Acceptance

I’ve been reading this website a lot lately.

Surprisingly, until fairly recently, I never spent a lot of time thinking about self acceptance. I hated my body when I was a sturdy ten year old with two skinny sisters. I hated my body when my step-mother sat me down to warn me about becoming fat like my mother. I hated my body when I was a super-fit 150-pound teenage athlete. I hated my body when I was 20 and 200 pounds and pregnant, and the doctor expressed shock at my weight. I hated my body when, after my third baby, I stepped on the scale and first saw a number that started with “3.”

Doesn’t everyone hate their body? There are certainly enough websites and magazines dedicated to those who do. There are numerous surgeries and pills and contraptions designed to entice those of us who hate our bodies, right? Honestly, who doesn’t hate their bodies?

So lately I’ve been wondering. What if I don’t have to hate my body? What if instead, I love my body. It gets me around. It’s done some pretty fabulous things. It’s given birth to three babies. It’s made love to two husbands. It’s cut through water like a hot knife through butter. It’s won gold medals. It’s rode horses and ran 100s of miles and chased chicken. It’s mine.

And I feed it a lot of crap. And I sit in front of this computer (or one just like it) an awful lot.

What if eating well and moving isn’t about losing weight. What if it’s about celebrating our fabulous, amazing, outrageously capable (even if they are differently capable) bodies? Just the way they are.

So walking becomes a celebration of an early spring afternoon, or a moment alone at the end of a long day, or the stretching of muscles that have been cramped in a chair for hours. And eating becomes something delicious and fresh and something that feels good–instead of a binge that leaves you feeling sick and over-full and guilty. Even eating chocolate is a celebration when you indulge in a bowl of Ben & Jerry’s instead of a half pound of peanut M&Ms, right?

That website has a accompanying live journal site that is filled with OOTD posts…women of all sizes posting their Outfits of the Day. I was going through my photographs from my trip, and I realized I’m not in any of them. Not even one. I’ve tossed out my scale, I’ve stopped dieting, but I’m not healing when I’m still afraid to look at myself. So I’m going to start posting some OOTDs. That live journal site also has Friday sales posts, and I’ve listed some of my larger vintage clothes so that I can make some money to buy clothes that make me feel good. Now. Not 50 pounds from now. So I sold a dress and I bought two dressed, a sweater, and a top. And I’m going to start taking some pictures of myself.

Here’s one from my trip to San Francisco two summers ago.

Instead of looking at this picture through my fingers, like I was watching a horror movie, I can see it now for what it is. Me. Brave enough to take off alone to San Francisco for a writer’s conference, to stay in a hotel room with three women I had never met before, because I had just sold my first novel. Me. With a round belly that, when this picture was taken, was filled with my first ever Indian food experience. Me. After a four mile walk all over a fabulous city with new friends. Me, who would in a few minutes buy a cupcake and enjoy every bite of it.

The idea of eating healthfully or exercising with some goal other than getting skinny is foreign territory for me. Is it for you?

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6 Comments

Filed under body

6 responses to “Acceptance

  1. Blessed

    I love the photo! Not only do I enjoy seeing what you look like, but–honest to goodness!–my first thought when I saw your photo was, “She even LOOKS like a writer!” : )

    I so appreciate what you have written here, because I need to get this same change of view into my own head–that I cook not because I have to, but because I love to eat good, nutritious food and feel like I am taking good care of my family. That I get up and walk because I love being outside in the fresh air, not because I need to exercise, etc. So with you on this!

  2. I’m so glad to read this post! I’ve recently started posting pictures of myself, even though I don’t look like I want to look. It’s through these pictures that I’ve realized that I’ve been hiding behind a false image of myself. When I looked in a mirror, I wasn’t seeing the real me – just the me that I had convinced myself I was. Now that I’m finally seeing my body for what it is, I’m working on loving it for everything it does.
    Stacy

  3. “We are our own worst critics.”
    When I see your photo, I admire a brave woman who travelled across country (San Francisco, and New England), and is pursuing her writing goals. Bravo!

  4. What a fabulous post! You are right that too many people hate their bodies, and it’s a shame because our bodies DO do some amazing things (and they know when we hate them, too).

    Also, I think you look great in the picture! The color is pretty, and your hair is gorgeous!

    Can’t wait to see more pics!

  5. what an absolutely beautiful post – no matter what size or shape, it is hard to accept our bodies. I can’t say it enough – a beautiful post, I’m glad I came upon it today, thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope you keep seeing the YOU that makes you happy, because it is clearly outstanding!

  6. Angie

    Lovely post! I have always not liked my body. Even in college at 11% body fat (measured for health class), I thought I was too fat. I worked at a lumber yard when I was a teenager (mom & dad’s, that is) and Gene said, “You’re so skinny! What do you weigh, 90 lbs.?” I said, “More like 120.” His response? “Wow! You’re really fat!” Humm. 3 seconds ago, I was skinny.

    Thank you for letting me look at myself differently. My BMI is usually 29 (with 30 being clinically obese), yet I have a lot of muscle and bone. (The whole ‘big bone’ thing actually has some truth. When you exercise and work your muscles, the tendons pull on the periostium {‘bone skin’}. Enough pull and your body makes more bone there. That is why resistance training increases bone density. And, as we all know, bone is heavier than fat.) I have done manual labour since highschool, and love it. I’m 39 (40 in 3 weeks), 5’6″, and weigh between 175 and 180. I really love that I can still pick up my kids (65, 90, and 120 lbs.), even though my waist got lost over 12 years ago. Last year I went into “I don’t care” mode ~ no more dieting, I just don’t care. I’m starting a new journey ~ I don’t care to be skinny. Just healthy.
    thank you for the inspiration!

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