Acceptable. Hot. Skinny. Okay. Good enough. Too much. Too flabby. Too soft. Good food. Bad Food. Clean food. Dirty food?
The words we throw around as goals, or descriptors are big. They aren’t just words, as much as I wish they were. They’re the balm we rub onto every inch of skin and stretch marks and cellulite, and take them on as truth. If ‘hot’ is my goal then I will bathe in that daily in the form of “goals or mantras”* or what words will “push me through that last rep” until my brain has learned that what is inside doesn’t matter as much as what my skin pours out, am I hot? Hot enough? Too hot to be a mom? I can’t win.
*(I like goals and mantras, but not when they’re tied to how I “need” to look in a certain time frame)
The words we use are important. They’re the words we teach our kids. The words I toss around above their heads to friends as they absorb them like bubbles in the baths we take together. The baths where they talk about how much they love my Mama Marks, and how squishy I am, and soft I am. The words unspoken are; comforting, love, fulfilled, theirs, mama, cozy, memories, soft, mine. And those are words I want to wear with every inch of my skin.
The goals aren’t wrong, having a body goal isn’t inherently wrong, but pursuing body above heart and brain and self love, is. It’s dangerous. It’s insidious for our children. It’s shame and doubt and self hate. It’s where your fingers go on your phone in the night, what youtube videos you find yourself watching (how to get rid of cellulite, how to lose ten pounds fast), it’s where your heart feels heavy quick when you start to compare. It’s fear over a size up, and anxiety over a sleeveless dress.
We are far more than dresses and sizes, scales and numbers, lumps and bumps. We aren’t the words we’ve owned for so long, that is why changing them is important. I am not only what I pursue. I am what I am today, and that is worthy of care, love, and acceptance.
I am soft, strong, muscled, dedicated, hydrated, fueled, comforting, consoling, mine, theirs, his, and ours. I don’t have to shy away from my body just to celebrate it, this body is worthy of good words, sexy words, and descriptors. But it isn’t the only part of me.
I asked for positive body descriptors on my Facebook page today. And damn, damn damn damn. Those smart people. The list just brings me right to my knees. If you are struggling with words for your body, read this list. Read it again. And then start to bathe in these words each time your brain wants to rob you of your worth. Also, I pulled this list verbatim. I wanted to see where the words overlap, where we are all leaning into, because there is power in knowing that as you chant “I am strong. I am strong.” you aren’t alone. I’m there, chanting it too. And so are these other women. Building up, not just ourselves. Not just our children. But each other.
Full of Life
I’ve read this list. ReRead it. And then challenged myself to read it out loud. I’ll be here. Coming back to this on the darker days, the mean brain days, and remembering. I’m not alone, we’re here together. “We are strong. We are strong.”