect. And on the days I can’t bring myself to LOVE my body, I read this blog post and accept and appreciate myself.
I’m not 100% there yet, but I can honestly say that today I’m choosing to love my body and all that it’s done for me.