I thought my body image issues were over ... then this happened.
It was a confluence of things that brought me face to face with the body image demons I thought I’d laid to rest years ago.
It started in January when I developed bursitis in both elbows (a result of repeatedly punching the sh*t out of things (and people) in Krav Maga) and, under doctor’s orders, stopped training.
A week later I met a man. A wonderful, mind-blowing man and quickly moved him into the time previously allotted for the gym. So I went from working out, to chilling out. Wining, dining, spending lazy mornings in bed.
You know, having LOTS of fun.
For months I reveled in this new romance goodness until, about a 4 weeks ago, I noticed my belly inching over the sides of my jeans.
Now, I wish I could tell you my growing love handles didn’t bother me. But the truth is, though I didn’t freak out and go on some crazy, no-fat, no-carb diet like I would have years ago, I definitely harbored fantasies of telling new dude that we couldn’t eat out anymore and had to cut back on the drinking and dessert.
I didn’t see myself as hating this new romance body. I just wanted her to be different. I wanted to keep the romance and go back to my pre-dating body. That’s doable, right?
And it was in this “I can’t let him feed me chocolate in bed any more” mindset that I found myself weeping in dance class last Saturday morning.
The instructor was leading us through a thumping Afro-Cuban song with a fast-paced beat. We were already sweating, dancing hard and as the beat built to a crescendo, she undid her bun, whipping her head left and right to set her long black hair free and shouted, “I want you to be BIG, ladies. Feel the beat in your bones. Make the moves, make your body BIG. BIG. BIG.”
And BIG we became. We raised our arms, stretching them out wide, elbows extended and taut. We jumped from side to side, pumping ours shoulders up and down, taking up as much space as possible. We tossed our hair, shouted to the sky and let our bodies give more than we thought they could.
And with my big dance came big tears as I realized how desperately I’d been trying to make myself small, to shrink my body and deny the love that had brought it to this new place.
As the tears fell from my face, music still blaring, body still dancing, I saw how I’d spent the last month yearning for the smaller body that came with a smaller time in my life. A good time no doubt, a healing time and one that was hermit-like, insular, focused only on me.
And now fate had dropped the big dance, the big love I’d secretly asked for right in my lap, as if to say, “You want it? You got it. Step up, girl.”
In that moment I knew I could either accept the bigness and all that meant for my body, heart and soul or try to shrink and squeeze myself back into a time that felt safe and known. A time I was already too big for.
MORAL OF THE STORY…
We cannot go back to a body or time we’ve grown past.
When we ask for more in our lives, when we get present with wanting a big impact, big rest, big understanding, BIG LOVE, we must find the courage to embrace it. We must also roll with the changes that arrive to make space for the bigness that’s now here.
So today, I’m embracing my new, bigger body.
Yes, she’s softer and can’t sprint as fast. She jiggles a bit more too.
Her heart is also more open, her desires more steady, her intuition more on point than any other body I’ve had.
I choose to get present with this new body, to be BIG in her and let her newly expanded form be a reflection of the growing love I have in all areas of my life.
So, do me favor. When bigness shows up in your life, don’t shrink.
Don’t wish to be smaller, wish to go back, wish to squeeze yourself into an old body you think is better.
Don’t wish for what was. You’ve already been there, done that.
Rather, how can you enjoy what’s here now? How can you take up more space, be fully seen in the body and time you currently inhabit?
For me, I’m going to let my body make big moves.
DANCE BIG. LAUGH BIG. SHARE BIG. LOVE BIG.
And if I’m doing all this in a bigger jeans size, then I’ll rock those jeans big time too.
All of my love,