Dear Body of Mine,
It’s been up and down with you through the years, hasn’t it? Always, there have been parts of you that I have treasured, like my loving heart and the way this brain provides the ability to laugh and think and learn and BE among all the other amazing things you do (you’ve helped me through a lot of adventures). It’s true, I love all kinds of people well and need to love some better. This includes you.
My green eyes, a child-like explanation for feeling as if I didn’t belong with family members who circled around me, were a quality I came to love–because they were different than everyone else’s blue.
Freckles that sprinkled my face and arms and seemed to multiply each summer after long hours of playing outside. My mom singing, “She has freckles on her butt she’s pretty (rather than but, as if freckles cancel out beauty) helped me see how in this way, I am also like her. Her father sang those same words to her when she was a kid.
Short, fat, all-the-same-length toes that have been a source of laughter (I’ve been called Surfer Toes since the nails on my big toes curve upward like an ocean wave).
Crinkly eyes and a line-y forehead from all that smiling and crying and laughing and searching and studying and wondering and hard-fought battles.
Stretch marks (how does that happen without having kids and always being small?)?! I’m human; I pretty sure that’s all that means.
I have put a lot of pressure on you to be what I thought you should be OR what I thought others wanted you to be, thinking that straighter hair or bigger breasts or more defined muscles, longer eyelashes, less freckles, smaller thighs, smoother skin, and on and on, would make me happy and/ or keep people around. I didn’t make physical changes I deeply wanted to because I didn’t think I would be accepted by those who loved me most. Because of my looks.
Choosing oh-so carefully how to nourish you after cursing you for all the pain and puzzling mind-fogginess and months of rashes and adult acne (who came up with that idea?). And yet, through all of this, you have shown me how strong and resilient you are, many long prayers answered like a single, twinkling star on a stretch of dark, cloudy nights.
Ever evolving into me (inside and out) and taking care of you in all the ways I am learning to is a challenge everyday, but I am REAL in that challenge. And I mess up. A lot. And more and more, I succeed.
And I remind myself that we are beautiful the way we are and comparing myself to others truly steals every ounce of my joy. I know it. I believe it. I feel it.
So, I am grateful for all you do for me. And I am especially thankful to God who has always been there through every bit of me as long as I have been me. Thanks for helping me to see the beauty in being who I am–loving, curly hair, pale Scotch-Irish skin with freckles, Vienna sausage-toed, smart, green-eyed, adventurous and brave ME.
I recently came across this series over at SheLovesMagazine and was inspired by the touching stories I read. Who cares that the deadline already passed! It’s never too late for some healthy positivity.