This afternoon I caught a glimpse of myself sideways in a mirror. There is a gentle curve where my stomach lies that closely resembles the way I looked at 4 or 5 months pregnant.
It struck me that my body is holding onto the memory of carrying, nurturing, and growing you. What a beautiful thing that is.
You’ll soon learn that people believe there is a way your body is “supposed” to look. According to many you’re supposed to be thin here and curvy there, your supposed to not have hair anywhere but you ARE supposed to have long hair on your head and eyelashes.
You will come against ridiculous stipulations. But you won’t be told that most of these things don’t naturally occur on anyone.
I’m here to tell you a secret: they’re wrong. Oh, Sweet Ruby, they are so incredibly wrong. I believed them for so many years, and it led to nowhere. They will tell you that looking more like ______ and less like you is where life is really at. But “there is a road that seems like life but ends in death,” (Proverbs 16:25). I hope you never choose to.
There are women who have a hard time fighting these lies. Women who get plastic surgery and miss out on the first few days with their babies because the world says that their stomach is supposed to be flat minutes after birth. (It’s not). There are women whose worlds get shrunk so small into obsessions with the food they eat or a number on a scale or pair of pants.
Oh, Ru. Don’t believe them, ok?
Can I tell you about my body? It’s a wonder, that God created.
It’s not an object, but a part of me that has been present for every piece of my story.
It’s tall and it’s strong. It’s been through times where I didn’t take care of it, where I hated it, and it still kept going.
It carried these two incredible babies healthily and for nine months provided a safe place for them to grow. It’s thick in the waist, always has been and now post babies, even more so. It’s sturdy and reliable.
I have dark circles under my eyes that testify to my love for you and your brother, and the sleepless nights I’ve spent with you.
There’s a tiny scar near my temple from where I fell into a drawer as a child. And a scar near my wrist from burning it while making soup at my first job. My hands easily looked aged, from constant sunburn that summer I spent working at Sea World. There are tiny acne scars on my face that remind me of a time when I was a lot less sure of who I was.
All of these marks and more bring so much of my past into my everyday.
I’m getting WRINKLES! Beautiful wrinkles around and under my eyes, that I’ve earned with every smile and laugh, every squint into the beautiful sun.
Day piles upon day and leaves its tracks on my skin.
Our bodies and faces will continue to change, like a much loved canvas that the artist of time cannot leave alone.
But, I love this body and this face. I love the parts that those around me say are good, and the parts that society or whoever else think I should change.
And, Ru, you can too. I hope you do. Because life is too short to be spent obsessing with the externals. There are much bigger stories to live and adventures to be had.
“All beautiful you are, my darling. There is no flaw in you.”
(Song of Songs 4:7)