When a Former Anorexic/Bulimic Loves Her Body

This morning I stood in our bedroom pulled on a camisole-topped two piece bathing suit.  I looked in the mirror and -- there they were.

Those thighs.

This picture here, it doesn't do them justice.  And by "justice" I mean that it does not show you the dimpled cellulite that jiggles overly much when I move, nor the stretch marks that came from binge eating and not from babies.  It doesn't show you the warty lump that protrudes where my right thigh meets my bottom, and it doesn't show you the the hairs that refused to be shaved.

I don't know why I just wrote that.  Why I felt the need to point out every last flaw about those thighs.

And that's what I thought about, there in my bedroom as I faced myself in the mirror and my son played on the floor nearby. 

Why is it those thighs?  Why not my thighs

My thighs, that watched two babies emerge from my womb.  My thighs, that have carried me and carried me for these more than three decades.  My thighs, that I've not treated or loved so well, and certainly haven't stretched nearly often enough. 

I will love my thighs, I told my bathing suit clad self this morning.  My own two thighs, strong and precious and solid.  I will be proud.

But I didn't believe that I could.

I went to the pool and drew and deep breath and told myself not to be ashamed of the body that housed my precious soul for all this time, not to be afraid to love it before the world.  I drew off my coverup and stood in my bathing suit, my thighs wide and white.  And --

Oh my friends.

It was totally fine.

I stood there in that bathing suit and it was fine.  I took my son up in my arms and strode toward the water, into the water, and it was fine.  I waded him around and buoyed him up on my shoulder and my knees and it was fine.  I emerged from the water, changed him and myself and -- it was totally fine.

I have never felt so free with my body.  Never felt so accepting of it.  Not ever.  Not even when I had starved myself down to a size nothing did I feel like my body was thin/beautiful/sexy/wanted/valuable/anything-at-all enough. 

And now -- I can stand proud on my thighs that don't meet our woman-crushing culture's ideal.  I can stand proud on thighs that our society says render me valueless, less-than. 

You and I, we know that value has nothing to do with size or shape or color or cup size or any of those transitory things.  It is easy to believe this for each other.

But for ourselves?  And me, for myself?  It's so much harder, somehow, to give the same grace.

And today . . . today, I did. 

It is a miracle, God-breathed and Spirit given.

This tastes of freedom, of shackles loosening and feet stepping from darkness into pools of light.  These feet, powered by my very own thighs.

This feels too beautiful for words.

* * *


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