Standing in front of the floor length mirror in our hotel room, I pulled the very form fitting red dress over my body. I turned to the side to assess the situation; seeing my profile, I contracted every muscle possible in my abdomen, took a deep breath in, gave my stomach a quick disapproving pat over the roundest part, exhaled sharply and then turned to reach for my shoes. What I didn’t realize was that my husband had seen me from the reflection in the bathroom mirror. He popped his head out of the bathroom and gently asked ‘Mer what are you doing?’
Turning in his direction, I looked at him a little confused and said ‘uh I’m putting on my shoes.’
‘No, what were you doing when you standing in front of looking in the mirror?’
That’s when I realized he’s seen the whole stomach-sucking-in saga.
Jokingly I said ‘oh just trying to suck in my gut, you can’t be taking a fat girl out in Vegas tonight babe!’
‘Mer that’s not funny’ he replied.
‘Honey I’m kidding, I don’t actually think I’m fat’ I said, responding quickly to his rebuttal.
‘Well it makes me sad when you joke about yourself that way; it’s not true and it’s not funny either.’
What I realized in that moment after twenty-six years of being a female in a skinny saturated society where anything less than perfection is not good enough is that one of the greatest gifts I can give my husband is being confident in, comfortable with & kind to my body.
If I could do that night in Las Vegas over again, I would have pulled that red dress over my body and rather that taking a second glance, assessing all the places on my body that I thought could use a little help, or making a cheap joke about my body, I would have taken my husband by the hand, pulled him close and kissed him with all the confidence of a woman who knows how dearly loved she is and how much her husband adores ever part of her.
Being confident in, comfortable with and kind to my body has not always been my strongest suit but as I have begun to see how these can be a gift to myself and to my husband, I’ve been more attentive to the ways I can change the way I live in this regard.
Being confident in the skin I’m in and the frame I was given has begun to take shape first and foremost by not saying self deprecating comments about myself. Even when I say I’m joking, there is always something in the back of my mind that whispers otherwise and I want to squelch that voice because it is not a voice that is speaking truth. Learning to embrace my body type and lean into confidence has meant buying clothes that I know flatter my shape, clothes that I like and that I look good in rather than wearing clothes just because they’re the latest trend or wearing something that, although may look amazing on someone else, doesn’t work with my shape.
Being comfortable with my body means not striving for perfection and not obsessing over my imperfections. It’s being ok with the way I am and that which I cannot change like my genetics, height, eye color and hair color. It’s looking with gratitude upon what I have been given rather then despairing over what I will never have.
Being kind to my body means giving it what it needs; eating well and exercising while taking time to for resting and playing. Being kind is not giving my body everything it wants, it’s a balance of giving it what it wants but more so, what it needs.
It’s a process not a destination to be reached.
It’s a battle and a struggle some days that is real and tiring.
But it's a journey that is worth it.
In a world where there is no such thing as ‘enough’ especially in the realm of our bodies, being confident in, comfortable with and kind to our bodies is one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves and to those who watch from the outside.