My Body’s Favor

It is so rare that I am inspired by my own body, but it is so fabulous when I am. A year ago, I posted about losing my “glorious”, how the comments of strangers made me feel small and objectified, very much not-cute, and definitely not glorious.

Today was on the other end. After a long hot shower that went a long way to helping me feel human again, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I rubbed muscles sore from exercise and tension. I have caught glimpses of myself before, naturally, but the woman who looked back from the looking glass today was slightly different. I have seen her refined and elegant, graceful and soft. But this one: she was…sultry, sharp in a way. The way she tilted her head was coy, coquettish, and I felt like she would soon be giving me a sly noir smile from behind reddened lips and under smoky lids. She looked like a woman who would walk along as if the world was her oyster, opened for her discovery and pleasure. I loved looking at her (me) and found myself starting to revel more in myself as I rubbed the lotion into my skin, inhaling the scents of chamomile and bergamot that soaked into me as I massaged my muscles and paid attention to my areas of tension. It was, altogether, the most peaceful moment of my day.

Then, tonight, as I changed into my pajamas after an evening of family and birthday presents, I had a moment where I looked down and was struck at the sight of my black stockings against my dark skin, turned into thigh-highs for a moment as I divested myself of them. I just paused and smiled, as I am a person with a deep affection for thigh-high stockings and socks and their adorably cunning coquetry. It really just made me smile and muse on lovely legs in equally lovely stockings and socks.

Altogether, today, my body has done me a great service in not only surviving while short of sleep and getting me from place to place but also in giving me moments of feeling absolutely beautiful (even stunning) while doing so.




The Road from My Shoulder

John Milton: “A woman’s shoulders are the front lines of her mystique, and her neck, if she’s alive, has all the mystery of a border town. A no-man’s land in that battle between the mind and the body.” – The Devil’s Advocate

I have fallen in love with the curve of my shoulder. The gentle slope that my fingers travel from just behind my jaw down the side of my neck. They settle into the valley where it and my shoulder meet and join together, ball in joint, hand in hand. Beneath it, the terrace of my collarbone beckons, but only for a moment! There are other places to explore. The round of my shoulder pulls my fingers in a circle, tracing its sphere as if it were a small planet unto itself. I can feel the strength in it as the muscle presses back against my prodding fingertips, proving the work is worth it. There is also some tension there that bespeaks of some needed TLC, my body reminding me that care goes hand-in-hand with work.

I walk my fingers along the flat of my shoulder blade, up the back of my neck, feeling my spine press upward as my head curls forward. That beautiful sweet spot at the bottom of my skull calls, but that is not my focus for the moment. Forgive me, I get distracted sometimes.

I am slowly learning to love my body. To walk my fingers over its inches, feel my own skin, find my own strength, revel in my own softness and curves. There are days (and nights) that I just sit or lie in bed and run my fingers over my hips to feel the barely-there scars that tell tales of growth and blossoming. I knead them over my feet to relieve the weariness of a day’s coming and going. I brush them over my calves, pressing them under that muscle and deciding to work for more of a defined niche to hook them. I am finding what is beautiful in this body of mine. Or, rather, finding this body of mine and learning to call it beautiful. This is the only body that I will ever have, and I am rather liking that I am learning to love it.

Wonderfully Made

She wears her body like she is proud of it.

Like it is something fearfully and wonderfully made, and it is.

She holds her chest high, unembarrassed by its perkiness.

She lets her hips sway, honoring their curves.

She works to bless and please the body she has been gifted with.

She eats sumptuous foods and waters her body liberally.

She stretches and challenges her body to make it stronger.

She pampers her body and rests it.

Rather than denying her body’s beauty, she allows the compliments in with gracious acknowledgement.

She wears her body like she is proud of it.

Like she is fearfully and wonderfully made.

Because she is.

I am.

You are.


The Space at Center Stage

For those of you unfamiliar with me, body image has been a fairly constant struggle of mine for most of my life. This struggle has intensified at several different point in my life, the most recent being with the up and down weight bouncing I experienced post-baby. Almost three years later, my weight seems to have settled for now, I work out just about every day, I’m adjusting my eating habits bit by bit, and, this past week, I felt pretty darn amazing. I can now see the changes in my body, feel the differences as I develop more muscle and strength. It’s a relief, in a way, to see that almost eight months’ worth of consistent hard work is paying off. That might not seem like much to some, but it is quite a big deal to me. I hated doing conventional exercises, I hated the very idea of running, and the gym? Yeah, no thanks. But I made a decision and have pushed myself to stick with it, constantly reminding myself to be patient and keep working.

“It takes time,” I would and still say to myself, “It takes time. Be patient with yourself and keep working.”

A good many things in life, we work at for a long while before we see any results, and we are told that the best things do not come with instant gratification. Instead, we must work and work and work some more and wait to see what comes to fruition, if it comes to fruition. I have stuck with this and worked and worked and worked and I am seeing the fruit of my labor, not only in curves and tone and heavying dumbells but also in finding satisfaction in the work itself. It’s an odd, odd feeling to actually crave working out, to crave the heightened heart rate, the burn in my muscles, the sweat on my brow. It’s not just odd, it’s downright weird sometimes. But it is also beautiful.

It is beautiful to see the changes in myself, not just in my body. It’s beautiful to again feel the desire to be me, fully and boldly, and to do something about it. It’s beautiful to not be afraid of being beautiful and acting like it. It’s not just body image, it’s a sense of self that I am regaining. For a long time (longer than I would like to admit), I have felt like I needed to tone myself down, step back out of the spotlight, stick to my corner, etc. As if, if I were too much ‘me’, then there wouldn’t be space for someone else to be ‘them’. I don’t understand that idea; I didn’t then and I don’t now. And, honestly, I am damn tired of it. Me being me does not threaten anyone, nor should it. Each and every one of us is completely different. We are unique and glorious all on our own. Me being me does not mean that someone else has to be any less them or vice versa.

This does not mean that we need to shove everyone else out of the way. It doesn’t mean that we cannot work behind the scenes to help someone better their own sense of self and their own lives. It doesn’t mean that we cannot wear the roles of mother, daughter, sister, girlfriend, or wife and be a support and helpmeet to someone else. What it means it that we can do all those of things, but that we mustn’t forget ourselves and the role that we play for us. Your first role: you. Don’t forget you. Don’t forget your strength. Don’t forget your spirit. Don’t forget your glorious. Don’t forget your beautiful.

A friend once said to me: “I think you could leave yourself a bit more space in the center of the stage.”

And you know what? I think they are right. It’s time for me to reclaim my space. Maybe we all could leave ourselves a bit more space in the center of the stage.