I’m not sure what changed in my way of thinking or shifted in my perspective but I do know that the other day as I was changing my clothes, I caught sight of my naked body. I stopped and looked at myself; really looked at my body. I’ve been too afraid to do that for many years because it always ended in disappointment and dissatisfaction culminating in anger and frustration. I was never happy with what I saw staring back at me. It made me feel small and defeated because I just couldn’t get it right. I preferred to look in mirrors the least amount possible because it only served as a reminder of my physical shortcomings.
But the other day when I saw myself in the mirror, I saw a woman who is almost 40 and doesn’t have any wrinkles, only a couple gray hairs and though I am a few sizes larger than I want to be, this body still has some appeal to it. My legs look good, they carry me to all the places I need to be. My arms may have residual wave because I am sporting a slight case of bat wings from weight but these are the arms that allow me to hug and cuddle those people in my life that mean the most; the family I love and the friends I adore. My hips and waist are bigger than I would have ever wanted but they have also carried my babies. These are the parts that my children hold tightly to when they hug me. My breasts are further south than I thought it possible for breasts to go but they have breastfed my daughters; these low hanging breasts have given my girls nourishment and a healthy start in life. I am not my parts. I am the woman who lives behind the mask of my body. I am the great and powerful Oz of myself.
I’m not saying that I am a reformed body dysmorphic disordered woman or that I can just wish away the years of eating disorders but after 15 years of being recovered I am finally saying that what I see in the mirror doesn’t make me want to starve myself, vomit or punish my body into submission anymore. I know that I want to be healthier and I know there are the right ways to do it and I know those options are available to me. If I want it, all I have to do is work hard for it; slow and steady by not giving up, not getting discouraged and not thinking that I don’t deserve the success. I’ve hidden behind the curtains of excuse too long. The body that I have isn’t so bad. My body just needs a little TLC and my heart needs to exercise a little more forgiveness towards my body. I am worthy of love and I deserve happiness. What’s the point of all this misery, anyway? Who is it appeasing? This struggle with my body and my mind is self-inflicted. No one else thinks that the size of my body determines my worth. It’s me. It’s always been me.
You can’t force acceptance. It has to come naturally or it isn’t acceptance at all. Like love, when you are not looking is when you will find self-acceptance and learn to truly love yourself. I am on the precipice of changing my life forever by changing my perspective. I don’t know how this happened or what changed my way of thinking.
I do know that I will not be who I am today for much longer. I am metamorphosing my life from the inside out. I am not giving up my dreams of long lean legs and non-flapping arms (a girl’s gotta dream) but I am giving in to loving myself as I am because just because my body doesn’t fit a mold doesn’t mean that it is not amazing. There is beauty on the inside that surpasses any superficial beauty I could ever imagine. I don’t judge the people I surround myself with by their appearance and I don’t imagine they do me either. We love the substance, the meat of the person, not the make-up, clothes and hair.
It’s time I allow myself the same unconditional love that I would extend to anyone else in the world.