Most Mondays, I walk into my office and ask my coworkers how their weekends were. I get the usual responses, “busy, short, fun, not long enough…” Sometimes one coworker will show me pictures of her grandson or dogs. But this Monday was different. My coworker came into the office and when I asked how her retreat was with her church, she delivered to me a message that hit home.
She said while she was on her trip, the speakers emphasized the importance of self acceptance. They talked about letting the little things go. The things you can’t change. The things you don’t like about yourself. Stop being so obsessed with trying to change and accept what God gave you. She then told me that they emphasized that God made you perfectly.
God made me perfectly huh? Such a simple message, but one that’s so hard to accept. We talked about it for a few more minutes and then went about our day. Her words have stuck with me ever since.
Pretty much all my life I have been self conscious about something or another. Never one to lack confidence, I did not let my insecurities hinder me, but they have always existed. No matter if it was in the form of unwelcome attention, or attention in the form of bullying, I have developed a thick skin to the mean and rude things people have said about my body.
There is nothing flattering about having a creepy man stare at your butt as you walk past him. I will never forget being called thunder thighs when I was 10 years old. And being told that I have horse legs in the hallways in high school left some deep scars. I mean what 15 year old likes to be neighed at like a horse?
So while I have dealt with my body over the years, I have not always accepted it. I know there is more to me then my outward appearance but people can be mean and the things they say can hurt even if they say them based only on what they see.
This is why I am working on trying to consciously accept the body that God has given me. I will always work out and push myself to be faster, stronger, tougher – but I also need to realize that some aspects of me are here to stay.
I will accept my “badonkadonk.” While I have been somewhat happy to have a big booty, there are times when I look in the mirror and just wish it be a little smaller. I get self conscious of the cling of fabric on my behind. I get really insecure when strange men stare. I don’t like my pants to be too tight. Spandex are out of the question unless I’m working out.
But my bum is more than that. It helps give power to my swing when I play softball. A swing so powerful that grown men can’t field my hits. A swing so hard that it got me noticed at a showcase event and recruited to a college softball team when I was only 16 years old.
My butt also gives me something to shake when I am dancing the night away with my friends. And for that, I accept my booty.
I will accept my “thunder thighs.” No matter how much weight I have lost or gained over the years, my thighs have always been big. When the girls in my 6th grade class were still shopping at Limited 2, I was wearing clothes in the Juniors department because they fit my lower half better. I have been stopped by total strangers to ask if I play soccer, softball, volleyball, gymnastics – all based on the size of my thighs.
My thighs are so much more though. My thighs have helped push me over six finish lines in the past year. My thighs have pushed me to run countless miles in the blazing sun, in the frigid winter and in the falling rain. My thighs have helped me reach physical peaks that I never thought were possible.
My thighs have also gained their strength back and helped me bounce back from three knee surgeries, one that included breaking my leg and putting two screws into the top of my tibia.
Lastly, I will accept my “big cheeks.” While this has not been a major source of mockery, my big cheeks have caused lots of insecurities over the years. So much that I often don’t smile in pictures. I like my smile, but I feel like my cheeks are too wide, too much.
I need to get over that because they are my grandmother’s cheeks. My grandmother died of cancer before I was born so I don’t have any memories or stories of her. But I was blessed with a gift and that was her cheek bones. When I smile, my mom and uncle can see the mother that they lost too soon. When I smile, I can see pieces of the woman I never knew, but one that has a special place in my heart.
So when I look at these things – my butt, my thighs, my cheeks – I do not need to be ashamed or insecure. I need to accept them. Because without them, who would I be?
God gave me this body for a reason. My coworker’s message made me remember that. So I will work on accepting myself. And I hope whoever reads this is motivated to accept themselves too. I know it’s a process, but one I believe is possible. After all, God made you and me perfectly.
Have a fab Wednesday. Smile and enjoy the sunshine! 😀