there is nothing wrong
It’s happening. I can feel it. And I’m panicked.
The squishy surplus of my hips is beginning to creep up over the top of my jeans, the dreaded “muffin top” slowly rising. Just a month ago, a Godly and saintly man at church complimented my newfound skinniness and I gratefully relished the recognition after weeks of rigorous hot yoga practice. And now, it’s back. I’ve been on the road, or had company in town, or spent Thanksgiving- well- doing what you do on Thanksgiving, for weeks solid and neglected my consistent practice. And I feel like my body is betraying me. Seriously?! I can’t have just one month of effortless thin? I worked my butt off for weeks and after just over a month with a jam packed schedule, I’m slipping into self criticism again. I’m panicking over how nice I may or may not look in leggings that I don’t even own.
More than my annoyance with my waistline is my annoyance with the chatty, critical, incessant woman in my brain telling me my waistline is a problem. It’s maddening, the voice in my head. It should give me some degree of comfort to know that women in every corner of the world hear the same voice, but that’s just starting to make me angry. When did we allow this voice to get so loud? When did I give this horrible woman in my head permission to tell me just exactly what is wrong with my body?
Your shoulders are too broad.
Your back isn’t defined enough.
Your tummy is too squishy. Seriously. The rest I can live with, but please do something about that tummy.
Your hips. Just… fix them.
Um… excuse me?! Sometimes I think about what I ate in high school and it literally makes me laugh. I remember near daily trips to Taco Bueno for Mexi Dips and Chips and frozen lemonade and never giving the indulgence a second thought. Granted, I worked out every day in high school and had the metabolism of, well, a high schooler. But, still.
What I miss is not the frequent greasy splurge, but the fact that I once enjoyed food without fretting about calories and fat content. Somewhere in between college and the real world, I gained about fifteen pounds. When I’m thinking clearly, this hardly troubles me at all. Honestly. At nearly 5′ 10″, a fifteen pound buffer (By the way, I should confess that I just accidentally typed “butter” instead of “buffer.” Will someone please sort that out for me?) isn’t terribly discouraging. It’s barely a pantsize difference. It’s when that fifteen becomes more like twenty that things start to get a little hairy. Literally. I shave my legs less when I feel like they aren’t worth showing off. And I’m sick of it.
So I’m speaking up. For all of the women who have ever cursed the person who first used the term “saddlebag” outside of the farm. For all of the women who count calories. For all of the women who try on skinny jeans and feel inadequate because they’re not a size 2. For any woman who has ever thrown up after a perfectly good meal just so it wouldn’t settle on her hips. For the supermodels- yes, the supermodels- who are told every day what they need to tighten, tone, or trim. Because, as brutal as the voice in my head is I cannot imagine what it would feel like hearing it out loud. For the little girl who has a mother who puts her in sexy clothes. She shouldn’t have to worry about how she looks in that outfit that her mother only puts her in because she’s too old for it herself. For the mother who doesn’t feel attractive anymore. For the thirteen year old who can’t keep up with how different her body looks every year. For the gym dweller who runs and lifts and squats because she is terrified of putting on one single extra pound.
THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU.
I put it in caps because I know how loud that voice is. I want to be louder. Your butt is perfect on you. Your hips are perfect for salsa dancing and making babies. Your arms look like those of Roman goddesses. Your legs are strong and graceful. Your feet are so much nicer to look at than those of your hairy boyfriend- who loves your butt, by the way. Your tummy is the center of your strength. It literally holds you up and keeps you alive. Babies grow in there. Your tummy is the most powerful instrument in nature, and it looks exactly the way it is supposed to look. Your face is not off center, or too small, or overwhelmed by your nose or forehead or eyes. It’s exactly right. There is nothing wrong with you.
So, I’m going to eat my pasta. I’m going to walk around my hotel room naked as a jaybird tonight, and I’m not going to avoid the mirrors. Because there is nothing wrong with me.
And, I’m happy to say that the voice in my head just shut up.