Friday, July 3, 2015

A Girl and Her Body

Photo Credit: RafalZych

With summer upon us, swim wear distress has begun. As Ben gets older, he has more friends, we are invited to more summer events, including swim events. This brings my old nemesis back to the forefront, swim wear. Can I get an amen?

Growing up, we went on vacation where swimming was available. So swim wear was a necessity. Every year I struggled to find something to fit me right. I had bikinis, tankinis, and one pieces over the years. I didn't like any of them. I picked the one that made me feel the least crappy about myself. Feeling good about myself in swim wear wasn't even going to happen. Bikinis showed my stomach which wasn't flat enough. One pieces showed my thighs which were too big. Tankinis could be paired with shorts and cover all the ugly flabby parts. However, the patterns weren't very pretty which left me feeling like a big geek who couldn't possibly fit in with any group. In all these struggles, I was so very blessed that no adult in my life put any pressure on me about the swim wear decisions I had to make.

I wish I could say that some piece of sage advice along the way eased every fear and negative thing I would tell myself. But I never even asked for advice because I didn't want confirmation of how wrongly shaped my body was. I didn't want to have to say my flaws out loud. I have said many of these things to my husband over the years as I have become frustrated with shorts, swim wear and any other number of clothing items.  He has assured me of my beauty and sympathized with me about the mean old clothing manufactures. And yet it was a comment only a couple weeks ago from a few parents at church that helped me more than anything else ever has. We were discussing the difficulties of finding swim wear for a tall daughter and another daughter that wanted shorts. Another woman even mentioned a place that was selling long torso swim suits. It is the swim suit that doesn't fit me. It isn't me that doesn't fit the suit! It isn't that my proportions are all wrong. It is the suit that isn't long enough and pulls down in the wrong places and up in wrong places.

No matter swim wear I choose it does not define the correctness of my body.

My body has been fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator of the Universe. I no longer need to feel ashamed by the shape of this or the size of that. I don't need to fear if I look acceptable to others. I don't need to fear if they notice this flaw or that flaw. We all have flaws, but we also all have our beauty as well.

And more important than our physical attributes, we are all interesting and lovely people on the inside. And the more lovely we are on the inside, three more lovely we are on the outside.

I will no longer allow myself to be defined by the way I look in a swim suit or the size of that swim suit or the shape of that suit. I will no longer allow myself to be shamed by the media, stupid people (smart people don't shame anyone), or my own negative self talk. I will not only accept my body, but I will love it. I am going to celebrate who I am inside and out.

I don't think this post would be complete without discussing me as a mother. What will I do to help Lily not deal with this for 35 years? I am not going to talk to her about her body. I will talk to her about what her body can do. I will talk to her about how the clothes fit her or compliment her. The subject will be her ability or the clothes. The subject will not be her body. I will also do encourage her to ask questions and talk about her feelings. And I will pray a lot.

These human bodies that we have been stuck with are difficult and the world we live in is broken. Lord help us love more.

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