Have you ever done this?
You get out of the shower and grab your towel. You wrap it around your body then dry your face, neck, shoulders, breasts, stomach. Maybe you dry your bottom too but you can’t be bothered with your legs and always let them air dry (oh wait, maybe that’s just me! :) ) Then you walk over to the sink and wipe away some of the steam on the mirror.
First you reach for your face moisturiser. Then you grab whatever it is you use on your body – lotion, shea butter, coconut oil – and you start applying it. Quickly now, your “lingering in the bathroom” days are over since having children. Grease up the legs, extra at the knees, and of course need a bit more for those meaty thighs and butt cheeks! From there it’s back up to the shoulders, arms and elbows. Another palm of moisturiser and its breasts and stomach and voila! You’re oiled up. Then you take a step back and look at your naked self in the mirror.
Ugh. You see it now. It’s getting old. It’s getting droopy. You’re fat. F**king cellulite. Faded stretch marks. Where did this body come from? It looks like a stranger’s. You wonder if this is what your partner sees. Probably. You make a mental note to keep your shirt on until the lights are out.
He tells you you’re beautiful but your reflection tells you otherwise. You quickly dress. You come out of the bathroom sad… Dejected… Depressed. Seeing yourself naked always does that to you.
You’ve tried to explain how you feel about your body but he doesn’t get it.
He doesn’t get that when you button your jeans there is that extra skin below your belly button that likes to pop out and bulge out the top. You plan your wardrobe around that skin.
He doesn’t understand what it feels like to walk around in a world that is wallpapered in beautiful bodies – all smiling and sexy with their lean unblemished bodies. You feel like a freak some days.
So… Have you ever done this? Felt this? Or have I just written something incredibly personal to **mostly** strangers?
I’ve always been insecure about my body. My heart aches for the 17 year old girl I was who thought she was fat and started her first diet. My heart aches for the 25 year old new Mom that I was who thought her body was “ruined,” scarred forever from stretch marks and unworthy of my husband’s admiration. My heart aches for the years I spent punishing myself physically and emotionally, but also punishing my family too, as my self-loathing spilled over into our lives.
Now that I don’t hate my body I cannot believe how much time and space this took up in my life. Learning to love myself – truly embracing the skin I’m in and saying “thank you my body, I will be kinder to you now.” – is one of the best thing’s that ever happened to me, my family and my marriage. When your body isn’t an issue anymore there is a gaping hole in your life ready to be filled with positive and fulfilling things.