Feeling The Love
The love I’m supposed to have for my body.
The other day I plopped down on the couch, and I heard it. The sound of my thighs slapping together. An odd, disturbing sound that made my heart sink. I was beyond mortified. I panicked and looked around, afraid that my husband heard it, too. Then I remembered he wasn’t even home.
Really? I said to myself. Is this what it has come to?
Far too many times in my life unexpected things like this, even mean and unsolicited comments from others, have held a certain power. The power to ruin perfectly good moments, perfectly good days. The power to dismantle my self esteem like it’s nothing. The power to take away all the progress I have made on this journey to self love and acceptance. The power to make me forget all the amazing things my body can do, and how it is beautiful just the way it is.
There I was, forgetting all that was good and gorgeous about me. It is so easy to do.
He came home and found me on the couch, still freaked over my thigh moment.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
I stared at the ceiling. “I’m not liking myself right now.”
“Watch Jerry Springer. That will make you feel good about yourself.”
“That won’t fix it,” I replied, barely above a whisper, my voice quaking and on the verge of tears.
If he noticed my impending onslaught of emotion, he didn’t let on. “Come on, let’s watch anyway. We’ll feel like winners after seeing whatever cast of characters he has on today.”
I appreciate my husband’s sense of humor most of the time, on this day it was no different. But sometimes watching Jerry’s guests wax poetic about trailer park love triangles, pole dances and other colorful topics still can’t distract me enough to break the funk I find myself in.
I got up, careful to avoid another thigh slap heard ’round the world, and decided to spend some time on my laptop. I did an odd thing. I found myself browsing online images of curvy, delicious, feminine bodies. Maybe it was my subconscious way of feeling better, to relate to it somehow, to find some sort of validation. Or, sadly, my subconscious way of punishing myself, to potentially leave me feeling worse. I don’t know why I did it, but knowing how I can be, my reason for doing it, I thought, was most likely the latter.
An interesting thing happened.
It was actually the former of the two possibilities. The exact opposite of what I really expected.
My keywords of choice inevitably led me to classic images of none other than Marilyn Monroe. I can’t really call myself a fan of her acting, but I always thought hers was a sad yet compelling story; and I always related to her for one reason. The thing that made her an icon.
I came across an old favorite. It wasn’t Marilyn. Instead it was Norma Jeane. Casual strawberry blonde, before the coiffed, calculated, platinum blonde bombshell persona that made her famous. I looked at it, and unbelievably I saw myself. The single roll of flesh at her waist. The healthy, average size and shape of her thighs. How her arm wasn’t super skinny, but instead healthy looking and feminine. I took in the whole image. Soft. Inviting. Real.
It was me.
This is what I look like.
And it’s beautiful.
If you look at photos over the span of her adult life and career, you will notice that her weight fluctuated sometimes, just as it does for most of us. You can also see when she was troubled, when things in her life weren’t going so well; and the good times when she was on top of the world. But it always seemed the roundness of her belly, the shape of her legs and the softness of her arms remained a constant, all of it a part of her allure, which has remained with us all this time, fifty years since she left us.
If I can look at these photos and see a womanly beauty, then I must see it in myself.
This is me.
A somewhat slender waist with the right amount of softness.
My backside of delicious curves.
Ample legs that get me places.
A come hither smile.
No matter what, to someone we are perfect. In my world, I am married to that someone. I just need to work on knowing it in my dark moments, when a fat day creeps up on me. I need to feel it on my own, for myself.
Today is a good day. I am loving what I have. There will be days when the love isn’t there, and on those days I will seek out my inspiration. Marilyn, or Norma Jeane. Or any one of the millions of other beautiful women who look like me.
But today is today. I don’t need any help.
I choose love.