When you think about your body or body love, what’s the first word that comes to mind?
Quite honestly, fat is the first word that comes to mind. Under clothes, I hide it well. Naked is a little harder to accept. I made huge strides during February Photofest 2019 in learning to accept my body and see the good in it. Of course, I wish it were better toned but I know it isn’t because I don’t give it enough attention. I don’t try hard enough to make it better. Two gym memberships and a small gym in my basement there are no excuses that it isn’t more toned than it is. I don’t have a lot of body love for myself. I look at others who clearly embrace their curves and I am jealous of their ability to love their bodies.
Are there things about it you love?
I have talked in the past about my surgically perfect breasts! I was never fond of my breast and they really one caused me pain. (Not the good kind). My shoulders had indents from the bra straps and my back always hurt. After surgery, I was able to wear blouses and able to go braless. It was a nice change. So I love them now.
Next would be my shoulders. I have always had swimmer’s shoulders. They are broad and strong both physically and theoretically. I have put them through a lot, eight years of dancing, 6 years of karate, swimming, kayaking, farm work. I haven’t been kind to them, yet, they are still broad and strong and rarely let me down. Lately, there is a pain in both for one reason or another, but with a little TLC they bounce back fairly quickly. Body love for my boobs and shoulders is easier for me these days.
Are there things about it you dislike?
I see my stomach and the fact that I can’t wear cute underwear because my stomach rolls on top of it. Bathing suit bottoms are always boy shorts, not by choice but because bikini bottoms look gross from behind and the front. With my stomach rolling over the waistband and the cellulite peeping horribly from my ass and thighs. It is never a picture or image that brings anything but sadness to me. Lower body love is difficult for me.
I use to say from the waist up I was ok, but I notice the back fat rolling over my bra, the wrinkles, and lines in my neck and the arm fat flapping back and forth under my arms. Some days are better than others but upper body love can be a challenge as well.
Are there things about it you could learn to treat better?
I need to love my body more. Women, (and I apologize for the generalization. I know this isn’t true for everyone) tend to focus on our face. It is the first impression. At least for me. Even still, I don’t wash my face every night and I have a drawer full of face creams and wrinkle erasers that I was dedicated to for a week maybe two and then grew tired of it.
I have little follow through with taking care of my body. Inside or out. I try eating differently, working out more, all of it. I just don’t stick with it. Offering a thousand excuses would be appropriate here but the truth is I just don’t commit long enough and if I don’t see immediate results, I give up.
Speaking of gyms, I do enjoy working out. I always feel better after I have worked out, in a gym or just kayaking or hiking (sometimes). I enjoy working around the house and I feel that is keeping active and helps in the process of feeling good about my body and giving a little more body love in all areas – not just the parts I already like.
Has your relationship with your body love changed over your lifetime?
Yes, it has in some ways. I remember when I was 15 years thinking I was fat. I was just bigger than the other girls. My best friends were always thinner than me. I have a picture of me at 15 and I look at it now and realize I was fucking adorable. That 15-year-old girl didn’t have a clue how cute she was. Thinking that I thought I was fat then and seeing myself now (keeping in mind that was quite a few years and a 24-year-old daughter ago) I’m sad that she struggling with her body image then. I would kill to have that body now. Getting my license and not having to walk everywhere and not having to eat at home every night started the incline of weight and decline of that lean 15-year-old.
I didn’t know what body love was back then. We just all tried to be skinnier and prettier than everyone else. People made fun of those that didn’t seem to care what they looked like back then. It humors me that now most of the jocks are bald with dad bods and the cheerleaders (yes, I was one, the fat one, but I had the uniform).
Our bodies tell a story…the story of our accomplishments, our strengths.
My body speaks to me in many ways. I really enjoy the days when my mind is in a good place and I can appreciate the stories that my body tells. I had an active childhood. Dancing for eight years probably saved me. It didn’t only keep me slimmer than I would have been. It also was my escape. I was good. It was the one thing I was good at in my youth. Even with the extra weight, I gave everything I had to dance. Being graceful in ballet, spunky in tap, and maybe a little sexy in the jazz numbers. I had extra rolls but I was strong underneath. I was able to do what even the bone thin girls could do and sometimes I did it better.
When our house caught fire, dancing ended and my body was strong in a different way. Supporting my family and helping as best as a 15-year-old could to rebuild my family home. It ached and was tired. Emotions were tucked away and the strong persona was both inside and out.
Once married, my body took me through karate lessons that earned me a brown belt. The oldest person in the class I was amazed at what my body was able to do. The forms, the sparing, the endurance and the mental strength all worked together to help me accomplish my goal. Each test for each belt was a reinforcement of what I was capable of. I test for my green belt when I was seven months pregnant. My body was badass.
Giving birth. Enough said. Vaginal birth and 12 hours of labor showed me I was fucking amazing. Even with the epidural, I was a rock star. Six weeks after giving birth I was back at karate and took myself from green belt to brown. I was still chunky. Still didn’t like how I looked naked or even in clothes. Looking back now I can honestly be proud of myself for the accomplishments.
Our bodies tell a story… The story of our weaknesses.
My body is tired. My body is upset because the body love is rarely noticeable. I have a weakness for sugar and I rarely balance that with my responsibility to work out. I feed my emotions instead of feeding my muscles. Stretching is a simple thing to do but I rarely do it. I don’t care for the inside of my body as much as I should. I don’t eat well and I don’t eat enough. Often, I let my emotions overpower my body and this is a shame. My body deserves better from me.
All or nothing body love
I have always been all or nothing. When I start something new I jump in head first and don’t check the depth of the pool. If I don’t get immediate results I usually give up. Not just on my body but in all aspects of life. I often think to myself that if I focused on myself the way I focus on others I would be happier with myself. I know my body would love me more if I gave it more body love on a regular basis.