Somewhere along the way, I bought into a big lie. And “bought into” is putting it gently. “Dove headfirst into” is more honest. Sometime after creating and growing and nurturing a human being, I decided I needed to be sorry for my body. To apologize for subjecting the world to it. The extra weight and softness and scars became my biggest sins that I spent all my time repenting and atoning for. No one implicitly told me to. Subliminally, I’m sure; it’s never exactly been American media’s M.O. to make women comfortable in their skin. But no one I loved looked me in the eyes and told me to apologize right now for this sad excuse of a body. My husband loves me exactly the way I am, and tells me so nightly. If anything is going to influence the way I think of myself, it should be that. Yet, it consumed me. It’s a strange and sad existence when every other thought about yourself is “ew”. You may not realize it, but that thought pattern will wreck you. One day you’re functioning fairly well, making it – at least, and the next you’re telling your husband you’d rather die than exist in this body anymore.
Uh, come again? No ma’am. You see, somewhere in this year’s wide-reaching journey for self-acceptance (more on this coming, eventually), I made an impossible deal with my body. “I’ll accept you and love you once you look the way I want you to.” I covered it up nicely in grace and that I’ll take it slow and have realistic expectations, but in reality I’m rolling my eyes at myself anytime I catch a reflection in a mirror, scooting out of pictures when others try to include me, and talking to myself like I would never speak to my worst enemy. I’ve said things to my reflection that I would fight other women for saying. Horrible, degrading, downright mean things. I put my self-esteem in a headlock and dragged her down as far as I could get her without actually killing her. I think. I think she’s got a small amount of fight left in her.
Because here’s the reality. I am, without a doubt, going to look back on my mid 20’s with at least a small amount of regret. It’s inevitable. Because I spent them hating myself for not having a body worthy of a (very airbrushed) Sports Illustrated cover. I spent them comparing and contorting and crying and hiding. And if you know me, hiding just isn’t my style. I’m done being sorry. I’m not sorry. I’M NOT SORRY THAT I’M NOT SKINNY, OK? Whatever the hell skinny means. I’m doing my damn best. I’m making healthy-ish food choices (look, life is too short to not enjoy some end-of-a-long-day ice cream with your husband or a poolside snowball with your toddler). I’m working out when my demanding schedule allows it, which is often, multiple days a week. But I’m doing that more for my mental health than physical, if we’re being honest.
My body doesn’t shed weight. I’ve come to accept it, and actually love my body in spite of this often frustrating fact. Is there more I could be doing? Yes. Am I going to do it? Right now, probably not. Because life is freaking short and I’ve already wasted enough time obsessed with this. (Obsessed [v] – reoccupy or fill the mind of (someone) continually, intrusively, and to a troubling extent. Yup.) My body grew a HUMAN BEING. A living, breathing, healthy, hilarious HUMAN. (And friends, if your’s hasn’t, and you’re in this boat with me, trust me – it’s still been through enough. Life is hard. Give yourself a couple hundred breaks.) Do other women bounce back and walk out of the hospital looking less pregnant than I currently do 20 months postpartum? Yup. (Looking at you, Nanny :)) And those women are wonderful and beautiful and I love em. But I am not in some weird competition with them. I refuse to be. What I want is for all of us to be side-by-side, arm-in-arm, walking through this stupid weird / hard life together, regardless of our waist size or how long it took us to get there.
I’m done. Done. Life is too short and already hard enough. I’m done hustling and fighting and crying and obsessing. I’m done with comparing and contrasting and judging and more obsessing. I’m going to set my eyes on Jesus, take a chill pill, and thrive. “Life is too short” has become my battle cry. Join me?