On attaching memories to your body size, one of my favorite books, and how your body is your home.
Hello from Oregon! I’m back home for four glorious weeks of break. While I’m so glad to be home, I also think I’ll be ready to head back to school come January. In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying having a Vitamix on hand, not having to trek across campus in the snow to practice violin, and snuggling my puppy.
This post is something of a follow-up to the post I wrote last week (read it here!). It’s also me just checking in, because I feel like I’ve been rather disconnected from the blog world during the last few weeks. Finals and travel will do that to ya, I guess. Anyways, this topic is something that’s been on my mind for a while and I wanted to get my thoughts out and hear your thoughts on the matter.
The subject is this: how do we find a balance between realizing and accepting that our bodies change all the time, and understanding that nevertheless, our bodies remain our homes. No matter what changes they go through.
In the last post, we chatted about better pants. And how acquiring better pants is necessary when your body changes. In thinking about that, I tried to figure out why I was so opposed to my body changing. Like, I know this happens. It’s what’s supposed to happen as I go through life. And this is what I realized. I realized I wasn’t holding on to my old size because I was afraid of gaining weight. It was because I had attached events and feelings to my body size.
That sounds a little out there. Let me explain.
Do you have a favorite outfit? I have several, and almost all of them are my favorite because I wore them to an event, or on some particularly good day. The memories surrounding the outfit made the outfit my favorite. It was the same thing with my body. I, without realizing it, attached positive memories and feelings to when my body was a certain size. So I was attached to that size for sentimental reasons.
And of course, that can perpetuate itself. It’s a chicken or egg situation. Do you feel good about yourself because your body is a certain size? Because you’ve imbibed the thin-positive messages of our society? And then from that, do you then associate those positive feelings with your body size? Do you feel bad about yourself because your body is a certain size and then associate negative feelings with that body size?
For me, I felt reluctant to let my body change because so many good things happened while it was at the size it was. Without realizing it, I feared that if I went up a size in jeans, those good things and feelings would disappear. Disappear and be replaced with negative ones.
If this is the case for you, as it was for me, it might be helpful to remember this one truth: your body is your home. This summer I read a book called This is Where You Belong. (I know, I know, this is only the 767th time I’ve mentioned it here.) It made think about what home means. Home can’t–or it shouldn’t–be a conditional place. This is my home when things are going well. My home is here when the weather is nice. This will be my home when I have Anthropologie pillows on the sofa. No, we need a home to be a home unconditionally. Our home. No matter what. So a home may not be a house. It might not be a town, or a state, or a country. Heartbreakingly, it might not even be your family.
It’s the same with our bodies. Our bodies are our homes. Your body needs to be that for you, unconditionally. Independent of whether you go up or down a dress size. Not tied to whether you gain weight, or you ability/inability to run a marathon. Regardless of the good and the bad, your body is the home you were given. My body is the home I was given. We experience the good and the bad in and through our bodies. It’s sort of magical, really. And of course, not always easy.
My hope for you is that if you, like me, have had times where you think about your body as a home only conditionally, you begin to see it as your home unconditionally.
As alway, I love love love to hear from you. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Linking up with Amanda for Thinking out Loud!