|Gap Wool Sweater: Thrifted, Vintage Leather Skirt: Thrifted, BCBG Wedges: Thrifted, Bangles: Thrifted|
See this body? It's not the smallest it's capable of being. It's true! Through really vigorous exercise, I've gotten myself down to a size 6 and at my smallest, was even trying on some size 4s! All the while weighing in at just under 140 pounds. Great accomplishment, right? I certainly thought so at the time. In fact, most of my life has been spent either fretting over my body's size or shape OR trying to break it's stubborn will and suborn it to my idealized mental image of what I wanted it to look like.
When I look back through the years, I can only think, "What a futile life's purpose!" Because it really was a life's purpose. Trying to have model thin thighs monopolized my thoughts. My pants size became the obsession of my brain. And all of my angst was rewarded by the shear delight of going into a department store and "fitting into" a smaller size. And because there's ALWAYS one size smaller, my angst was never relieved and my lust for being satisfied with what I saw in the mirror was never sated.
Through that decades long journey, I've come to a conclusion. As small as one CAN get is probably not where their body's meant to be. That's why those 10 pounds usually always find their way back on. We're not failures. Our body is trying to tell us that we're not SUPPOSED to be that size! Just because you can GET to a size 2 isn't proof that it's the right size for you. I could attain a size 6, but maintaining that size would require herculean effort and time.
We hear so much talk about body image and body acceptance. And that's a GOOD thing. But it saddens me that it's even an issue at all. How unfortunate that we put unattainable or unMAINtainable body shape standards on ourselves at all! For some reason, women (more than men) make such a connection between happiness and the size of jeans we wear! I certainly did! And if I'm being brutally honest with you and myself, every now and then that mindset still wants to creep in. It takes discipline to break the habitual thinking that started in my preteens.
The thing about happiness, though, is that it's usually circumstantially based. When the skinny jeans fit; we're happy. When they don't; we're depressed. When we like what the scale reads; we're happy. When we don't; we're blue. Do you see that pattern? And we can't even deny it, because how many times do we get dressed in the morning and try putting on something that's not too tight, only to find our day is ruined because we now see ourselves as fat? I've seen (and been there myself) so many women who step on a scale happy as a clam because they just KNOW they'd be lighter than they were the day before. And when they don't see the number they were expecting, like a card in the hand of a magician....happiness disappears.
So, while I'm not the HAPPIEST I've ever been with my body (remember how giddy I was over a fleeting size 6!); I'm absolutely the most content with the ol' bod! I'm content with the fact that I'm strong. I'm content with larger calves that now hang from my shins like a rotisserie chickens, not dangle back and forth from them like chandelier earrings! I'm content with my muscular legs, even if they're not exactly small. They can climb, walk for hours and kick some butt if need be! I'm content with my poochy tummy, because it reminds me that this amazing creation that is my body, housed four healthy children! I'm content with my arms because they're strong enough to embrace my husband and my children in a honkin' big bear hug!
I'm content with the woman I see in the mirror. I'm content with this body. And I've come to realize that contentment is so much more fulfilling than fickle happiness.