Grateful for… my body?

Grateful for… my body?

Posting this is extremely difficult for me. I feel completely exposed and vulnerable, so bear with me on this one.

My body is something I’ve never actually felt grateful for, if I’m being real. We’ve always had a toxic relationship, filled with hatred and abuse, for as long as I can remember.

As a kid I remember feeling resentful that my sister got the metabolism my mom had as a teenager, and that I was stuck in a constant struggle to look the way I felt I needed to.

I remember watching music videos of my favourite artists — like Christina Aguilera, or Britney Spears — and sort of living in this dilusion that I would look like that when I’m older; that once I hit my late teens or early 20’s I’d somehow naturally morph into “perfection”. It was easy to believe that’s how it works when every single person I adored looked essentially the same way.

And then, of course, it didn’t happen that way.

I’m 28 now, and I realize that I’ve spent probably 10 full years going back and forth between dieting and exercising, to trying crash diets and supplements in an attempt for a quick fix until I eventually jump right back into my poor eating habits and relationship with food. I’ve spent more time on the scale than I’d like to admit, and so much time in front of the mirror examining, criticising, and asking myself why I can’t just be skinny? Why I can’t just stick to a diet I start or keep up with exercising?

Sadly, I know that I’m only one small fish in a sea of women who have spent days, weeks, months, and years of their lives believing that skinny means beautiful; nothing more, nothing less.

I also know that I’m a small fish in a sea of women who are trying to share a similar message of body positivity and self love to anyone who will listen, but I’m really not trying to share some inspiring message. Nothing I’m saying is new or groundbreaking. I’m just another woman who sits down, sees my stomach fold over my pants, and feels immediate shame. I don’t fit into the jeans I wore at 23, cue the shame. I wear a size medium in one shirt (instead of the small I used to wear) and a large in another…yup, more shame.

I look back at all my years growing up and realize that feeling shame about my body has been the biggest constant in my life.

So, today, I’m starting a 30 day gratitude challenge and I have to tell you why exactly I AM grateful for this body. I’m hoping that this will be another small step toward a positive, healthy, relationship with myself and the body I inhabit.

I’m grateful for my body because it’s gotten me to 28 years of age. I know there are so many who aren’t around to say the same. I’m grateful for my body because that flabby stomach you see grew, held, and sustained another whole human being inside of it. I’m grateful for my body because it was able to sustain that same little human being outside of it, too, with those breasts you also see that aren’t quite the same as they used to be. I’m grateful for the abuse it’s taken, by it’s own hands, for so many years, all for some attempt to fit some sort of mold that feels completely unattainable. I’m grateful for my good health considering it all, and so grateful that it gets me through each and everyday without complications. I’m grateful that my biggest “worry” is just some extra weight that jiggles around when I move.

I think feeling at peace with my appearance starts somewhere on the inside. Sounds cliche, I know, but I also know that the unease and shame that I feel started there too. On some level I know that my physical appearance really isn’t what makes me who I am, but somehow I’m still so desparate to look a certain way.

I’m now starting to ask myself: what am I really searching for?

Is it to be thin? Or am I searching for the happiness that I believe comes with being thin?

I think too many of us are blinded by this illusion that happiness comes after you lose the weight, but, perhaps happiness can come without losing it at all.

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