I had a great massage on Saturday.
I love massages. I rarely get them, but I love that hour when I do. I always think the same thing when I’m getting a massage: my hips and thighs and every other inch of my body that I criticize must love this time. Those moments are the only few out of my life they receive some unconditional lovin’. That may be the only time my “problem areas” relax without judgment and without being battleground #1. The rest of the time I am weighing and measuring and eating and starving and exercising and “taking a break” and criticizing and turning the lights down and finding extra-strength Spanx.
If you are new to this community, you may have missed the posts on my annual battles with weight. This is my heavy year. Last year was my slim year. I work really hard and get in shape and eat only the right things and then just get worn out from the never ending effort it takes to keep my body in a modicum of appropriateness and I take a “break.” After, generally, a year or so break, I get so fed up with the fact that I am out of shape and gained 20 pounds, I start all over again. I realize this is a terrible cycle. I understand the negative health impacts this has on my long-term healthfulness. Yet, I still have three sizes of clothes in my closet. That rule that if you haven’t worn it in a year give it away would be a terrible one for me to follow because I would constantly be buying new wardrobes (or go naked, which in a heavy year wouldn’t be pretty, heck I’ve had triplets, there is no year in which that would be pretty).
In Tina Fey’s very funny book, Bossypants, she has these two short chapters on remembrances of being very skinny and remembrances of being a little bit fat. At the end of the very skinny chapter she says, “We should leave people alone about their weight. Being skinny for a while (provided you actually eat food and don’t take pills or smoke to get there) is a perfectly fine pastime. Everyone should try it once…” And then at the end of the little bit fat chapter she says, “We should leave people alone about their weight. Being chubby for a while (provided you don’t give yourself diabetes) is a natural phase of life and nothing to be ashamed of…”
It made me laugh. Not much of the commentary out there about weight makes me laugh.
The reality is that I am in a constant battle with my body. Sometimes rightly so. Regardless, my body is a gift. I can walk. I can see. I can speak. I can hear. I can lift children. I can drive a car. I can kiss the man I love and feel him wrap me in a hug. I can chase my kids down the driveway. My body is a gift. I should treat it better at times. I should exercise more frequently in my “break periods.” I should eat more healthfully in my rebellious months. But even when I am not a size 8 and things move where I wish they wouldn’t (and other things don’t move where I wish they would), couldn’t I still love my body? A masseuse once a year should not be the only one to be kind to my hips, my legs, my arms, my feet. A massage shouldn’t be the only retreat from the battlefield.
Ann Voskamp, my favorite author writing today, authored a post Friday that prepared my mind to receive the blessing of the massage Saturday. And to think about my body battles. I leave you with her words. Entitled What Women Need to Say to Each Other, she shared these gems, among others (and I encourage you to read the entire beautiful post):
The curve of a smile is a woman’s most perfect curve
and the only tag that matters is the one that says
Robed in the Righteousness of Christ.
It may not be easy to be a woman in this world.
But it is always perfect to be a woman in His hand.
Every woman should breathe peace in her own exquisite skin.