You know when you read something and it's like the writer has been inside your head and is expressing thoughts you've had, but could never articulate?
This was one of those posts... and it got me thinking.
The story was called "When your Mother Says She's Fat" (by Kasey Edwards) and here are a just a few of the gems contained within...
"I understand what it's like to grow up in a society that tells women that their beauty matters most, and at the same time defines a standard of beauty that is perpetually out of our reach. I also know the pain of internalising these messages. We have become our own jailers and we inflict our own punishments for failing to measure up. No one is crueller to us than we are to ourselves..."
"The older we get, the more loved ones we lose to accidents and illness. Their passing is always tragic and far too soon. I sometimes think about what these friends - and the people who love them - wouldn't give for more time in a body that was healthy. A body that would allow them to live just a little longer. The size of that body's thighs or the lines on its face wouldn't matter. It would be alive and therefore it would be perfect..."
"Every moment we spend worrying about our physical ''flaws'' is a moment wasted, a precious slice of life that we will never get back. Let us honour and respect our bodies for what they do instead of despising them for how they appear. Focus on living healthy and active lives, let our weight fall where it may, and consign our body hatred in the past where it belongs..."
I needed to read that. At a time when I am wrestling with various aspects of my less-than-perfect self, when I almost have a panic-attack after putting on undies that are too tight, a little bit of real-life wisdom is much appreciated.
I haven't always struggled with my weight; I've been "averagely curvy" most of my life but since having Scrag the corners just keep getting roundier. The messages "out there" really do make you feel that YOUR WEIGHT=YOUR WORTH (and that the more you weigh, the less you're worth).
For many years now, I've tried to be careful about what I say about myself. I know that Little Girl eyes are watching me; Little Girl ears are listening to what I think about myself. I want my daughter to grow up loving and appreciating - being grateful for - the beautiful strong healthy body that she has.
I don't want any of my "issues" passed on to her. Which means that I have to accept myself the way I am and embrace the (curvier) skin I am in.
No fad diets, no always obsessing about calories. (This, I can do).
But I also need to model healthiness, aim for well-being and look after myself. Respect and care for the body I live in. (This is harder for me).
Wherever I am at - whether I ever lose those extra kilos or not - I need to accept who I am, the shape I am, and love the skin I'm in. I need to make the best of what I've got and be grateful for the ability to walk, talk, see, hear, move and grow as a person.
So today here are a bunch of things I can be grateful for about myself and my body...
I am grateful for my eyes. They may not be able to see perfectly but I am not blind. I can see the world around me, I can watch my children grow, I can read books. (I am also grateful to live in the days when there are such things as glasses for people like me, who are severely shortsighted. Without glasses I'd be stuffed.)
I am grateful for my ears and being able to hear. I can hear music, I can hear my children's (raucous) laughter, I can hear questions that are asked of me and engage in conversation. Hearing is a gift.
I am grateful for my voice. I have things to say, ideas, thoughts. I am not mute. I can speak with my mouth, or through writing. Being able to share your voice is also a gift. Some people do not enjoy freedom of speech like I do. It is not something to be taken for granted.
I am grateful for My smile. My teeth are all my own (and are remarkably cavity-free). I can communicate love and approval through my smile. I can reflect my emotions on my face without a word being spoken. My children can see my smile from across a room and know that I am pleased with them. I can break down barriers with a smile, make a stressed-out til operator feel like a person or share joy with a grin. Imagine if my face was botox-rigid, or stroke-frozen. A smile is a gift.
I am grateful for my arms. Sculpted or stick-thin they are not. But they can wrap around a crying child, they can embrace a friend in need of a hug. My arms can hold children, parcels and lift burdens. Perhaps they cannot hold my own bodyweight for long, but my arms are strong enough and soft enough to give great cuddles.
I am grateful for my hands. With my hands I write, I type, I communicate with the world. With my hands I create, I cook, I care for my possessions and my loved ones. Through my hands I express myself and bring order and beauty into my world. I am thankful for my strong creative hands.
I am grateful for my feet, which take me places, and my legs which actually work. I may not win any sprint races, my thighs may not be suited to skinny-jeans but I can walk. I can stand. I can get myself where i need to go. Decorative my legs may not be, but useful they surely are.
I am grateful for my body. Every second of every minute of every hour of every day my body is hard at work keep me breathing, moving, living. My heart pumps without missing a beat, my lungs send oxygen to all my parts; my brain might be sluggish and stroppy at times, but still it is not impaired; Kidneys, spleen, intestines, heart - they all keep doing their jobs without fail, even while I'm sleeping. My clever body has created three human beings from scratch; carried them for nine months each. This might have taken a toll on my shape; the years might have taken their toll on my metabolism... but here I sit, a mother with arms that can hug, a heart that can love, a brain that can think. My body is amazing.
And finally, I am grateful for Fat Pants. The comfy undies and stretchy longs you put on when you just need to feel comfortable in your skin and in your clothes. When too-tight hold-me-in knickers and restrictive cinch-my-waist belts make you want to scream... those are the days we give thanks for Fat Pants.
Days like today.
..................If you want to join in with The Grateful Project, grab a notebook and pen and just start writing down something every morning that you are grateful for. To connect with others who are doing it you can use #thegratefulproject on Twitter and Instagram, or leave me a comment here on my blog. I've also started a Grateful Project Board on Pinterest.
See you all tomorrow.
(More Grateful Posts)