Thursday, June 27, 2013

When a Former Anorexic/Bulimic Loves Her Body

This morning I stood in our bedroom pulled on a camisole-topped two piece bathing suit.  I looked in the mirror and -- there they were.

Those thighs.

This picture here, it doesn't do them justice.  And by "justice" I mean that it does not show you the dimpled cellulite that jiggles overly much when I move, nor the stretch marks that came from binge eating and not from babies.  It doesn't show you the warty lump that protrudes where my right thigh meets my bottom, and it doesn't show you the the hairs that refused to be shaved.

I don't know why I just wrote that.  Why I felt the need to point out every last flaw about those thighs.

And that's what I thought about, there in my bedroom as I faced myself in the mirror and my son played on the floor nearby. 

Why is it those thighs?  Why not my thighs

My thighs, that watched two babies emerge from my womb.  My thighs, that have carried me and carried me for these more than three decades.  My thighs, that I've not treated or loved so well, and certainly haven't stretched nearly often enough. 

I will love my thighs, I told my bathing suit clad self this morning.  My own two thighs, strong and precious and solid.  I will be proud.

But I didn't believe that I could.

I went to the pool and drew and deep breath and told myself not to be ashamed of the body that housed my precious soul for all this time, not to be afraid to love it before the world.  I drew off my coverup and stood in my bathing suit, my thighs wide and white.  And --

Oh my friends.

It was totally fine.

I stood there in that bathing suit and it was fine.  I took my son up in my arms and strode toward the water, into the water, and it was fine.  I waded him around and buoyed him up on my shoulder and my knees and it was fine.  I emerged from the water, changed him and myself and -- it was totally fine.

I have never felt so free with my body.  Never felt so accepting of it.  Not ever.  Not even when I had starved myself down to a size nothing did I feel like my body was thin/beautiful/sexy/wanted/valuable/anything-at-all enough. 

And now -- I can stand proud on my thighs that don't meet our woman-crushing culture's ideal.  I can stand proud on thighs that our society says render me valueless, less-than. 

You and I, we know that value has nothing to do with size or shape or color or cup size or any of those transitory things.  It is easy to believe this for each other.

But for ourselves?  And me, for myself?  It's so much harder, somehow, to give the same grace.

And today . . . today, I did. 

It is a miracle, God-breathed and Spirit given.

This tastes of freedom, of shackles loosening and feet stepping from darkness into pools of light.  These feet, powered by my very own thighs.

This feels too beautiful for words.

* * *


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  1. I'm learning to love myself as I am too, and your words make total sense to me, as well as being inspiring. I know those moments of acceptance; now to string them together!

  2. OH Beth, WOW! are you sure you weren't writing from thoughts you read from my mind recently?! These were and are words I need to hear, more often... to allow myself to believe, on a daily basis, minute by minute! I am beautifully made, I am a daughter of God, who knew me before I was knit in my mother's womb. So thank you for being vulnerable, for opening yourself up. As shocking as this is going to sound... I discovered something recently that struck me to the very core, something so profound that it helped open my eyes a little wider to how those around me perceive me, rather my perception. I discovered that it is not just my husband who finds me desirable... who finds me beautiful... as a whole being.... yes the entire package... not just the personality. It was a complete and total shock to my system!! For the past 16 years its been so hard for me to believe that I was lovely, I was beautiful... even when my husband told me so... I wrote it off as... I'm the mother of your children, you love me, you are going to say that no matter what... (while thinking that he was looking through rose colored glasses envisioning me as I once was, not as I was then... ) but it finally dawned on me such was not the case. He loves me for whom I am now... not for his perception of who I was 16, 18, 20 years ago... but right now... in this present moment. That I can be proud of who I am... that its okay. So thank you!

  3. this is bold and beautiful and strong. thank you for the glimpse into a journey that we all know all too well. you are free and your proclamation of such invites others into that wide open space also.
    awesome, Beth.

  4. <3 This is so, so good. It's hard sometimes to extend the same grace to ourselves as we do to other people, isn't it? When I do photography, I'm always telling people how beautiful they are and how they shouldn't be afraid of being in pictures, but I've only recently started trying to live my own advice. :) It's so easy to criticize "that nose" or "that greasy hair" instead of glorying in the moment. I never think about those things when I look at pictures of other people, why should I do that to myself?

  5. Beth, I love the freedom you have to fully express yourself with true, raw honesty. You have come so far, conquered many mountains and come to that place of freedom. I pray one day I will be able to express myself that same open honest freedom


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King