I love you. I accept you.*

Some humans are dissatisfied with their bodies. They pick, poke, and prod areas of their bodies that they deem to be lesser than other areas of their bodies or lesser compared to an area or body part of another human. They wish to have attributes of some other human.

Me? Other than my acne-scarred face and the spider veins on my left thigh, I’m pretty accepting of the way my body is. Yep, I’ve got all the usual – the cellulite on my thighs, stretch marks on my hips, jiggly spots, wiggly spots, and scars spotting and streaking various places. I’m also pale and dotted with moles. And yet somehow I’m still able to stand in the buff in front of the mirror and say “You look good! You look goooood!!!”

Even after a previous boyfriend consistently and openly criticized my lack of boobs, I didn’t become insecure. I became angry towards that human being for treating me in such a sucky manner. In fact, he was a motivating factor when I ditched wired/padded/shaped bras for the more natural shape of bralettes and bra-less-ness. If he wanted me to be something I wasn’t then he was going to get me as true to myself as possible.

To be fair, when it comes to my physical appearance I don’t have much to complain about since the worst thing that has happened to me so far was my multi-year bout with cystic acne during college. And I came out of that phase with minimal damage other than a dislike of concealer and foundation and an intense empathy for any random human I see who struggles with acne. Turns out intense stress can cause your face to break out into a plague. Who knew, right?

And now random people from my past will pull me aside to tell me “how beautiful” my face looks now that my acne is gone. They mean well – they really do.

No, my issue, gentle reader, is that I cannot accept that my body does not FEEL the way I want it to feel, BEHAVE the way I want it to behave, or PERFORM at the level I want it to perform.

Last month I flew halfway across the US to Denver, Colorado to spend the weekend with my boyfriend. After landing, I took the train downtown, he met me at the train station, and whisked me away to his favorite vegan restaurant where we stuffed our faces with elaborately decorated appetizers and the most legit seitan Cuban sandwiches on the planet. The food was excitingly sweet, salty, spicy, and tangy all in one – it was perfection. It was also the recipe for a perfect storm when it came to my digestive system.

Between the hiatal hernia, the GERD, and that crook of colon that one day decided it wanted to be next to my stomach… my digestive system isn’t exactly…a well-oiled machine. But I wanted to enjoy myself, so I swallowed my PPI medication from the doc and ate what I wanted.

That night I could have sworn that my stomach was trying to digest itself. Right then and there I was seriously considering whether my stomach was bleeding and whether I needed to go to the hospital. All I wanted was a nice night in Denver with delicious food and my boy.

Body, you let me down.

I cursed at my body. I wished I had a different body. One not so pathetic and broken down.

Back in November 2018 I was really getting back into a yoga routine. I was stressed by the move and the job search and was longing to feel strong again, so I cracked out my old routines and scrounged up some YouTubes of my favorite yogis online. For weeks I stretched, balanced, and breathed. I thought I was making some good progress – at least until I woke up one night in November to a radiating pain in my hips and legs.

{Backstory} You see, back when I was a kiddo living in Europe I went on a day trip to the coast of Sweden with my family and some friends. Anyone who has ever visited the coast of Sweden knows that little (if any) of the coast is lined with sand. Mostly the coast is packed with rock formations/boulders that lead you straight into the sea.

Rocky western coast of Sweden during the summertime. The sun is shining and you can see the feet of two sunbathers at the bottom of the photo.
Swedish coastline – Summer 2018

Well, I was somewhere around age 11. I didn’t have a pair of shoes for the water so I borrowed a pair of flip flops from a friend. I walked out on one of the wet rocks and BAM. My feet went out from under me and my hiney slammed into the boulder I was standing on.

I can still remember that pain to this day. It rocked my world. Literally, haha. It was such an intense stabbing pain that radiated through my entire body. I remember being unable to get up. I kinda had to roll onto my stomach and crawl away from the edge. The really sucky part of the story is that I had to walk 7 miles back to the car with a fractured – now fishhooked – tailbone and a ripped/damaged sacroiliac joint. My back has never really been the same since then.

When asked the hypothetical question of whether I would go back to the age of 6 with the knowledge I have now OR go forward to the age of 50 with 3 million in the bank, I emphatically replied “go back to age SIX.” Over the years with every new doctor or therapist I visited all I ever wanted was to go back to the way I was before I fell. Every moment my leg was numb I wanted to go back and do things differently. Every time I had to pace around because the back pain was unbearable I wished that day at the beach had never happened.

Body, you let me down.

I cursed at my body. I wished I had a different body. One not so pathetic and broken down.

But I found a new normal through years of various therapies. I was finally feeling like a new human by the time January 2018 rolled around. Then I decided to do something fun (foolish). On January 4, 2018 (yes, I remember the exact date. I also have video proof) I decided to go sledding with some of the girls from work after a heavy snow. The boss’ kid had constructed a RAMP at the bottom of a HILL and I THOUGHT it would be a GOOD idea to go OVER said ramp. So there we were – me and a girl from work – barreling down a steep hill on a foam sled. What goes up must come down. We went over that ramp and down down down straight onto our behinds.

I landed with a thud and a pop. The following Monday (via X-ray) I would discover that I my formerly fishhooked and pushed-to-the-left tailbone had been violently re-alined by the fall. The tailbone would be fine, no pieces were missing or anything, but that there would be repercussions for moving it so violently after a 14–year-old injury. These kinds of injuries tend to cause a domino affect in the spine, so there would most likely be neck pain.

The freaking neck pain. This was the can’t eat, can’t sleep, lay down and cry kind of neck pain that could not be relieved by pain killers or doctors.

Body, you let me down.

I cursed at my body. I wished I had a different body. One not so pathetic and broken down.

Flash forward to November 2018. By now I thought I was past all of this body drama. My lower back area and hips had improved since the day of the Boulder Battle of Swedish Coast as had my neck pain since the sledding mishap (thank the heavens for PT’s). The sleep-stealing pain in my hips and legs could only mean one thing – BONE CANCER. So I called the doctor that morning in November and announced that I thought I had bone cancer and needed to be seen. He asked me why I thought I had bone cancer. I said because the pain was terrible and doctors say there is nothing wrong with me but they haven’t yet tested me for bone cancer; therefore, it must be bone cancer.

Turns out I won’t be dying from cancer (yet), but because of my overly mobile joints I need to be more mindful of the way I exercise my body. Apparently my extended time in pigeon, bound pigeon, and king pigeon were pushing my joints to their limit. The standing at work, long walks, and the intense stretching sessions that I was putting my legs through ultimately caused excessive inflammation in my hips and legs…which caused the severe pain. An exercise-induced complication from the hypermobile joint syndrome I mentioned in Anxious Bodies. They gave me a shot in my butt and told me to see a specialist for the joint pain.

Body you let me down.

I cursed at my body. I wished I had a different body. One not so pathetic and broken down.

To say that I was frustrated with my body when I opened my mail last week and discovered that my 3 minute thyroid ultrasound had cost me $1,300 (and at a discount, no less!). Frustrated was an understatement. Actually, I cried about it.

A simple neck palpation during a checkup revealed a movable lump somewhere along my esophagus, so naturally they sent me to the local hospital for a simple ultrasound to check things out. Naive me, decided that there was NO way that a simple ultrasound could cost more than a couple hundred dollars. And I needed to get the lump checked out just to be safe, right?

So there I was, lying on an exam table with warm gel on my neck when the ultrasound tech asks me why I came in for a diagnostic today. “They found a lump,” I chirp. “Hm,” she says as she sweeps the wand up and down my neck. “And where did your doctor find this lump?” I detect some suspicion in her voice, so I gingerly point to the lump. It’s oblong and about midway down from my chin. She laughs and says that my thyroid is “way down here” and places the wand near my collarbone.

$1,300 later and I have a really expensive, non-descript lump in my neck.

Body, you let me down. And, Healthcare System, you suck.

I cursed at my body. I wished I had a different body. One not so pathetic and broken down.

It hurts my feelings when people make comments about my frequent or on-going health issues. “Do you think I want to be like this??” I snap. “It’s my stupid body. It lets me down.” I have a strong mind, but a weak body. It wants me to fail. These are the things I tell myself.

I bet other humans tell themselves these same things about their bodies. Body, if only you were smaller, bigger, prettier, smarter, stronger, healthier, less anxious, happier, in less pain… You name it. You make your own list.

Body, if only you were SOMETHING ELSE. Then. Then I could be the person I was supposed to be. Then I could be happy.

The stories about my random health issues might seem dramatic at best and perhaps even a display of self sabotage (like why was I eating spicy food when I know I have GERD?), but anyone who has ever suffered from an insecurity (let’s not even make this a health issue) of ANY kind knows that humans don’t always do what is best. We have good days and bad days. We take care of ourselves and sometimes we get discouraged and we…don’t take care of ourselves.

Anxious Bodies was a word vomit of my thoughts on my anxiety’s effect on my physical body. I am no doctor, but I am at the mental state where I am beginning to accept that no medical doctor is going to improve my health. Actually, their bills are causing me more physical harm from the stress of paying for them.

One of my main goals for my time with my new therapist is to learn a way to love and accept my body the way that it is. I want to be someone who loves themselves, not in spite of the weaknesses and health issues, but because of the weaknesses and health issues because that is to be human.

A wise woman once reminded me that you cannot hate someone or something into a better place. No amount of hate is going to get you or anyone else into a better place physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. As I learn to love and accept my body right now in this very moment it is my hope that my health will in turn improve from the positive, loving space that I am holding for it.

I enjoy affirmations, so I stand in the mirror and I say to myself: I love you. I accept you.

I love you means: I want what is best for you, body, – unconditionally. Even though you are not perfect and even though you break down, you are my body and I want what is best for you no matter what. No matter what other people’s bodies are doing or not doing. You are my body and that is enough for me.

I accept you means: I want you right where you are. Right this moment. I want you broken and sad and anxious and imperfect and all of the things that you see as negative. I want all of these things because I want all of you – the ups and the downs. The good and the bad.

Thanks to a friend and Instagram I connected with a beloved artist on the island of Kauai. Together we drew a tattoo of a pineapple – half realistic and half geometric. It’s 4 inches tall from its base to the tip of its crown. It’s a legit tattoo, and I love it obsessively.

Pineapples are a symbol of friendship and hospitality. A symbol of warmth, affection, and good cheer between all who dwell in the home. Some have said that pineapples are the universal way of saying, “Welcome. You are perfect.” Pineapples also take a ridiculous amount of work to grow (which I learned after my time on a pineapple plantation). To me my tattoo is about my relationship with myself. It’s about having a warm, affectionate relationship with the being God made. And having that relationship and staying true to myself is always going be a journey with hard work along the way.

As is the theme with every other post on this blog, I have no idea what I am doing. I make it up as I go along. And I write random things about the journey.

May you have inner peace and pineapples,

XO,

Unsteady Girl

*In honor of the start of National Eating Disorder Awareness week, I write this. I want you to know that I see you, and I hear you. And I love and accept you and your mind and your body as you are right this moment.

4 thoughts on “I love you. I accept you.*

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s