This year I've been thinking a lot about my body. I've been thinking about my relationship with my body and what is really important. I've been trying diligently to achieve a healthy balance of food and activity. I've been trying to ignore my obsessive impulses to starve and deprive and work my body to the bone to fit into my old jeans. Conversely, I've also been trying to keep indulgences just that - indulgences. I've been trying to master self-control when it comes to food and fitness.I've been trying very hard to accept my body the way it is and accept that my efforts are just that - efforts - and that they should be acknowledged. Most importantly, I'm learning to accept my imperfect body, the disease that will accompany me for as long as I am mortal. I'm learning a new respect for health and strength and learning to treat my body better. I'm realizing more that this body is it - it's all I've got. And I need to treat it right.
Like many of you, I follow C. Jane's blog. And so often, her very poignant way with words hits a chord with me. Today, I loved this. And it is exactly what I feel. Or perhaps what I want to feel:
You will be tempted to coerce your body into staying the same. You might hear about unhealthy perimeters to keep your body within numbers and measurements. You might feel a need to restore your body to a certain age where you thought your body belonged--even though you would never will your spirit backwards to that same place. You will hear lies that unless your body stays the same you are not good enough.
Your body is not about what you have too much of. Your body is not about what you wish you had more of. Your body isn't even about an appearance, it's more intelligent than that. It's about truth, the physical manifestation of what you know inside.
It's not about what days you will take it to the gym. It's not about what foods you will refuse it. It's not about how you can pluck it, paint it, or shape it with plastic. It's about how you feel about its worth--and your spirit's worth--and those sentiments will be your guide on how you treat it.
Your body has been changing since the day you were born, let it continue to change. Let it fatten, let it thin, let it bloom, let it blossom, let it shrink, let it wrinkle, let it die.
Powerful, isn't it?
Are there days when I really want my old body back? Yes. But I don't want my old life back. Especially because with this new body has come new life. Two of them in fact. A new body was required to make and house babies, a privilege that I have a deep respect for. It's a body that is softer and rounder and changed. But there is nothing in this world I'd trade for my babies, especially not my old body. I'm working very hard on having a healthier perspective of my mortal frame. I want to be proud of what it does daily, even if some days I just survive. I want to respect it for the hard work it has done twice over (and hopefully a few more times) in creating and sustaining life. I want to feel beautiful not because I fit into my jeans, but because my spirit fits into my body.
PHOTO: Me, in my old body. Taken by Jess in our second month of marriage at the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.