I should be packing right now, but instead of celebrating the privilege that I am able to travel with my husband to see family and friends for the holidays this year, I am thinking about my body. I realized this afternoon that my current favorite / *most flattering* clothes need to be washed, but there is not enough time for them to dry before we leave tomorrow.
I was also reminded today that millions of women and I were raised to hate our bodies, no matter what, and I realized that this is the reason I don’t want to pack. I even tried to convince my husband that we should leave a day later. I’m getting worked up, because I am assuming that my friends and family will be judging my body as harshly as I sometimes do. I assume that they are thinking about how much weight I could have/should have lost in the many months or years that have passed. Have I gained weight? Lost some? When did they see me last? Will I be able to handle well meaning, but misguided comments about my health?
I find myself preparing the words to justify my fatness and just that quickly I am sucked into the vortex of self-hatred and shame about how being fat is an unforgivable personal failure. I feel sad, because I forget so easily HOW. FREAKING. AWESOME. my body really is. So I wanted to write myself a quick reminder.
My body is a self contained masterpiece. I take a deep breath and feel the air filling my lungs, reminding me that I am alive. I notice that I can feel the cold air on my skin. My toes are tucked under the dog and I can feel his warmth and soft fur. My toes can feel his breath gently making his puppy belly rise and fall. I can hear the traffic in the street, along with the clicking of my keyboard. I can see as the words appear on the screen. I am amazed that my fingers just know what to do. I realize that my thoughts have trailed off, but I am still breathing, without any input from me. I am tired and I can feel my eyes; they are heavy, but they continue to blink to clean and moisturize themselves. I don’t move for a few seconds and notice that I can feel my heart beating. I am in complete awe that my heart can beat and my lungs can fill and I am grateful that my body sustains me, even though I can be so hateful towards it. I feel the bruise on my knee, from where I bumped it yesterday. My amazing body knows how to repair this damage. This makes me think about my joints and muscles and how they all work together to allow me to move. I can barely operate a marionette, but somehow my body can stand and sit and walk and dance and skip and swim and BREATHE. No matter what I am doing, my body just breathes for me. I am tired, which reminds me of the brilliant signaling system my body has, when it needs something from me. It tells me when to sleep, when to wake, when to eat, when to drink water, when to go to the bathroom. My body is just ticking away, processing food and liquid into waste, meanwhile I am sitting here and can’t even come up with the words to express HOW COOL that is. I think a little more about the food that is being processed; through years of dieting and restricting and bingeing and overriding, I have not been a consistent, trustworthy provider of fuel and I am beyond grateful that my body figured out how to protect itself in the meantime.
Dear Body: THANK YOU for sustaining me through everything. I am ready to trust and support you, instead of overriding you. Please continue to be patient with me.
There. That feels a lot better. Let’s get this bag packed.