Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Some Body to Love

I am honored and thrilled to be a new contributor to this blog (thanks, Cathy!). I regret to admit that body image problems have been a stubborn companion of mine for as long as I can remember. Even as a child, I can recall thinking I was "gross" or "fat" despite growing up in a loving, faith-filled family. I was clinically diagnosed with an eating disorder in high school, was "recovered" only to suffer a severe relapse during my senior year of college. Almost daily I have to fight the funny mirror inside my head that distorts who I am and what I look like. I have all the risk factors: perfectionism, a desire for control, a few obsessive-compulsive tendencies (yes, I click the lock button on my car key chain at least three or four times just to make sure the doors are really locked).

But I also have my faith and I've found this is the best armor around at deflecting unhealthy thoughts and behaviors pertaining to weight. I plan on sharing more of my personal story down the road, but I want all of you to know that this blog isn't just for eating disorder patients - it's for anyone who has at one time or another struggled with their appearance, wondered if they'd be happier if they could just lose that last five pounds, or sworn off carbs for three months in an attempt to squeeze in to that old pair of "skinny" jeans.

It's also for people who are blessed to have a perfectly healthy body image but who may have a loved one - a spouse, a child, a friend - who is struggling. Something I discovered in my own journey is that having a loved one with an eating disorder is very difficult. People get frustrated and can't figure out why a person just won't eat or why he or she doesn't recognize their inner and outer beauty. But it's not about beauty or even thinness. It runs much, much deeper. I look forward to sharing my story in hopes that it might help someone out there. Finally, this blog is for anyone who is trying to be healthy and to respect the bodies that God has loaned to us.

Now the real reason I wanted to mosey on over here today is to do what Cathy did and to give my body some love. Without further ado:

Five things I like about my body:
1. My legs. They're muscular and toned. People have asked if I'm a gymnast, which always makes me laugh. I may be a bubbly blond, but folks, I can't even do a cartwheel. Will someone please come teach my poor daughter how to do one?
2. My eyes. They change colors. Sometimes they're blue; other times they're more of a green. My pupils have a golden ring around them. I never noticed that until my husband pointed it out. Awwwww....isn't that sweet?
3. Hmmmm...Okay, there's got to be other things about this body of mine that I love...Oh, my feet. They're very tiny. I can fit into kids' shoes.
4. Just thought of something else, but it may get me into trouble considering all the fuss I seem to cause when I mention the word "breast." I don't care about the way they look and I'm certainly not talking about cleavage or anything sexy at all, but I am in awe of my breasts and the fact that they can feed my children.
5. My smile. Little Orphan Annie was right: You're never fully dressed without one.

Five things I like about my body that have nothing to do with its appearance:
1. My womb. I know I'm being unoriginal and stealing Cathy's idea, but I am so thankful for my womb and the two children it's cocooned so far.
2. My voice. I'm no future American Idol, but I can carry a tune and I've always loved what St. Augustine said about singing: "To sing is to pray twice."
3. My brain. Again, I'm stealing from Cathy. Although mental gaffes have become a little more regular since becoming a mom of little ones who don't seem to grasp that whole "sleeping through the night" idea, my mind is very important to me and I'm thankful it sometimes allows me to string together coherent thoughts.
4. My hair. I guess this does have to do with my appearance, but I've always liked my hair and have never really understood the whole "bad hair day" phenomenon. Plus, it's natural blond and changes colors with the seasons (light blond in the summer and strawberry blond in the winter) and now its color seems to change with my babies. When I'm nursing, it's much darker. Must be a hormone thing.
5. My legs. Yes, I like their appearance, but I also love how strong they are and that I can run and walk with them. These legs have chased after toddlers, ran 26.2 miles in a row, and walked all over Europe during a backpacking trip.

Now, c'mon, what do you love about your body?


*Mia Jude* said...

I love my eyes...they are very blue and my fiance never lets a day go by without telling me how beautiful they are. My smile...I just think it's cute (and of course my fiance agrees.) My feet...they are very tiny as well Kate and I also can fit into kids shoes! My hair..I have never colored my hair, and I love its brown color. I let my hair highlight naturally during the different seasons, and I enjoy the healthy shine and softness of it since it is not damaged by hair products. My eyelashes..they are naturally long and fairly dark. I don't ever wear black mascara, only clear. Even though I do sometimes complain about the size of it...I am beginning to really like my nose..it is very Italian. Non-appearance: My voice..I love to sing and I think God has given me a pretty voice. My laugh..it has a range of different sounds...from loud cackling when I think something is just hilarious, to a tiny giggle when I am being tickled or when I recieve a compliment. My brain...even though I have talked negatively about my intelligence, I do have to say, I have been through a lot with school and projects, and come out with high honors...so I will have to thank my juicy brain for that. My goofiness and sense of humor..it is what makes me the crazy fun-loving girl I can be and it is something me and my fiance have in common. I really liked this post..it made me sit down and really think about what I like about myself..and I am feeling really good right now. Thank You!!

Kate Wicker said...

Mia Jude, I'm so glad this little exercise helped you. It helped me as well and made me think of gratitude lists. Maybe I should start thinking about what I LIKE about my body more often just as I try to count my blessings on a regular basis!

God bless!

bits of myself said...

thanks to kate for pointing me in this direction. there's an image on my blog that i think fits perfectly with this post and sums up my current personal struggle.


Cathy Adamkiewicz said...

Kate, it just dawned on me that you have run a marathon. I am in awe ....
I am going to WALK a half marathon in October, but that is sounding like small potatoes now.
You rock!