My friends and I got together today for lunch. We all have matching bracelets. All crosses. My friend says they are a beautiful touch stone for our friendships, built on faith and wrapped around all of our lives. Which of course I love and felt I needed to commemorate.
I took a picture. But we all agreed we didn’t like the picture because our hands looked “old”.
That’s right. Our hands. So we took another with our hands facing up.
I actually like the hands up. Ready to receive. Open. Anticipating God’s blessings and abundance.
When did we start worrying about our hands looking “old”?
Of course, we also talked about our bodies and how they are changing and how we want to eat better, work out more, all the things friends discuss as they get older.
I read an article recently that is floating around the internet in which the writer tells us to never talk about weight in front of our kids, never say you feel “fat”, don’t have a scale, bake cookies with 6 sticks of butter in honor of your grandmother and DON’T MENTION THE BUTTER, enjoy them with your kids, live life, have fun, don’t count calories, etc. She says we should never talk about our bodies, we should never talk about our daughter’s bodies and we should never mention anything about another woman’s body, ever.
The article made me mad. Because honestly, I’ve failed at each thing she mentioned. So this was my response… Well, isn’t that nice? You are probably naturally thin and either have no kids or have thin young kids…meaning younger than 10. Because like it or not, once we hit a certain age, people will talk about weight and diets and food and calories and they certainly won’t turn a blind eye to 6 sticks of butter. I mean, let’s be honest…should we? Gross.
Then I realized maybe I just felt bad because I wish I hadn’t failed at all of those things. And it made me realize that I’m lashing out at her because even though she seems idealistic and a little judgmental, she’s right. Those are good ideas.
It’s just that as a woman, I’ve felt fat and thin and tired and sometimes hungry and sometimes stuffed. I’ve tried diets and cleanses and lifestyle changes and I’ve run and lifted weights and done yoga. I’ve eaten out of boredom, anger, and worry. I’ve lost and gained and worn jeans that cut off my circulation. I’ve fought with my body and with my image of my body and with my expectations and with my desire to have rock hard abs. I’ve wrestled.
The truth is, I’m human. And I’m human in front of my kids. I’m hoping in the long run they will understand me and love me for this. Of course I don’t berate myself in front of them but they’ve seen the juicer. I mean, who are we kidding, they’ve seen me count points and they’ve suffered through my “all natural” phase.
I do want to be positive for my kids. I want to honor my body and model healthy acceptance of what God gave me. I shouldn’t expect perfection for me or for anyone else. So while I won’t be eating 6 sticks of butter anytime soon, next time instead of hiding with my pound of M&Ms, I will share. And then I won’t complain about all the M&Ms I just ate.
As Maya Angelou says, “Everything in moderation…even moderation in moderation.” Amen?
It’s a difficult thing for all women. I can’t tell you how to talk to your daughter or what to eat or how to honor your body. I just know it should be honored. But how do we do that?
Let’s start where we should always start…in prayer.
Lord, help me. I have failed miserably when it comes to body acceptance and being a model of kindness to self. I am sorry. Help me to be positive and healthy – mind, body, and soul. I appreciate the body you have given me. I actually feel like I should write it a note so here goes.
Body, thank you for being there for me. Thanks for getting me up that rope in gym class and thank you for all of those glorious bike rides. Thank you for the way you have carried me in the water and the way you can jump on a trampoline and oh gosh, thank you so much for the skiing and the climbing. Thanks for all of the walks to and from school and the subway and the bus and all over campus. Thank you for carrying me and allowing me the joy of holding my babies. Thanks for my babies. Thanks for the years of running and the yoga. Thank you for the yoga. The bending and stretching and breathing. Yes, thank you for the breath. And thank you for the way you hug and they way you love and the way you sense the world around us. Thank you for the belly laughs and the butterflies and the goosebumps. Thank you for sending warning signs when I’m not well, thank you for recovering. I’m sorry for the abuse, physical and emotional…I’m sorry about the fried food and the beer and the wine and all that chocolate. I’m sorry for the over indulging so many times, thank you for hanging in there. Oh gosh, sorry about the sun – I regret the iodine and baby oil and tin foil. Sorry about the blisters. At times, I have taken you for granted and criticized and been downright unappreciative. But no more. I will honor you.
Same goes for my hands. I’m sorry we were critical of you today. Thanks for the years of shaking and reaching and holding. Thanks for the ability to touch and feel and pray. Thanks for the snapping and pointing and waving. Thank you for all the “hello’s” and all the “good-bye’s”.
Lord, give me eyes to see the wonder and beauty of my body and my hands. Give me a heart full of gratitude. Help me to remember that years and experience only enhance beauty. And that Joy on the inside makes you glow on the outside. Help me to teach my kids about that kind of beauty…the glowing from the inside out kind. The kind that never fades.
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