Judging Parts

'Tan back with bow!' photo (c) 2010, vavva_92 - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Last week my parents took our family down to Tennessee for vacation. We went to a water park and had a fantastic time. We floated around the lazy river, got bashed about in the wave pool, and climbed more steps than I like to think about to ride the slides. It was a much needed rest, before embarking on a crazy amount of travel for both Jason and me.

The thing about visiting a water park is that you spend pretty much your entire vacation in a swim suit. And even in a really modest swim suit, you can’t really hide very much. You can flaunt those nice parts, but the flaws – well, those are going to be visible as well.

More than once I caught myself thinking, “Please don’t look too hard. Please don’t notice the cellulite. Please don’t notice the bulges. Please don’t notice the stretch marks. And please, please, please don’t judge me.”

But honestly, it’s hard not to judge in an environment like that. As much as I didn’t want anyone looking at me with a critical eye, I had a hard time affording them the same courtesy. That woman really should know better than to wear a bikini. That man should maybe not hit the tanning bed so hard. She must have had work done because no one could have boobs that perky.

Exposed people become less like people, and more like parts. Parts that are easily judged.

So we cover up that which we fear is unacceptable. If it will be deemed judge-worthy, we suck it in, tuck it up, pin it down.

But my parents and kids and husband didn’t care about my cellulite or bulges or stretch marks. They just wanted me to be myself and have fun. They wanted me to climb the steps with them and scream my head off in the giant funnel ride. They wanted me to laugh and play and swim. Not encumbered by coverings. Not stiff from holding in my stomach. Not self-conscious.

My parts have meaning to these people. Arms that hug. Breasts that comfort. Legs that run to.

They are parts, but they make up the whole, and they love the whole.

They have judged the parts and found them acceptable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dawn.paoletta1 Dawn St Amand Paoletta

    Nice slant on a “touchy” subject! As always.
    Hope you thoroughly enjoyed your day…

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

      Thanks, Dawn! I am trying to make the most of this summer, that’s for sure!

  • Miles O’Neal

    I seldom comment here, but want you to know I love reading your blog. You talk about subjects everyone thinks about, and your words carry a lot of healing, joy and peace.

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

      Thank you for taking the time to let me know. That means a lot to me.

  • pastordt

    Lovely, Alise. Thank you.

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

      Thank you back, Diana. 

  • http://turquoisegates.blogspot.com/ Genevieve Thul@Turquoise Gates

    LOVE. You, your parts, your willingness to talk about it. Your kids will always love you for being willing to put on your suit and laugh all day at a water park with them and they will never, ever think, boy I wish she’d covered up her parts. Kudos for being brave enough to do it…and then tell us all about it. You’re awesome, Alise.

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

      Well, you know all about brave! Mostly it was a good reminder to me that I want my kids to be free from fear & from the need to judge other, at least as much as possible. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Fire Fairy

    Awesome post! I particularly love the bit: ”My parts have meaning to these people. Arms that hug. Breasts that comfort. Legs that run to.”

  • Josie Bisett

    Great post (again:)) This post rings true for me – especially being 8 months pregnant in the Texas heat! I can’t hide very much if I want to stay cool. And I know everybody must be seeing my lumps and bumps! Thankfully my babies don’t seem to mind one bit though!

    I want to pass on The Fabulous Blogger Ribbon Award to you (if you’d like to accept). This is my first blogger award, and when I had to think of five worthy blogs yours sprang straight to mind. Please let me know either way:). 

    Best Wishes

    • Josie Bisett

      Oops. I haven’t managed to update my profile details on your blog so you can’t contact me. jbisett(at)gmail(dot)com is my email. The details of the award are in my latest bog post on Go Momma (http://bit.ly/MTWBZb)  

  • https://sites.google.com/site/holyhugs/ Jim Fisher

    Great post Alise! As I was reading it, I was saddened by how our culture (and the cosmetics industry) has taught us to use words like “flaws” and “imperfections” when speaking of the signs of wear on the Temples that are our bodies. Isn’t there more beauty in the stories behind those visible signs of living than in anything we try to cover them up with?

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