Friday, May 16, 2014

My body is bad ass

Yes. It is. I, like so many women, have struggled with body image for, well, all of my life. My weight has gone up and down. I have been overweight when I have been jogging and eating super healthy, I have been skinny when I was eating horribly. I have felt that my self esteem has been tied to my weight, but the truth is that my self esteem has just always been low. I just thought I should have higher self esteem when I was thin. I have spent a great deal of my life pretending to be what people think I should be. My body image has been tied to many issues for me. I read recently a quote about how we are not discovering ourselves, we are creating ourselves. I completely agree. The past few months have been teaching me many lessons.

1. I do not have to be a "nice girl." When I was very young, I was bullied relentlessly. Because of those experiences, I learned to be "pleaser." I can find a way to get along with almost anyone. That's not a bad trait, but the downside to it is that I often sacrifice me to "play nice." It has cost me big time recently. I deserve to speak up for myself. The nice girl is gone. She is being replaced by a strong, confident, secure woman who actually deserves to be heard and respected.

2. Shit happens, and it's okay to be upset about it. I get knocked down, but I never stay down for long. I am always bouncing back and saying that things were tough, but I have such a charmed life that I can't stay down. It's just a coping mechanism. In having that attitude, I have only pushed aside things that really need to come to light. I've been trying to punch through things that are pretty darn heavy. It's actually okay to be upset when life hands you a shitty deal. It's okay to grieve when horrible things happen. It's okay to REALLY grieve. Grief is a part of life. It does not have to be pushed away and there is no time limit. Do I want to get caught in a never ending cycle of depression? No, but I will tell you this, ignoring the problem and pushing through only puts the problem aside for later.

3. My body is bad ass. This one might be the toughest for me. Actually, there is no might, this one is the toughest for me. But, it is all true. My body is bad ass. My body has kept me going for nearly 42 years. My body has kept kicking through physical and emotional bullying. My body has ridden hundreds of miles on a bike. My body has climbed mountains and hiked through backwoods. My body has laid wattles all day on a mountain to prevent erosion after wild fires. My body has done physical labor. My body has survived dangerous falls and car crashes. My body has survived illnesses. My body has survived surgery without proper pain medication. My body has survived physical abuse. My body has survived attempted suicide. My body has survived sexual abuse. My body grew and birthed five beautiful, amazing human beings. My body provided milk for those growing people. My body has shown children how to serve a volleyball, hit a baseball, shoot a basketball, and kick a soccer ball. My body learned how to sing again after years and years of not singing. My body has cheered loudly and excitedly over and over for kids I know and kids I don't as they pushed their own bodies in sports. My body danced every night for eight weeks in a show with people half my age. My body has withstood excruciating bouts of insomnia on a level that most people believe only happens in a Stephen King novel. My body kept me going when I had to say goodbye to the closest thing I've ever had to a sister. My body has withstood the cold while I stood with others in solidarity. My body has learned to feel deeply again through music. My body has hugged friends and family in joy, sorrow, comfort, love, and goodbye. My body has embraced strangers at the scene of car wrecks, during national and local tragedies, and in pure joy of a shared triumph. My body has given comfort, strength, and courage to others. Amazingly, NOT ONE SINGLE TIME did it matter one damn bit if I had scars, stretch marks, pimples, or cellulite. It didn't matter if I was overweight or underweight. It didn't matter if my nose was too round, my hips too wide, my hair was graying, or my arms too flabby. There is no other conclusion. My body is bad ass. I owe my body an apology for all the loathing. If we truly are creating ourselves then from this point forward, this bad ass body is housing a bad ass woman. Watch out world!