My Body is a Blessing, Not a Curse

Today is a pretty exciting and weirdly difficult blog post for me. I’m finishing up the 2018 wrap up posts today with our final E- ENDURE, as well as introducing my first F for 2019!

I have a complicated history with my body. I think when I was a little girl I took to heart that scene in Matilda where Matilda’s mom tells the teacher that you can either have books or looks and I thought- well books, HANDS DOWN and then proceeded to think very little about my body from there. I’d like to say that’s it, the whole explanation. I’d like to say it came wholly from an obsession with books.
The truth is much closer to what Little Bit describes in How I Learned to Drive-, after a difficult time with being told that the inappropriate attention I received from various men was my own fault for having a large chest, after being sexually assaulted, after a whole mess of body image issues- I decided to escape to the “fire in my head” and hide there for as long as possible. It’s the same reason I STILL feel deeply unsure about wearing bright colors because for a long time I wanted to wear black and have extra weight on me so I could be ignored more easily, perhaps harassed less. I had just generally decided that I more or less hated having a body and it was just some sort of punishment that we couldn’t exist in our pure state as souls and minds.

And then… I got pregnant. And then… I got pregnant again and got really REALLY sick and all I wanted was to be able to use my body “normally” again. And then… I nursed my second baby for over a year… and all those things completely changed the way I thought of my body. It was no longer the enemy. It was a blessing. It helped create miracles. And while pregnancy was what I needed to show me that my body was a blessing, it is not what made my body a blessing. It was just the crucible for showing me that I can do really hard things, and that I am grateful for any day of health that I get because I knew suddenly what it was like to be exhausted and on bed rest for long stretches of time, that it’s ok to live in the physical world.

This past year took what I learned during those pregnancies and multiplied it. And here’s a tip for all of you setting goals for 2019- It was very important that my focus for 2018 wasn’t on a negative- that it wasn’t on losing a certain number of pounds or inches or what my body wasn’t supposed to be. I chose “endure” because it evoked the potential of what I could train my body to do. It was a positive, an adding to, (or as the social media mavens might call it- #gains) This year wasn’t about getting my body back after having babies…. its about wanting to even HAVE a body in the first place. Learning to see it as a partner, not an enemy.

This year has made me see that my body is responsible for so much of the art I create- the physical work of acting, the creations of my hands in the kitchen, in the garden, in my crafting. This year has made me see that my mind is not the only thing I have that can be of service to other people. This year has taught me that part of learning to endure is to observe “self-care” not in the trendy buy yourself a pedicure way (although… I will probably need one of those after my half marathon… if I still have all my toes in decent shape by then?) but about taking rest days, addressing health problems, and LISTENING to your body. This year has taught me so so much about what I can do and how I can surprise myself and I can’t wait to see how I continue to learn these lessons next year.

Which brings me to my first F for next year! FITNESS. I know, it’s kind of a continuation, but I’m going to be real- the first two months of the year I’m going to be writing a lot about my work with Team World Vision and the half marathon I’m training for to raise money and awareness for those who don’t have clean water. But even after the first few months of the year are over,
I still plan to write more about some things I’ve learned and struggled with while working to get fit and healthy after a lifetime of just wanting to pretend I didn’t even have a body whenever possible. I have a lot more I want to say about my experience building endurance this year, but it was just too muddled to talk about so far because it was so new and I was so close to it all. I’m hoping that as a bit more time passes, I can write more in my focus of fitness this year- Whether that be continuing running and yoga, writing about fitness and nourishing my body in general, or maybe trying something completely new that I can’t even imagine as I write this (or maybe not… maybe just keeping up the goal of hitting 10k steps a day…which is still truly a challenge on the days I don’t run.)

One thing I promise my posts will not include are selling you on diets or specific workouts. In fact… kind of the opposite. More on that in one of my January posts.

So that’s my first “F”ocus (see what I did there?) for 2019- any guesses on the others? I’ll be continuing to reveal them over the next few posts!

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4 thoughts on “My Body is a Blessing, Not a Curse

  1. What an amazing take on endurance! Thanks, as always, for sharing your struggles and triumphs.

    As for new “F” words this year: Friends? Fellowship? Family? Finance? Food? Faithfulness? Feelings?

    Like

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