We have been taught that loving our bodies is considered ‘conceited.’ I have spent many hours staring into a mirror wishing I looked different. I have looked at pictures of myself and felt physically sick because I believed I was fat. I starved myself in hopes of becoming more beautiful. How could someone love me if I have a fat stomach or huge thighs or an ugly face? Even my arms weren’t up to my standard of beauty. I hated everything about myself. But despite all this hate, my body never gave up on me. Yes I was sick, but it fought to keep me alive. Physical appearance is not what defines you.
So, I’m on a journey of forgiving myself and my body for not being ‘perfect.’ I look at the picture above and still wish I was that skinny. And to be honest, there are many days when I miss anorexic Brae, but my body doesn’t deserve that. I’m working on discovering all of the good things that it has done for me instead of the image I believed for so long.
Instead of seeing my stomach as fat, I’m learning to see it as a vessel of strength. It gives me energy. It takes whatever I give it, whether thats carrots or chicken fingers, it forms it into nutrients that supports me. It gives me a cute little grumble to remind me that my body needs more energy to keep me going. Sometimes it gets too full and a lil food baby appears but extra squish is cute, right?
Instead of seeing my thighs as huge, I’m learning to see them as an instrument of movement. Just think of how much harder it would be to get anywhere if your legs were missing?? My legs have taken me to the middle of Saskatchewan (and my car but lets be serious, that didn’t get me there very easily). They have taken me to Costa Rica and Jamaica. Some days they only take me as far as the end of the driveway but they are always there for when they are needed!
Instead of seeing my face as ugly, I’m learning to see it as a way to express my soul. The corners of my mouth creep up to show others I’m happy. My eyes crinkle with a little sparkle to share my joy. When I’m sad, tears fall down my face. It knows just how to react to every situation. Surprised, angry, amazed… it always knows which muscles to move to share my personal emotions with others. It knows how to show empathy and to show I care about others.
Instead of seeing my arms as gross, i’m learning to see them as a means of comfort. They have the ability to wrap around a friend to remind them that they aren’t alone. They can reach out and hold a little one’s hand we walk to the park to play. They are strong. They can lift things that are heavy and they can hold two ice cream cones at the same time. My hands have learned to spread paint across a canvas to create art that inspires others to use their talents. My fingers dance on the black and white keys of the piano making beautiful music.
I so often forget that my body is more than just looks. It’s strength, comfort, hope, love, and so much more. I have neglected and abused my body more than I care to admit. I have given it so many reasons to quit on me but it never gave up. It never stopped fighting for life even when I stopped fighting. Never have my lungs just decided to stop because they were tired of doing their job. Never have my legs just stopped using their muscles to move me around.
My body has never given up on me so I’m not giving up on it. It deserves so much more than the pain I’ve been forcing upon it.