I have a bad habit of thinking too much when it comes to my body. I see mountains instead of hills, growing bigger and taller and thicker the longer I stare. I have convinced myself of lies, that I’m the less attractive friend, that clothes don’t fit me, that I will never be comfortable naked, even when I’m alone. I have painted images of what other people must see, each stroke of the brush another exaggerated and hyperbolic distortion. I have been convinced that I am thought about often by others for the way that I look, the focus of their attention. I have been convinced that beauty was something that must be worked for or rewarded to those by a stroke of luck that had missed me. I have conjured up stories and myths about my body that I am now having to constantly rewrite and retell. My body and I have been at war, and this is the first time in my life where I have been on my body’s side.
This is the first time in my life that I have wanted to feel grounded in my body, to feel embodied. I have reached a new equinox where I am doing all the things I used to do in punishment for crimes in indulgence and genetics, but instead experiencing them in fullness and in pleasure. I am doing all of the things I was told to do to fit into the dress, to fall in love, and to be a better me. I am doing all of the things I was told to do as if it is my own rebellion. I am seeking wellness and health, instead of outlines of ribs and space between my thighs. Instead of the dress, the date, and the image. I am treating myself like a goddess, treating my body like it deserves, because I want to, because it feels good.
My body and I sometimes slip back into battle, but for now, we are locking arms and seeking better days and sun tans. It is an everyday choice to continue on, a constant redirection from punishment to passion. I would be nothing without my mantras, my reminders of what my body is and what it deserves.
I exercise because my body is a machine, powerful and dynamic that deserves to be run. If I sit for long, I will rust. I exercise because I feel embodied. I exercise because it feels good.
I eat because I’m hungry, I eat because I need fuel. My stomach acid can dissolve metal. I burn calories in my sleep. I eat healthy food because I love the colors. I eat what I want. I eat a spoonful of peanut butter because I need the protein, and I love the taste. I eat cupcakes because I deserve the fun and the icing on my fingertips.
I drink water to flush my system of toxins, not of pounds. I drink water to prevent kidney stones and hangovers, not to prevent pounds. I drink my water with lemon, not because I’m on a detox, but because it’s better that way.
I dance at hip hop class because I love it, and watching myself body roll in the mirror wall is irresistible. I dance because I’m happy, and, I think, I’m happy because I dance.
I lift weights because I’m a warrior, not to cower and hope that my arms will fade. I love my arms, I tell myself, especially without sleeves. We have a complicated relationship, but we’re working on it. I lift weights because I want to feel strong in spirit, and strong in body.
I go to group fitness to posture myself. I tell myself I deserve to be in this spot just as much as the next person, I love you, just as you are. I feel confident because I’m kicking ass, even when I’m getting my ass kicked. I feel brave, I feel invincible, because I am here.
I am transitioning from self conscious to self love. I do these things in love, not in hate.
All of these things to be misconstrued by those who tell me, “you’re so beautiful for a big girl” and “that would look great once you lose those last few inches”. I do things for the feeling, the feeling of being human, being hungry, being out of breath, and being tired in the best way. The feeling of taking care of my body, not morphing my body into something that it’s not. I am transitioning from self conscious to self love. I do these things in love, not in hate.
Join me in taking your wellness into your own hands, what are some of your own self love reminders? We're all in this together, High School Musical style. -Linds