child of God, wife, mother, recovering anorexic who longs to see the beauty in herself that she sees in the world around her

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

scales vs. beauty

No scales allowed!  My clothes just didn't fit quite right today.  Hubby did say he was aware of that.  I made him promise he would tell me when he notices it because I often don't notice until it is too late and I am spiraling.  Clothes a bit loose, collar bone a bit pronounced, hands and feet freezing, and yet all in all it was not a bad day.

I ate breakfast at MOPS, or at least I thought I did.  Someone commented on how I didn't have much to eat.  Here I was proud for the array of foods I did try but it was pointed out to me that I didn't really eat as much as I thought I did.  I'm finding myself getting really pissed off at "fat talk" lately.  I'm tired of hearing beautiful women talk about needing to loose that extra 5 or 10 pounds.  Don't they know that their perfection and dissatisfaction only fuel my own obsession?  Of course they don't, they don't even know I struggle.

I want to ring the necks of the new moms complaining about the baby weight when their babies are still newborns.  I want to shake them and tell them how beautiful they are.  I told a friend with a newborn just last week that her body had sustained life within itself and should be celebrated for the miracle it is rather than demeaned for what it just did in carrying and birthing and caring for that new life.

Why do 5 or 10 pounds really matter to us?  Would those same women be happy with their bodies if the did lose those last few pounds?  I doubt it.  I know I wasn't.  So you lose the pounds and become your "ideal" weight, then what happens?  You find something else to nitpick your body about.  Trust me, I know!  For those of us with disordered eating, the ideal weight may be reached but then it becomes a few pounds lighter and then a few more pounds lighter and before you know it, your ideal weight is unhealthily low.

When will we, especially as women, learn that our bodies are amazing and capable?   Our bodies are beautiful and intricate.  Our bodies are gifts and and temples.  Our bodies are wonderfully made.  I see it in you.  I see beauty and strength you never knew existed.  I see fierce determination.  I see (as Steven Curtis Chapman says) the fingerprints of God when I look at you.  You're a masterpiece.  Now if I could only look in the mirror and see that same beauty and perfection!

Will I ever learn to love the girl in the mirror as much as I love the ones sitting across from me?  Will I ever look at the girl in the mirror and say as I did to another mom today, "Wow, you are so gorgeous!" ?  Will my ideal weight ever be enough for me?  "Fat talk" is pissing me off.  If someone is healthy and yet super concerned about those last couple of pounds, it says to me that those pounds really matter.  It says that I am right to continue to worry about mine.  It says my waist size matters more than living healthy does.  It says the scale matters more than being really alive for myself and for my family.  It confirms that beauty is only skin deep and I should fight just as hard as the others to firmly grasp fleeting beauty.

Ladies, love yourself.  Love who God made you to be.  Love that we are all different shapes, sizes and colors.  Love that some are tall and some are short.  Love that some are thin and some are large.  Love the small chests and the big chests, the large booties and the nearly non-existent ones.  Love the purple hair and the natural hair.  Love the diversity and strength and grace and dignity and beauty that each of us brings to the world.  For heaven's sake, stop obsessing over yourself, you only encourage me to obsess as well.  Obsessing over numbers, when skipping meals actually feels good, is highly detrimental to my health!

You are beautiful, extra 10, 20 50, 100 pounds and all.  You are beautiful over 6 foot tall and under 5 foot tall!  You are beautiful with or without makeup.  You are beautiful in sweat pants and a pony tail.  You are beautiful exactly how God made you.  And so am I.  Now let's go together on this challenge to love the bodies God gave us and stop fretting over ridiculous and unreachable standards.

I know it sounds difficult to hear from me that you should love and accept yourself in every stage, size and style of life when I oh so often don't give that to myself.  But here is the deal, when you stop freaking out about your weight, hair color, boob size, face shape, makeup and everything else that isn't your real beauty, you give me permission to do the same.  When you stop panicking about the calories you consume, the jeans you put on and how you look in this year's swimsuit, you give me permission to try to learn to accept my body too.

Yeah, I'm like most women.  I detest my body in a swimsuit, despise the way I look without my push up bra and cute butt jeans, and fret over every hair, every dimple, and every blemish.  (Sound familiar?  I know you do it too!)  And yeah I have added elements to my body image issues and struggles, but that said, they aren't really that different.   If you are free to love you, you give me permission to love me.  I may not take it, I may still beat myself up.  I will still probably worry about every detail of beauty.  BUT I will compare myself with me instead of trying to live up to your beauty.

Today I wish you, light for the journey, help for your burdens, peace for your soul and beauty for every part of you!  Today I pray that we both will see the inherent beauty that God created in us when He knit us together in our mother's wombs.  Today I'm going to allow God to show me that beauty in me because I already see it in you!

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