If you would have asked me a couple months ago if I prayed, I’d have told you no. I still may tell you no because I guess I don’t consider what I do to be praying. Sure, I wish for things, and sometimes I even tell the universe out loud what I want or need or hope for. Questions are asked as well. And one of my questions was answered in a way I was not expecting at all. That’s how it works though, right?
I’ve always struggled with weight and body image. So when I finally came to this lifestyle, I felt like it would help me create a much more positive body image. Doing the right thing for my body never felt better, and I figured I’d look like all those raw vegans out there sooner or later. But patience is a funny thing, and I rarely have enough to keep me from going crazy some days.
Looking in a mirror at my naked body, I’d ask, “When am I going to think that THIS BODY is good-looking enough? What is it going to take for me to accept how this body looks?”
I’ve always seen my flaws. My husband loves to point out how ridiculous I sound (in the best way possible), but it was still hard to think I was sexy or “perfect” with my clothes off. People at work were constantly telling me I was too skinny, but they were seeing me in clothes I’d been wearing 40 pounds ago. I was losing weight, getting fit, and feeling healthy, but my body image wasn’t improving the way I would have liked it to.
That is, until I got off my birth control pill.
Now, I’m not at all saying that it was clouding my judgment of my body or anything like that. What I am saying is that it created a hormone imbalance in my body. Those fed my anxiety and panic attacks. And when I felt like I was dying, about to drop dead, or completely off my rocker depressed and/or insane, I realized that this body is good-looking enough.
It always was.
Do you see what happened there? I asked the universe to let me look at myself and say, “Hey, you know what? This body I have? It’s awesome. It doesn’t need a flat stomach or a gap between the thighs. It doesn’t need a certain amount of booty or arms that don’t jiggle a little. I don’t need to have a certain amount of body fat to be sexy. This body is all I’ll have, and I better appreciate it for everything it gives me.” And guess what? The universe delivered. Albeit in a sneaky and somewhat shitty way, but I will count my blessings where I can.
Another thing I’m not saying is that you have to develop anxiety and panic attacks or have a near-death experience in order to just be grateful for your body and love it for however it looks. I’m just saying that I asked for something and it was certainly given to me. I’m also saying that I could have just loved myself enough to not felt so negatively about my body.
Sure, my stomach isn’t flat. No, I don’t have washboard abs. And yes, my arms have some jiggle. But damn, this body can do some pushups! And it has a brain that can edit books, and that’s what I like to do. It is able to walk long distances. It loves and hugs and breathes and lives. It cares and feels and gives and moves. It can run a mile without stopping. Well, it could. And I’ll work my way back up to that if I can. Because this body can do that, for goodness’ sake. And I should be proud of that. I eat right, I get enough sleep, I’m exercising again, I soak up the sunshine, and I drink a lot of water. So why not just embrace everything about myself?
True, I have a man who’s loved me through it all. I’m sure that helps me accept it a little more, knowing he loves the way I look. But it doesn’t have much to do with him. It really hit home when I thought I was truly about to die. And while I didn’t realize it at first, it hit me pretty hard, smack dab in the middle of my face. And a weight was lifted off my shoulders.
Sometimes our bodies need rest, and I apparently wasn’t listening to mine. Now I am.
Part of what I’m saying here is that we shouldn’t focus our energy so hard on looking a certain way. If we truly only have this one life, the last thing I want to do anymore is waste it on the trivial things. You’re a person who has a lot to give, so give it freely without concern of your outward appearance. Love who you are, but that means treating your own body right. Nourish it, and it will in turn nourish your life.
Be kind – that includes being kind to yourself.