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If I were a pet owner and my body was a pet I would have been a horribly mean and demanding owner.

Last week sometime I had a dream about me being on a bus with a character that represented me.  Turns out in the dream I really enjoyed myself and liked “me” despite the masculine and harsh appearance I embodied.  (I was a man in the dream).

The last few days have been a storm of tears and emotions.  I get it.  I’ve been stuffing and not feeling my emotions.  But what’s been coming up today is mostly emotion around my body.

What? My body you say?

But you’re thin and strong and tight.  How could you ever have any grievance with your body?

Well I do.  I for at least the last 15 years (but I think its been more like 22 years) have believed that in order to be loved and loveable I had to look a certain way.

Sure the TV and magazines reiterated this belief, but the belief originated at home.

I was 12 when I stopped gymnastics and got “chunky.”  I say chunky because I wasn’t “FAT.”  I was 135 pounds but only five foot two!

So my mom would say things to me like ” But you have such a pretty face.”  But it was really what I heard her say about herself that really informed my image of myself.  She would say things about HERSELF like “I got these big ol’ thunder thighs.  I hate all this cellulite I have.”  And the kicker… “I gotta lose just 10 more pounds.”

I understood from a very early age that a woman was NOT to fully accept herself unless she had achieved her idea of bodily perfection.  When I was 12 my brother also chimed in.  “Fat ass”.  “Fatty.”

Before this point I had never identified myself with being fat or being skinny.  I was thin and strong with a pop belly.  I was a gymnast!

So when I was 12 I got the chicken pox for a week and accidentally lost weight.  Then to keep it off I became very aware of calories and fat.  I developed these bizarre diet tricks, like chewing my food to get the taste of it and then spitting it out!  (yuck).

I grew 4 inches and by the time I was 13 I was 5’6″ and 135 pounds.  A good weight!  A size six. I was exercising to Denise Austin regularly on TV. I was exercising at school with my friends.  Finally I wasn’t fat anymore. My mom and brother were “proud” and there were no more fat comments.

I went to college this size. But by my junior year I had grown another 2 inches, fallen in and out of love, been hurt and depressed and by the time I graduated I was 5’8″ and 130 pounds.

While I was depressed and not eating much, the highlight of my existence was that I was finally “model thin”.  Everyone would love my body – right?

The model scouts did!  I was now allowed to love me too- right?

Since I got this skinny on accident, when I ditched the dead beat boyfriend and got happy again, the weight (healthy weight) started to come back.  When I got married 2 years after graduation I was 140 pounds and 5’8″.  I maintained this through exercise, counting calories and eating low fat (low taste) food.  And of course I ALWAYS wanted to lose just 5 more pounds. Sound familiar?

Back to my pet owner analogy that I started with.

I have required myself to look a certain way.  Be a certain size or else I treat me badly.

I think bad things about myself. I think “your ass is too fat!” or “uugh look at those big hips!”

I sometimes won’t even look in the mirror. And when I try to squeeze myself into my skinny jeans (which I only bought because I was depressed and accidentally skinny) I feel bad about myself all day!

I never verbalize these things, especially not with my daughter around. But I think them way too much.

I only love ME when I am as thin as I think I should be.  When I’m “over weight” by my incredibly high standards, I hate my body.  I hate a part of me!

I have always wanted others to love me unconditionally.  Mommy, Daddy, Brother, Husband love me no matter what! – PLEASE.

But I have only loved myself conditionally.

So this morning in meditation the tears flowed. I felt ashamed and guilty for treating myself this way. For expecting me (my body) to be something she’s not.

My natural build is thicker, medium and athletic. NOT “model skinny”!

I was ashamed that I had starved my body and over worked her so that she could fit into some artificially created mold of perfection.

I was in sorrow and grief as I realized that that 130 pound 20 year old may never come back.  That she is gone forever because that is not who I am.

I mourned the loss of her. I cried out apologies to myself.  I was sorry for not loving ME (my body). For not supporting ME (my body). For not accepting ME (my body).

I promised my body that I would work on releasing those negative thoughts. I told her (my body) that she was lovely that she was strong.

Part of me still wants to see if I can lose some weight and achieve a more “perfect” body.  But the loving side of me wants to just ride this and accept the healthy strong body that I have.

So I’m not writing and sharing this post with you to coerce you into doing or being anything.  I’m simply sharing my heart with you in hopes that if you took the time to read through this, then you will receive something you need from it.

The lesson for me is certainly this…..LOVE thyself like Jon Legend sings about. Love all of me. All my curves and all my edges. All my perfect imperfections. All of me!

Be blessed Mamas!