you’re beautiful, you’re enough, you’re free

As graduation and wedding season are upon us I've been reflecting a lot on where I was 13 years ago and what I thought was ahead of me. Sometimes I still feel like the 19 year old bride with everything figured out and more and more I feel like a timeless

Some of you might know that I did the ‪Whole30‬ about a month ago and, as chronicled on this blog over the years, I’ve struggled with my body image/self acceptance/weight/food and have an autoimmune disease (type 1 diabetes) thrown into the mix. Which means, unfortunately, I’m always aware of the food I eat and where my body is on the scale of what’s considered “healthy” and “unhealthy”. And my doctors appointments remind me regularly if I forget.

A couple weeks ago I was walking downtown and passed a couple of elderly women on a walk. I would guess late 70’s, maybe early 80’s. I overheard their conversation – one said to the other “I’m doing everything they’re telling me, avoiding all the right foods and I still can’t lose weight!” and in the middle of the sidewalk, just past these lovely women, I started laughing out loud. All to myself. It was such a gift to hear this. By my own standards these ladies were lovely, healthy, fit. They were walking, their bodies were clearly able. And still at 75 or 80 they focused on, are struggling with and constantly debating their weight. They’re still keeping track.

I’ve done so much reading in this area about the metaphysical effects of our emotions, the spiritual impact of ailments and sicknesses, and expectantly waiting to get better through the food I eat, the miles I can walk, and the punishments I can dole out to my physical self. I keep waiting to get to the age where all of a sudden I’m comfortable with my skin, comfortable IN my skin, and each passing year I achieve this more and more. However, in the back of my head I’m still chasing a healthier, thinner, faster, leaner, more flexible me.

I do not have this figured out but I’ve also tried, um, everything out there. Fad diets, cleanses, boot camps, etc. They all have one thing in common: me.

And through my exhaustive research, I’m fairly certain the only allowable food all of these plans, diets, formulas have in common is Mustard. You can eat mustard, if nothing else, for the rest of your life and fall into each and every category of “diet” and be A-Ok. (You’re welcome.)

Here’s where I’m going with this because I have to remind myself of this daily, if not hourly, as I work towards the kind of self love and acceptance I want my own daughter to experience by virtue of learning from me: it doesn’t matter.

Or, sadly, it always will.

My mom just celebrated her 60th birthday and I shared this story with her and asked her for some wisdom as a matriarch in my life. What has she learned that she can pass to me? She also works with the elderly at a local rest home – she’s the activities coordinator for the home so she gets to play and listen and love on the people we so often discard as used, broken, old, even useless. Here’s what she shared with me … her residents might have dementia but the impactful hurts of their life they’ll always remember. They might not know where they live but they remember what their mother in law said to them 60 years ago, and it’s become a piece of who they are.

I’m afraid I’m holding on to words from loved ones, hurts from regrets, what if’s of my past, and the dangerous loop hole of never being enough. It could be that watching my mom turn 60, which my dad never reached, has been an impactful experience this past week. Thinking through life, what matters, what should have weight and what shouldn’t, coupled with my personal struggle to listen to my body, help it and support it is all I needed to get to a place where I can say to my reflection:

You are exactly who you’re supposed to be,
dressed exactly as was meant to be.
Say goodbye to the former me,
come and rest in peace and see:

you’re beautiful,
you’re enough,
you’re free.

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