Fearful and Wonderful

Aw, you. My dear, beautiful, amazing, beat-up body.

We’ve had some times, haven’t we?

'day 49/366 [seek and hide]' photo (c) 2008, Cristina Ivan - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Remember when I decided that I wanted you to be hairless, so I shaved your arms and legs and a layer of epidermis from your shins? And you bled and bled and bled, and I fretted because I wasn’t really supposed to be shaving yet?

Or when we discovered how fun sex was? Both that first time and then even more just the other night? (Bravo, body. Bravo.)

And remember the times that you carried four humans inside? You nourished them inside and then out and created safety for them. I don’t think I ever loved you as much as I did during those times, though it was too quickly forgotten in the depression that fogged my memories of your power and beauty.

Because if I’m honest, body, I haven’t always loved you. Hell, I haven’t even always liked you.

Too many freckles. Too pale. Too awkward. Too ugly.

And if I somehow managed to feel okay about how you looked, fear still lurked. What if you caused someone to lust? How could I be a good Christian and have a distinctly female body? The same faith that told me that you were a temple also taught me that you were a distraction and a stumbling block.

So I hid you. I hid you with over-sized clothes and layers of fat. I didn’t take care of you because you were suspect. You were always going to be not enough or too much.

I never wanted to be reduced to your parts by others, but I did that to you myself just fine. You were a collection of flaws and disappointments. Bits and pieces that didn’t fit together properly. I didn’t want to be objectified, but I made you an object anyway. I was supposed to love you, but I abused you a lot more. I made sure that if there was any comparison to be done, you came out on the bottom, whether that was fair or not.

But this comparing, this hurting, this covering – it needs to stop. You deserve so much more. And my daughter’s bodies? They deserve more too, and we can’t give it to them if I don’t love you.

So I’m going to wear those clothes that show off your curves (even some of the ones that I still desperately want to hide). I’m going to take you to the gym and subject you to that damn elliptical machine and wonder at the ways that you’re able to keep going when my brain wants to stop, stop, please, for the love of everything stop. I’m going to feed you food that’s good for you, and some that’s not, because it’s delicious anyway. I’m going to marvel that you’re able to do more with a simple hug than I can with thousands of words. I’m going to savor the feeling of warm water on your arms and cool grass under your feet and soft kisses on your neck.

Body, you were fearfully and wonderfully made. I love the Creator and I love you.

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I’m linking up with SheLoves Magazine as part of their synchroblog. I encourage you to check out the other submissions and consider adding your own.

  • Holly Grantham

    Isn’t it just amazing how we can so successfully live our lives as one big “out of body” experience?  As if our souls and body don’t go together?  Your piece calls that out and demands better.  Thank you for sharing.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      I was taught that there was the whole “body-soul-spirit” separation, and I think that kind of messed with how I saw myself integrated. I’m starting to work some of that out now, but it’s funny how long that can take.

  • http://www.JanetOberholtzer.com Janet Oberholtzer

    Excellent, but sad, sentence… 

    “The same faith that told me that you were a temple also taught me that you were a distraction and a stumbling block.”
    And I also love your thoughts about food… I aim to eat healthy food 80% of the time, that way my body, my taste buds and my bottomless pit for chocolate are all happy :) 

    And darn, with you and everyone else joining this party, I’m torn between feeling the need for a love-my-body post and wanting to run the other direction.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      Ha! I was kind of torn about doing it or not, but realized that it was an exercise that would be good for me. Body stuff still does a number on me and I need to fight it as much as possible with better words. 

  • http://twitter.com/tamaraoutloud Tamára Lunardo

    “You were always going to be not enough or too much.” Yes, yes. This is the lie I’ve battled too, damned on both sides.

    Thank you for this beauty. I can’t wait to hug you and your body some day. xo

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      Right???? It’s crazy making. 

      And I am very ready for that hug. Bring it on, baby.

  • http://www.idelette.com idelette

    So so beautiful, Alise. Reading it makes me hold my breath … thre’s something so healing happening. “Because if I’m honest, body, I haven’t always loved you. Hell, I haven’t even always liked you.” This is so true for me too … all the paradoxes in our flesh. You spoke such beautiful Love to yours. Thank you. 

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      Thank you, and thank you for hosting the synchroblog. I need to keep writing these things down – it makes it easier for me to believe them and live them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11018683 Elizabeth Larson-DiPippo

    the truth in this line slices to the core, “I didn’t want to be objectified, but I made you an object anyway.” So much truth. thank you for this gift.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      I am, by far, my own worst enemy. Thank you for your kind words!

  • http://www.rebekahruthbooks.com/ Rebekah Ruth

    Alise…this kind of freaked me out a bit cuz it’s like you were in my head! I wrote my own letter on Saturday and it was uncomfortable and I was honest…but your letter struck a nerve. Several, actually. I’ve only shared with two people before the fact that I can pinpoint my weight gain to a time when I got some unexpected attention from a guy at church at the same time my husband and I were not doing well. It freaked me out and I began to subconsciously hide myself with the effective camouflage of extra pounds. I so resonate with what you wrote. Thanks for sharing from your heart! After reading your bio I’m thinkin maybe we are twins. Haha. 

  • Pingback: What Does Emotional Healing Mean?

  • laura cavanaugh

    Really enjoyed your contribution!

  • Meg

    This was just completely and utterly refreshing Alise.  I loved it.  Thank you for joining in.  Blessings

  • http://rawfaithrealworld.wordpress.com/ RawFaith

    This so resonated with me. I have a love / hate relationship with my body for sure. On one hand I’m so amazed at what a miracle it is to be able to think and will our hands to type or play music. On the other hand there’s the whole body image thing and for me also the chronic pain etc. Quite the can of worms. My recent bout with cancer has made me appreciate in a fresh way how great it is to still be alive. I have a chance to still see and feel and touch and smell and be able to cry with others and touch each other and hug. Our bodies help us express what’s really going on with our hearts and our souls. When I was younger I spent plenty of time pounding my fists into walls… through walls, and doing all sorts of destructive things. Every time I sit down to teach a kid how to play an instrument and make music with those same hands I’m aware of the miracle that’s taken place in my life.

  • http://witnotleisure.wordpress.com/ mrs. grey

    this made me smile. so beautiful, inspiring, tender.