I was still thinking about that meme when I went clothes shopping this past Saturday afternoon. Just know that I'd rather go to the dentist than shop for clothes. I don't have a full length mirror at home and God knows I sure wouldn't be undressing in front of it if I did. But on Saturday I stood in front of one and took stock. Thighs the size of what my waist once was. A belly as big as when I was nine months pregnant. And all those dimples so far from my face were not a pretty sight. I stood there feeling disgusted with myself. I tried to just accept what was, reminding myself that I'm dealing with the food issues in my life. Or rather with the issues that masquerade as food issues and as a consequence, my fat body. After 26 years of yo yo dieting I no longer have a diet head mentality. I celebrate that. I do have more calm and peace than when I was still bingeing my way through life. Yet I stood there knowing I'd rather be dealing with all that from within a thinner body. The body, that when I'm in it, feels comfortable, like it fits yet screams at me for protection because its thinner self awakens so much sexual baggage. Baggage that lies and says my worth rests in what I have to offer sexually.
I blocked all those messages from my head and prayed "Help me be content even if I never get to see a thinner me reflected in a dressing room mirror". It's just as futile to think we'd love ourselves more if we stopped sinning as it is to think we'd love ourselves more if we were thinner. If I'm going to live this journey one day at a time I want to love myself now. It's easy to talk about the unconditional love of God for others. So hard, at times, to believe it for myself.
Before I went shopping on Saturday I went to my AA meeting. I asked God to help me open my spirit wide to receive the gift of story happening in the room. Stories of gratitude to anger and tears were shared and I felt blessed to be there. I don't think I've ever left a meeting without a renewed sense of hope for the journey. Without having witnessed a living testimony of what it looks like to rest in the unconditional love of God.
Yesterday at church I prayed for the grace to open my spirit wide to what God might have to say to me. I was still stewing over my disgust at my body and while Jesus may never have been fat, I know he understands what self loathing can do to a person. How crippling it can be. How it can spiral out of control and lead to destructive behaviour. I celebrate nearly 12 weeks of abstinence from sexual addiction today so God help me not numb myself into oblivion. Help me not seek that which will bring release from self loathing only to add to it when the numbing effect wears off. Help me accept where I am on the journey, disgust and all.
During the scripture readings yesterday, this line jumped out at me:
"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain." ~1 Corinthians 15:10I rolled those words around in my mouth like a sip of good wine. Sometime during the Mass I realized the disgust I felt about my body had been superseded by how beautiful I felt in my spirit. I don't know if I looked radiant on the outside but boy did I feel it inside. Moments like that are pure gift. I whispered to God, "I feel beautiful." And I knew what I really wanted was the beauty that radiates from a countenance that speaks of God's blush of grace.
You know how a person empties the pockets on their clothes before washing? Some days I feel like I'm collecting all those little bits of lint and paper like a bag of confetti....each bit a remembrance of the graced moments in my life. One day I'm going to the other side and I see myself reaching in my pocket and leaving a trail of graced confetti as I go.
So where does that leave me today? I'd still rather experience those moments from a body that was 80 pounds lighter. I doubt I'll care on my death bed what the scale says. I do know I care in this life though. I still can't come up with a list of 5 things I love about my body. But the hope lies in that I don't stay stuck in the self loathing when it hits me these days. I don't numb myself into oblivion trying to escape it. I don't do any of these things perfectly and for today I can rest in that. The grace of God meets us where we are. And how thankful I am that I don't have to be thinner, or prettier, or smarter, or sinless first.