Today I gave my body some huge love, or at least that was the homework. I must admit it was hard. I thought about how to go about achieving success, and did my best but it’s difficult to conquer the negative thoughts I’ve had about my body for all these many years in just one day. But I tried my best, and that’s what counts.
In the creative journal by Judy Clement Wall, Find Your Awesome, there’s a graphic where you write something by each body part. Since I don’t have that graphic here, I will write out the parts, starting from the floor and go up.
Feet: I never much thought about my feet before I dated a foot fetishist. They were an afterthought. He told me I had amazingly beautiful feet. For some reason, it was easy to believe him. Before you get so judge-y about someone being a foot fetishist, I’m thinking there’s more people out there who love feet than you may think. Either that, or I attract them like nobody’s business.
As I look at my feet and toes now, I see that they’re perfectly symmetrical and maybe I do have beautiful feet but it begs the question of why I can accept this compliment without too much overthought and not accept similar comments about my face or body? Maybe it’s that society doesn’t have a thing for feet so there’s no hang-ups about them. If they’re fat, thin, veiny, or pale, who cares? Whatever the issue, I like my feet–I may even love my feet but the bottom line is that they work. They work very hard especially when I’m making them walk my dog, Pearl, for 4 miles. My feet get me from Point A to Point B, and for that reason I am deeply appreciative. They also don’t smell very much so that’s a bonus as far as I’m concerned.
Legs: This was a difficult piece of the homework because I’ve never truly enjoyed my legs. They’re much thinner than other parts of me, and when I lose weight, it is one of the first places to lose. I had to take a lot of time being grateful that my legs still work. I had an accident as a child that put me in a brace for a year so I suppose there’s where I find my gratitude. My life would have been completely different had the nerves in my spine not healed. I could have been in a brace permanently. Remembering this fact makes me much more appreciative of my wonderful, wacky chicken legs.
Butt: Yeah, it’s very good for sitting on very soft surfaces. You see, my ass has lost a lot of its padding. In fact, one of my earliest blogs was entitled The Flat Butt Blog. My kids and I had a long laugh at that title. I still chuckle because it’s true. I appreciate my butt because it houses my hips and these hips have been wonderful at bearing children.
Belly: I believe my biggest issue these days is my belly. I gave birth three times and with not much time in between the second and third child. In fact, I was pregnant, then had Sam less than two years after Madison. Let’s give my belly the applause it deserves for housing my beautiful babies. It was also an amazing shelf to set food on while I was pregnant. It’ll never be flat again but that’s why they make those really cute two-piece bathing suits where the top is a tankini. Yep, I appreciate my belly. I appreciate that it was once flat and I worked very hard to achieve that success; however, right now, it’s flattish and that’s ok.
Arms: I love how my arms can wrap around my children and give them a hug every morning when they come downstairs after sleeping. With the sheet marks still on their faces, I can envelope them in a sleepy hug.
My arms are attached to my hands and fingers which are the true workhorses of my body. Not only do they spend an incredible amount of time cleaning but they also chop vegetables, fold clothes, arrange my hair, and type. Look at them flying across the page to churn out the words I want to say. They don’t write on paper as often or as well as they once did but that’s ok, I forgive them.
My hands have held hands with my children, they’ve pet dogs, and they’ve created art. They’ve learned new skills (typing on a iPhone, anyone?) and they just keep going and going. Along with my feet, my hands are the Energizer bunnies of my body.
And truth be told, I’ve been told by people who know hands (manicurists) that I have awesome nail beds. Aren’t you jealous?
Face: With so many parts of my face, I’m going to focus on my eyes. I do love my eyes. They are very blue but can change colors when I wear different clothes so I try to wear the right color to illicit some kind of response. People comment on my eyes when I am out and about especially when I’ve found the right blue shirt. Sometimes, though, I want to blend in and be ignored, and that’s when I wear the colors that do nothing for me.
When I was younger, I never looked at people because I was too shy but once I realized how great it felt to be complimented about anything (my dad was very harsh and emotionally abusive), I started looking up from the ground and looking into other peoples’ eyes when I was speaking to them. With every new compliment, I felt better and better about myself. It was like a drip campaign for my battered self-esteem where I was the cacti and people became my desert rain.
Please don’t think I’m vain. I’m definitely not. What I’m trying to convey here is that although I was emotionally abused for many, many years until my dad died, I managed to find a way to get through the pain; it was through the powerful cure of other people’s kind words. My father never told me I was beautiful, he simply stated with authority that I was fat and that nobody would ever want me. When I discovered that people liked my eyes, their compliments were salve to a broken soul.
Like I said in my first paragraph, there’s no way I can get over my body issues in one day completing one part of a journal, but I can remind myself to appreciate my body more. Perhaps in the future, it will be easier to be kinder to my body. Maybe some day the harsh critic inside will shut up and find someone else to haunt.
Today’s homework from Find Your Awesome is to make a Rockin’-Your-Life-List. I’m supposed to make a list of things I’d like to do before I die. I already made a list a year or so ago but I think what I’ll do is make another list without looking at the first, and then compare the two. Obviously my first list did not make a big enough impression on me so I probably have not followed-through on anything so it will be interesting to see if I’ve unknowingly checked anything off.
The second part of the homework is if I’ve already made a list (I have), then the real work is to pick one of the life goals and make progress on it. If I decided to write a novel, for example, the suggestion is to write the first paragraph. I think that this homework will be a two day piece because I have to make a list and take a first step toward a goal.
With this homework swirling around in the back of my head, I will be using my hands (see above) and cleaning the entire house prior to hosting a party at my house tomorrow night. I’m certain that goal was on my other list — having more parties, so maybe I have made some progress on my life list. Maybe I’m not such a loser after all.
And with those final encouraging words, go find YOUR awesome!!