How to Love Your Body
I have a crippling fear of body fat. I was the chubby kid who coupled cookies and Gatorade with the sedentary Nickelodon after-school lifestyle. I quit the soccer team in third grade and the snowball of childhood-chub and I never looked back, or in the mirror. Then, like most things, I grew out of the fat and the bad habits. By college, I finally felt my body and I were a single entity.
No longer roommates placed together by a random algorithm of natural selection, my body and my mind were one.
Then I got sick. Lyme Disease messed with my hormones. Babesia ate my nutrients. Candida dumped toxins in my blood, and my body ballooned. Separated once again, my body and I had a rocky road finding each other over the last ten years.
This year, my body and I drifted apart. I loathe the edema that's lead to the motto "compression stockings are sexy." I agonize over every dimple on my thighs and every second I'm afraid my pants will cut off circulation at my waist. My skin, rippled from fluid trapped in the adipose tissue, doesn't feel like home.
I spend a lot of time remembering what my body and I used to be, and what I hope we will return to.
I am in a state of in between, and this is when I learn to love it.
We are never taught how to love the temporary state of our bodies, but we forget: every state is temporary. So, I start with a hastily crafted apology.
I'm sorry for all the names I call you, and times you make me cry. I know you want to do good by me. So do I. Truce?
In order to find peace with the current state of my body, I have to find some perspective, while body dysmorphia crippling my rational mind.
For this, I turn to gratitude. Gratitude is that thing everyone says will change your life for the better--the easiest step towards happiness. I have to say, it's pretty flippin' accurate.
Every time I'm furious because my pants don't fit, or my thighs look lumpy, I pause and give my body the gratitude it deserves. I thank my limbs for carrying me throughout the hectic workload, pushing themselves through every downward facing dog I demand, and every moment of every day, because I have legs, and that in itself is pretty awesome.
After gratitude, I focus on perspective. There's a ninety nine percent chance that things I notice and loathe about my body no one else sees. So I give myself space to just be while I wait for my body to sort itself out.
Talking about the body isn't easy. Maybe before Photoshop, reality tv, and the Master Cleanse it was an easier relationship to have: the body, the mind, and the public, maybe not.
Do you struggle to love your body? Is gratitude changing the way you see yourself and the world? Let me know in the comments!