Mondays aren’t typically that great for most people. Not having a normal job, I don’t mind them too much, but this Monday I was getting sick. The limits I’d been pushing with my food allergies over the previous week or so were catching up with me. The cool, dry, autumn air and continued poor dietary choices on my part brought on a full blown sinus infection. So, this Monday, I was on the verge of complete misery.
I was trying to stay in denial and went to the gym anyway, but everything took far more effort than even an average “rough” day. While I was wheezing my way along on the treadmill, I was mentally escaping into twitter to ignore the strain. The lovely, beautiful inside and out, and inspiring Nadia Bolz-Weber (if you don’t know who that is, look her up!) had tweeted:
“Let’s do something radical: tweet something about your body that you
find beautiful then tag
#bodypositive me: I love my broad shoulders”
I thought, “Hey! I can do this! I’m more alive than ever and feel great about the person I’m becoming! I can surely tweet something body positive. I mean, I’ve lost 70 pounds! I feel great about myself (most days) so…”
I had nothing. Sure, I like my eyes, but a lot of people say that. I wanted to claim something beautiful that was more physical. It probably took close to five minutes before I came up with something:
“I love my hands, even the guitar calluses.
Maybe even especially the guitar calluses.”
And I meant it. I use my hands a lot. I’m using them right now to write. I love playing the guitar. My hands are not superhero strong, but I can typically open jars for others when they need help. I hold open doors for others. I fist bump my nieces and nephews. I play xbox. I probably flip off more people than I should, but they’re usually my closest friends and they reciprocate in kind. My hands hold the weights I work out with. My hands scroll through the mp3 player to find a good song. My hands are not dainty like many women’s hands; and I used to hate that until I discovered that my great grandma’s ring fit me perfectly, the great grandmother I never got to meet. I even love the scar from surgery last February. It was a painful experience, but it didn’t beat me and the scar reminds me of that. I really do love my hands and think they’re beautiful.
Somehow though, it still felt like cheating. Other than my hands and eyes, I don’t think I love any other body parts. But maybe, just maybe, it’s enough to not hate them like I used to? Maybe the fat and the scars and the things I don’t love make me less unhappy than before?
It was also Monday that I told my best friend that I had colored my hair. She wanted pictures. Suddenly I panicked. I tried to talk her out of caring, tried to put it off until later. But she pushed, kindly. She knows I have thin hair and I hate it. Here was my kryptonite body part that I still hated just as much as ever. I had dyed my hair because I’ve been wearing my dark brown wig a lot lately and it’s easier to dye my hair a little darker than to fight with keeping all the light brown wisps around the edges properly tucked in. But she said the magic words, “What are you going to do someday when someone has to see it?” Well, I have a few people I’m okay around without a bandanna or a wig. They are very few. One day, and I know this is what she meant, I want to be in a relationship with someone who loves me as I am and that means I can’t hide my hair 24/7. She asked if I’d still hide it if she were here with me. Of course not, because I love her and she won’t reject me because of this! She’s safe. But this is a picture we were talking about! There would be proof of how horrible I look! I did it anyway. I took the picture and sent it to her. Quickly, I sent a few other non-related pics so that I could scroll past and wouldn’t have to look at ugly me on the screen! Her reaction? “You’re cute.” My reaction? I burst into tears while saying “No I’m not.” I still don’t fully believe her, but I trust her. I recognize that I can’t see what she sees and that maybe I’m wrong.
All the improvements I can see in me, even if I don’t quite love them all yet, I love that I don’t hate myself as much as I used to. So, maybe it’s okay that I love my eyes and my hands. Maybe it’s okay that I love the person I’m becoming on the inside. I’m a work in progress, and the me on the inside is a little nicer to the me on the outside each and every day. Even if I don’t lose the rest of the weight, I’m still learning to love whatever state my body parts are in… maybe not my hair though, at least not yet. And it might have to be okay if maybe all I can be body positive about some days is that I’m positive I have a body that is no longer my enemy. That concept is something that I find beautiful about me.