Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Body Love

I know you've all been waiting for me do another self-illustrated post using "Paint."  But be warned, I gave myself a 2 minute limit for each illustration, lest I waste precious nap time.  

This post is about how much I love my body.  It's not a "please write a comment about how beautiful I am" post, but rather a post that I think could describe the evolution of any woman's self-image, and does describe how every woman should rejoice in her brilliant body.

A question for the comment box: What aspects of our daily legacy do you think might be affected by our perception of our bodies?

Dance lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the other girls are in black leotards and I’m in white. I think I’m fat and walk with my arms tightly crossed, but I’m still happy, and I’m kind, and I have fun.

That's me in the white tutu.  (Hold tight to the end and you can see a real photo of this dance class.  Very entertaining.)

I’m not obsessed with image, never am.

Not even in Junior High when I notice all the girls who are skinnier than I, but fail to notice the ones who aren’t.  (I have a photo from then, at the airport with the family, and my legs look almost spindly. But I’m in Junior High, and I always wear shorts over my swimsuit, thankful at least that for me modesty isn’t hard.)

I still like to wear swimsuit shorts, but for different reasons. 

And I wish my hair wasn’t snarled and I wish I looked good without bangs because I’m embarrassed by the height of my forehead and my blond blond eyebrows, and lashes that you can’t see except in sunlight. Oh how this little girl wishes for princess hair, even prays, but tries not to complain. (God hears our foolish, vain prayers too.)

This picture looks like it's nighttime, but you know the sun is shining because you can see my lashes.  I don't glow in the dark.

I’m never obsessed with image, but little thoughts do float away all the same.

I always love eating, think about breakfast first thing when I wake up and dream of dinner during orchestra. But I think about what I shouldn’t eat too, imagine cake-shaped slabs of fat on my sides and butter blobs inside my thighs, and food is a guilty thing, and I’m wrong to love it like that.

Me as a delicious slice of chocolate fudge cake.

Then after high school, it occurs to me: I’m not fat. And I’m not skinny. And I’m not meant to be.

But I am really strong.


I make strong my thing, and mostly forget about skinny. My hair is long now, thick to my waist. My bangs are gone now and I like my face and three isolated people tell me I look like a pre-Raphaelite princess. Weird. And I figure that’s one answered prayer (the one about hair).

Me as a pre-Raphaelite princess.

I love to hike and run and ski and bike because it makes me strong and strong is my thing. But I still think about food and what’s right and what’s wrong and wish I hadn’t eaten that bite I’m still really glad I ate and will eat again, even though I know it will show on my hips.

I love life as a free young woman and take trips and study and date and never obsess about image, but still feel flooded when a man I already sort of love tells me my white lashes are otherworldly and later that it’s like I was carved by the hand of God. And I feel like he really means what I can’t believe. So I decide just to believe.

That's Cameron.

I start believing other things too, like that positivity is powerful, physically powerful, and maybe my body believes what I think about it and becomes it.

I start loving food for real now because I almost only eat real food now, and I think about food as it really is.  I don’t avoid it because it makes me fat or eat it because it keeps me skinny.  I eat it because it makes me strong and smart and maybe even helps keep me kind. Because I believe food is powerful and my body is powerful now, and food and my body and my mind make a mighty team. And so I love real food because I’ve begun to love my body for real.

I’m relaxed now about the image I never obsessed over. My relaxed mind starts firing right and leads to relaxed muscles that fire right and my body gets stronger, and maybe even a little skinnier too.  But skinny isn’t my thing anyway.

And then I get fat but I’m glad about that because my son is going to look like Daddy, and I’m not at all disappointed when he also looks a whole lot like me.

That's Peter.

So I’m lying in bed, pressed between my nursing boy and my sleeping husband (his arm draped over like so),

And whoa.

My body is so important: It is the binding force of my family.
My body is so beautiful, Godly beautiful.
My body is so powerful.

And now I understand why I made strong my thing,
Because my body isn’t just about me.
It’s about them.
I've never seen Cameron wear a bowtie.

Now for some real pictures.

For real.



  1. This is wonderful. Thank you. I do so look forward to your posts here. To answer the question for the comments box: I think daily rejoicing in the remarkable wonder of our bodies is of the utmost importance for our children. Both the boys and the girls. For me, growing up with a mother who celebrated her body's ability to hike, climb, bike and do good was vital to how I learned to view myself. In a world flooded with the importance of image and ridiculous ideas, it's vital to have a home base that celebrates what's important. Again, thanks so much for your words. They sure are great!

    1. Well said! Of course not all mothers are hikers or bikers, but all mothers should verbally celebrate the gift of their bodies like yours did. I think sometimes we don't realize how much our children apply our insecurities to themselves, even when it makes no sense at all.

  2. Masterful, Meredith! And also Erin and Neal. That is a great comment.

  3. I have read, and reread this, I love it so much. What a powerful image these words bring to mind. I wish young women everywhere could read this. And women, and men too. Thanks again for sharing!

  4. Keenan here. Very beautiful and original post, Meredith. I like your art. I think James looks like you in that kid picture.

  5. All I can say is, "sorry for all my body language". Merzi, you told me recently that I always worried aloud about weight. I never thought I said those things aloud, but you remember them. I also heard my mother worry aloud about weight.

    I had plenty of years as my children were growing inside me, and then outside me, where I felt fit and that felt good. But I probably didn't say it; and was always a little surprised when others would comment on "me" being slim... "for having so many children". :)

    I am still working on body love. You girls do it so awfully well. Of course, if I looked like you, I probably would too. :)