The further I make it in life, the more aware I become of how much my body has to say. The words and emotions that I chose not to express find a way to make themselves heard. One way or another. My body speaks what is on my mind.
Some women are so in tune with their bodies that the above statement would seem ridiculously obvious. But this Red Hot Momma was not raised to honor her body. Let alone listen to what it was saying. I was raised in an environment where body hate was the norm. Even encouraged. Subsequently, I abused my body in various ways. From depriving it of food to over feeding my body. Ignoring its pleas for rest. Quiet times and exercise.
Lax boundaries and emotional abuse from those I felt unable to stand up to culminated in weight gain, insomnia, hormone imbalances, panic attacks and ultimately, depression. I found myself an emotional and physical wreck. My body was screaming out to me. Pleading with me to tune in but I did my best to ignore it. Until, I was too sick to fight what it was so desperately trying to tell me. I had two choices: Listen and change or die.
I chose change. As I began to recover from a series of life threatening illnesses, God began to open my eyes to the lies I had believed about this body I inhabit. HE replaced ugliness, disgust and guilt with beauty and truth. HE showed me I was made in the image of the Creator of the Universe. My body is beautiful and honorable. My body is holy. The temple God has chosen to indwell. It is worthy of respect, honor and love. It is not to be starved, carved or denigrated. I am to care for it out loving respect for the Father and myself. Not guilt or vanity. Out of love.
So here I am at 32 feeling childlike delight in my body. Joy at my ability to do three times as many push ups this month as last. Wonder at my muscles ability to move my body in ways that were not even imaginable last year. Excited to break out into a run and not care if anyone is watching. Instead of berating myself for the abuse I have endured and heaped on myself, I choose forgiveness of others. Most importantly myself. My favorite quote from Maya Angelou sums up how I view my past, “You did what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better.”
I now feel safe to care for myself. After being told my whole life that being kind to myself would make me selfish, I am finding the exact opposite. Loving myself makes me able to love others. Admitting I am weak has made me stronger. Facing conflict instead of running away brings peace. Confidence. Health. Regardless of the emotional crap that is heaved my direction, I am not backing down. The Father has blessed me with free will and I will not hand it over to anyone. Ever again. I own my own space. Without apology. For the first time in my whole life. My body cannot help but glow with this knowledge.