My Body is No Temple

A couple weeks ago I attended my first yoga class since my children were born, and somewhere between my shaky downward dog and my less-than-menacing warrior pose I heard a phrase I hadn’t thought of in years; “My body is a temple.”

My body is a temple? Snort. Could anything be farther from the truth?

Temples are houses of worship and piety. They are pristine, silent and cavernous. Ok, the cavernous part might be true, but the rest would be laughable if it weren’t so depressing. My body has nothing in common with the cold, unyielding, stone beauty of a temple. Most of the time, it is a hot mess.

The ancient Greeks designed their temples to reflect the perfection of the Gods. Their beauty was in their simplicity and symmetry. There is no order or perfection left in my body: two children and thirty plus years of gravity have seen to that. Symmetry? I have two of everything that’s supposed to come in pairs, but that’s the best I can do. My breasts are lopsided, my hips are wider than my chest, and I’m fairly sure that one of my feet is bigger than the other. My body has none of the flawlessness of a Greek temple. I could (maybe) pull off the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but only if I worked out.

In addition to their impressive architecture, temples are meant to be pure and clean. I’m reasonably sure that Cheetos, Fruit Loops, cheesecake, cheese in either liquid or powder form, and anything carbonated would be considered heresies and thus banned from any self-respecting temple. I, on the other hand, welcome junk food with open arms into the dilapidated shelter that masquerades for my temple. The result of which is peeling paint, asbestos in the ceilings, and a gas leak of which I can’t seem to locate the source. It’s a disaster. My body may once have been considered beautiful, and there were those who lined up to worship. Ok, it wasn’t so much a line as a very small gathering of weirdos, like Comic Con. Either way, it held a certain appeal for some people. But over the years, what was once a peaceful retreat has been ransacked and thrown into chaos.

My body has created and housed two beautiful creatures and borne them into the world, but it was not without a price. Those precious little creatures did more damage to my temple than the Vikings ever dreamed. They stripped every fancy adornment and gold fixture from the walls. They tore apart the furniture and set fire to the curtains. They chased away the priests and worshipers, turned over the tables, and boarded up the door. My once flawed, but well-loved, temple now lies in ruins, ignored by passersby, apart from the occasional cat seeking shelter. The little Vikings relish in their victory holding lavish and bacchanal parties beneath its leaky roof. My temple has been reduced to a site for warehouse raves.

What does one do with an abandoned temple? There comes a time when a building has fallen into such disrepair that the cost of fixing it outweighs the cost of bulldozing it and starting over. Where does that leave me when, unfortunately, selling the land to a property developer, making a million dollars, and moving to the Caribbean doesn’t appear to be an option? Perhaps one day, I will learn to appreciate the ruins of my fallen temple the way we do the ancient cities of Athens or Rome. Tourists travel from far and wide to marvel at their remains. Their beauty remains despite their imperfection. Their divinity is in their rich history: they housed some of the most important people of their times.

Perhaps, so has mine.

About the writer

Once a cognitive psychologist in the field of memory, Mary Widdicks now spends the majority of her time trying to remember if she fed all her children each morning. The irony is not lost on her. She started writing about her life as the only girl in a house full of boys in January 2014 and has since been featured on sites such as The Washington Post, The Huffington Post and BluntMoms, and in several parenting anthologies. She has also been honored as a Voice of the Year by BlogHer in 2013 and 2014, and a 2014 Badass Blogger of the Year by the Indie Chicks. In February of 2015, she gave birth to her first daughter and is now happily drowning in a sea of pink. Follow Mary on Outmanned and Facebook.


C’dar Pinder-Sommerville 2 years ago

My body? My body is gone replaced by this squishy, flabby, jiggly, cottage cheesy fat thing that doesn’t seem to understand that it doesn’t have to hold on to every calorie from the drive through! Loved this post!

Heather 2 years ago

This is hilarious! Well done!

Sheryl Webb 2 years ago

Yep…the Temple of Doom.

Megan Cottle 2 years ago

My body is more like a brothel

sammie 2 years ago

My body is also a hot mess! I can so relate to this post.

Nadia @ Mama and the City 2 years ago

I used to say that “my body is my temple”. I have lots to re-consider now. Thank you for sharing, hilarious.

Amanda Day Danielson 2 years ago

Love this! I’m working on learning to accept my imperfections (they are plenty) & hopefully learn to like my own “temple” at some point.

Mande Kay Sumner 2 years ago

Snort! I seriously just blew Mountain Dew out of my dilapidated temple! LOL!

Jeanette Olson 2 years ago

It’s more of a vessel. :3

Elizabeth Pfaff-Gordon 2 years ago

Mine used to be an amusement park. Now it’s a jungle gym/climbing wall/punching bag. I love my toddler, but miss the fun my hubby and I used to have!

    Mary Widdicks 2 years ago

    I’m with you, but I’m pretty sure I was never an amusement park…maybe one of those rickety fair rides.

Helen Russo 2 years ago

hell no.

Jennifer Strazza 2 years ago

Mostly like the temple of doom…

Kristen Mae of Abandoning Pretense 2 years ago

I love this piece. It’s too easy to forget sometimes, what are bodies are capable of doing. (And what others’ bodies lack and we should be grateful to have.) =) xo

    Mary Widdicks 2 years ago

    You’re very wise 😉

Sandra Bettencourt 2 years ago

these comments are making my Monday! thanks!

    Mary Widdicks 2 years ago

    Me too :-)

Sarah Fritz-Maldonado 2 years ago

My body is a temple if temple is code for baby factory or demolition site lol

Ginny Dell Frey 2 years ago

Yep, it’s definitely a temple. The Temple of Doom.

    Mary Widdicks 2 years ago

    Ha ha. Nice!

Sue Goldberg Paul 2 years ago


Adamilka Wood 2 years ago

This temple of mine is too high maintenance!!! Why can’t I outsource it’s repairs and upgrades to someone else? :)

    Mary Widdicks 2 years ago

    Ooh, when you find that company you let me know!

Ashley Afman 2 years ago

My body is far from a temple, though I try. Fail a lot, ha. Wish I could blame its disrepair on my two kids, but the truth is, I’ve simply made horrible choices for far too long. One of these days I’m hoping I can start getting my head in the right place and begin some renovations. :)

    Mary Widdicks 2 years ago

    I know what you mean. I tell myself once a week that I’ll eat better and exercise. Then I get distracted by cookies…

Amanda Ayers Campbell 2 years ago

I need to bulldoze mine down and rebuild. Ha!

    Mary Widdicks 2 years ago

    I hear that!

Jenn McKinney Quinn 2 years ago

My body is a temple. I worship at the corner of twinkie and dorito.

    Mary Widdicks 2 years ago

    Ha! I’ll see you there 😉

Michelle Shipley Dumler 2 years ago

Oh yes…still thinking i should sell to land developers…lol

    Mary Widdicks 2 years ago

    Yeah, I’d be ok with just selling off a lot or two!

Deborah Kotva Schulke 2 years ago

LOL!! Brilliant

    Mary Widdicks 2 years ago

    Thanks :-) Glad I’m not alone here.


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