I go to battle every day with my body- some days grateful and content for my strong, capable figure, and other days critical and harsh- hyper-sensitive to every roll on my stomach and the size of my thighs and shoulders. Some mornings I resent myself, scolding myself like a child for eating too much the day before, and some mornings I feel pretty, proud even, when I look in the mirror as I get ready. I hate this roller coaster that I seem to be perpetually stuck on. It's something men don't seem to understand or deal with to the extent that women do.
My friend came over the other night to work out with me and she was discouraged and needed to unload. We sat in my room and talked, debating whether or not we actually wanted to exercise while we laughed and cried about her frustrations. The funny thing is the trigger that set her off that day into a downward spiral of inadequacy was, of all things, chocolate. She was mad at herself for eating too much chocolate that day. No man can really understand this unrelenting torment that women struggle with, and really, why should they? I know most of my friends discuss, and encourage, and laugh, and sympathize with me about this enigma. But are we the only ones? Do you do this same type of back and forth see-saw every day too?
I like food. I love to eat; I always have, and I always will. I like to exercise. I love to move my body and feel powerful and alive. Why then, should I not be satisfied that I have a healthy body that can enjoy both? Why does food become a dreaded enemy, and exercise another necessary evil? I don't know if I sound dramatic, but ladies and friends, anyone who is reading this... do you know what I'm talking about here?
I don't write this to criticize or blame the media for setting impossible expectations for women. I write this as a reminder to myself that I love my friends, siblings, parents, grandparents, nieces and nephews, husband and daughter in spite of, and because of their bodies. I loved my friend Logan in college who was a dancer with triple D boobs. I loved her because of her personality, and I admired her womanly shape. I love my grandpa with his rounded belly because of his wisdom, and because the crumbs from his dinner are always stuck atop his protruding stomach. I love my skinny sisters who's bodies are as unique and individual as their personalities. I love my aunt who is short and has the tiniest feet I have ever seen. I love my husband for so many reasons, but I love his body because it is lean and fit, and covered in freckles. I love Ellie's bum that is covered in dimples and her rounded, pop belly. When we love and care for someone else, we love them in spite of, and because of their bodies.
A body is part of who we are as individuals. We are blessed to have our own unique, specially made, just-for-us body. Why does this seem to be so hard to remember?
" I plead with you young women to please be more accepting of yourselves, including your body shape and style, with a little less longing to look like someone else. We are all different. Some are tall, and some are short. Some are round, and some are thin. And almost everyone at some time or other wants to be something they are not!"
"Frankly, the world has been brutal with you in this regard. You are bombarded in movies, television, fashion magazines, and advertisements with the message that looks are everything! The pitch is, “If your looks are good enough, your life will be glamorous and you will be happy and popular.” That kind of pressure is immense in the teenage years, to say nothing of later womanhood. In too many cases too much is being done to the human body to meet just such a fictional (to say nothing of superficial) standard."
-Jeffrey R. Holland
"Satan learned these same eternal truths about the body, and yet his punishment is that he does not have one. Therefore he tries to do everything he can to get us to abuse or misuse this precious gift. He has filled the world with lies and deceptions about the body. He tempts many to defile this great gift of the body through unchastity, immodesty, self-indulgence, and addictions. He seduces some to despise their bodies; others he tempts to worship their bodies. In either case, he entices the world to regard the body merely as an object. In the face of so many satanic falsehoods about the body, I want to raise my voice today in support of the sanctity of the body. I testify that the body is a gift to be treated with gratitude and respect."
-Susan W. Tanner
"Of all the creations of the Almighty, there is none more beautiful, none more inspiring than a lovely daughter of God who walks in virtue with an understanding of why she should do so, who honors and respects her body as a thing sacred and divine, who cultivates her mind and constantly enlarges the horizon of her understanding, who nurtures her spirit with everlasting truth."
-Gordon B. Hinckley
I'm grateful for the words of the scriptures and the Lord's servants to teach me truth about the divinity, not the shortcomings, of my body.