Summer — my favorite time of the year!
And with it, the dreaded revealing of the BODY. All that winter weight crammed into jeans and hidden by sweaters is now bare, big, and fleshy. My body, a machine operating apart from my mind, is pale and loose, and there's too much of it.
This is not new. This is my everyday routine — yours too? — in which I fight my body in an exhausting battle of wish and shame. It doesn't matter my size, the desire is the same: slim, slender, thin, all the words that mean not me.
Those golden seasons, of the slimmer me, were short-lived and in retrospect I never felt as good as I now see I looked. That's the way, isn't it? We look back at photos and sigh, "Oh, I wasn't fat."
But isn't this normal? Does every woman have an eating disorder? Not anorexia or bulimia, necessarily, but dis-order, dis-ease, unease, about food and body, value and worth?
Sure, there are days I feel active and strong, smart and creative, but isn't there some mind-body acceptance that lasts longer than the time it takes to get showered and dressed? An enduring sense of peace with this thing I carry day after day?
I've got no answers, but I like this poem:
Today I asked my body what she needed,
Which is a big deal
Considering my journey of
Not Really Asking That Much.
I thought she might need more water.
But as I stood in the shower
Reflecting on her stretch marks,
Her roundness where I would like flatness,
Her softness where I would like firmness,
All those conditioned wishes
That form a bundle of
She whispered very gently:
Could you just love me like this?
— Hollie Holden
And I like these words:
We can only really be known, and we can only really know, when we show our scars . . .
And everything that happens to us, everything that happens to us in our life, happens to our bodies. Every act of love, every insult, every moment of pleasure, every interaction with other humans, every hateful thing we have said, or which has been said to us, happens to our bodies. Every kindness, every sorrow, every ounce of laughter. We carry all of this, with us, in some form or another. We are walking embodiments of our entire story and the scars from that aren’t optional, but the shame from that is."
— Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, House for All Saints and Sinners, from Scarred and Resurrected: A Sermon on Our Human Bodies
And lastly, this may be my summer anthem:
Your turn. Let's talk: How are you? Tell me about your body, your mind, your heart.