“I am endlessly stumbling into the pit of false perfectionism and self-defeat, but it no longer tarnishes the heart of my tale like it used to.”
Do you remember the movie Up? There’s a memorable scene where the old man’s house floats away, suspended by a colorful myriad of balloons. That moment perfectly exemplifies the experience of penning my love letter to my body this past summer.
It felt as though every painful comment, jabbing remark and countless moment spent scrutinizing that extra bit here, the saggy bit there, was delicately tied to a carefree, bobbing balloon.
I imagine mine were a brilliant and bold yellow–a golden sea of them–stretching for miles and miles. The moment my letter became public, they soared, filling the vast open sky, effortlessly lifting my mansion-sized baggage.
And as your gorgeous offerings poured in—rich crimson, brilliant fuchsia and airy blue—they too were released, in every sense of the word, alongside mine to the horizon.
With a holy breath all the hate and pain and pressure floated away. My burden-crushing moments of before became light. As I watched years of self-inflicted wounds become a distant speck, my shoulders relaxed. I exhaled deeply.
Then I turned around.
And there stood a beautifully rendered blank canvas. Spotless. Untouched. Begging for a new story. One I had never considered before: a sweeping romance.
And so I accepted the invitation. Once more, I took up the brush.
Rewriting the Story
I am rewriting this story. But this time I am choosing my words with care. I am tentatively threading grace where there was once only lies and despair.
There is still struggle. There is temptation to strike out my awkwardly-formed proclamations of admiration, to replace this unfamiliar acceptance with the biting criticism I am so practiced in. If only I could rise each morning with David’s words on my lips:
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
~ Psalm 139
But my story often gets lost in scathing paragraphs of reproach. In full chapters spewing off rigid measures and itemized comparisons. Even after years of the same tired insults, they still feel fresh. They still cut deep.
And once that ugly barrage of words begins to build up, it’s like a tidal wave rising so far above me, I become as powerless as a flimsy dingy against it. So I allow it to thunder down towards me as I cower, taking the blow, my pen involuntarily etching across the page.
Rooted in Truth
I am endlessly stumbling into the pit of false perfectionism and self-defeat, but it no longer tarnishes the heart of my tale like it used to. Because this story is now rooted in truth—the truth that my Creator sings over me, that He has been singing over me since before I took my first breath. I had smothered out His song completely.
But as my sunshine-coloured baggage fluttered out of sight, I heard a faint melody. Beautiful and strange and soaring all at once. Sometimes I can barely make it out. But oh the moments I feel it envelop me! When I steal a glimpse of my form, cellulite and all, through His eyes. And I hear Him rhapsodize over the flawless details, the thoughtful intricacies of His most precious creation.
In those spaces, I am confident that I am indeed penning a romance.
A fickle one, yes.
A messy one, undoubtedly.
But a romance nonetheless.
Then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.
Dear Sheloves sisters, so many of you took part in our Love Letter to my Body synchroblog this summer and wrote a love letter to your body. I’d love to know how that experience has shaped you:
- Have you written a love letter to your body? If not, what is holding you back?
- What was the most difficult thing about writing your letter?
- Has the experience changed your relationship with your body?
- Any other thoughts?
My name is Megan, but I prefer Meg or Megs. I love thick books, scalding soaks in the tub and breaking out into song. I don’t share desserts. Ever. After working in fitness for the past ten years, I am currently fumbling through my first year of motherhood with the sweetest little boy ever. Discussing body image, Jesus and proper push-up techniques gets me excited. I blog about whatever tickles my fancy here.
Image credit: Flickr.com (Creative Commons licensing)