I was running around the Roosevelt High School track last night to continue my (semi-) training for a 5K run for Lymphoma, which is on Sunday. As I was running, those creeping negative body image thoughts started invading. Sigh. “Again?!” I said to myself. Sheesh, I thought I had vaccinated myself from this crap.
No, I am not immune. Yes, I need massive doses of body-love sometimes.
I felt heavy, slow, and sluggish. I’m 30 pounds heavier than I was 10 years ago. My body doesn’t feel light when I run. You see, I used to be an athlete — a cross-country and track and field athlete — and a good one back the in the day (in my high school days, to be exact). My body still remembers being able to move through space in a much more effortless and less painful way. As I was running, I felt twinges and aches and the occasional light-headed vomitty feeling.
But I kept running, even as the fast dude who yelled “track!” behind me to let me know to move the hell over sped past me. I kept running as I watched 20-something young men do leap frogging maneuvers across the football field and observed young women with their tight, defined arms do push-ups and planks.
Comparison is a killer.
I kept running until…I stopped. I realized that I was so focused on my dislike of my body that I needed to stop running, get the hell out of there, and go hug a tree.
Tree hugging is quite recalibrating, I find. Trees have strong, certain energy. Grounding. I felt my belly fat pressed up against the bark and somehow felt okay. I felt my 37 year-old self breathe in deep. I was belly-to-belly with a maple tree and I felt beautiful in the way leaves and dirt and roots are beautiful because they have purpose. They are beautiful just because they exist.
When I came home, I revisited this wonderful post by a massage therapist who describes our (ALL our) beautiful bodies — and who demystifies our cultural distortions related to body perfection. If you haven’t read this yet, be prepared to feel loved, accepted, and a-okay:
Yes, everything he writes is so true. As a massage therapist for seven years, I found this to be true. EveryBODY was beautiful to me. Sacred, too. We’re supposed to have cellulite and dimples and sagging parts. Our human form is natural this way.
Time to apply the body-appreciation I have for others onto myself. Isn’t this often the case?
I leave you with this edgy, beautiful, and powerful poem/song by Mary Lambert:
Here’s to our perfect imperfections, our “being-in-love-with-ourselves-right-now”-ness, our acceptance of time having passed and our bodies being different, and our resolutions to be as kind to ourselves and our bodies are we are to those we love.
blessings to your beautiful body,