Does anyone else have certain memories or subjects that, when revisited, are sort of like peeking under a band-aid to see if a wound is still there, and then poking at the scab a bit to see if it still stings? I also have memories I like to pull out once in a while that are like cozy warm blankets, and I savor those thoughts over and over, but this post is about the first kind of memory. More specifically, it’s about accessing a memory and realizing that the wound is healed.
As anyone who has been reading along knows, I had a baby in the last year via C-section. Almost exactly a year ago, in fact. I have been breastfeeding that baby for the last year, and I also turned 31. Given the above, what I’m about to say next might be a little surprising: I feel better about myself and my body than I ever have.
So here is where I duck at the imaginary things you all might be throwing at me. Because despite all the lip service paid to the idea that we should all accept ourselves for who we are, and love and respect our bodies, it’s not really the done thing to say that you have actually reached that point. It would be much easier to write here about how I hate my scar, or how the shape of my body has changed, or how I am a few sizes bigger than I was in college. Those things are much more acceptable topics of conversation, and much more comfortable for me to say.
01.22.2010 marks the first time in my life that I became aware of some criticism related to my appearance (got to love the internet!), took a deep breath and peeked under that particular band-aid, and found the wound was healed. No scab, no sting. I’m happy with who I am these days.
Do I think that it’s because I had a baby, and I am perpetually in awe that my body created that miracle, and so I have a newfound respect for it? Nah. The baby is amazing and wonderful and I think the whole process is pretty neat, but millions and millions of ordinary people have been able to have babies (and a lot of pretty extraordinary people have not), so I hardly think that the experience has given me some unique, Earth-Mother, zen outlook.
I think the difference is that I take good care of myself these days. I feed my body well (occasional infusions of cheese fries notwithstanding), I take time to get my hair cut, I dress in clothes that are flattering to my shape, I use fancy soaps that I get as gifts right away instead of saving them for who-knows-what, I try to get enough rest, I try to keep potentially harmful chemicals out of my life as much as possible, and I chose a partner who treats me like everyone should be treated.
When you have someone who tells you every day that you look great and that you are beautiful (and he happens to be pretty easy on the eyes himself), you start to buy into the hype a little bit. And even if you think that he’s saying that just because he’s your husband, you realize it doesn’t matter. If he thinks you look great, and you’re feeling pretty good about yourself…what else matters, really? Who else am I trying to impress these days?
So, Fabulous Thing #22: Being grateful for where I am in this moment in my relationship with myself, and for being with someone who helps me feel a little bit spectacular every day.