I’ve decided I don’t want a body that lies. I’m going to embrace a body that tells the truth.
I want a body that tells the truth about what it looks like to be a woman. I want a body that shows what it really looks like to be a mother, an athlete, a wife, a person with some wisdom and perspective.
I carry extra weight around my hips and have stretch marks from carrying two baby girls. My left bicep is more defined than my right bicep. That’s from packing an infant on my hip, allowing my dominant hand to scramble eggs, write grocery lists, and brush teeth.
I sway, even when I’m not holding a child.
My body sways, ever so slightly, while standing at the microwave in the breakroom or waiting in line at self-check-out. That extra weight and side-to-side rock are dead giveaways that I’m a young mom.
In my younger years, I was a competitive college athlete, and while those days seem like a lifetime ago, I still have calloused fingers from 10 years of pitching as a softball player. My thighs are still thick from squatting every day after business statistics. I’m built like a softball player, not a dancer, not a runner—a softball player—and that’s the story my body tells.
I have a little scar on my left eyebrow. I banged in on the TV stand during Super Bowl XXXIV. My dad waited until halftime to take me to Urgent Care for stitches.
From time to time, my desire for facial symmetry creeps in, and I stand in front of the hall mirror and wonder how much it would cost to fix that scar. And then I remember, that scar tells a story about my childhood. It’s a reminder that I played and got dirty as a kid. I’ll keep it.
It’s the truth about me and my body.
I have freckles on my face and neck and arms because I’m a redhead, and I’ve never tanned a day in my life. Of course, I could get a tan in a bottle, and a new hair color is only three hours away. But people really should be warned, I’m a little feisty—the hair lets them know. A brunette version of me? Might be a little misleading, and I’m opting to be a straight shooter.
I’m starting to get some lines on my forehead that crease when I’m stressed out. I’ve been sunburned from days on the lake without proper sunscreen. My teeth are slightly discolored, and I have dark circles under my eyes.
And, yes, it’s a little disheartening. But why? Because I don’t look like a Bratz doll? Because I look like I’ve mothered children and answered late-night phone calls, and fought for my place in this crazy world?
Every day the world lets me know that my body isn’t allowed to tell the truth.
The world doesn’t want to know what my body has done. It wants my body to lie about the sacrifices it has made, the work it’s put in, and the places it has been.
The world would prefer I didn’t age, didn’t show signs of strength or motherhood. It would prefer I erase all signs of wisdom or struggle. It would prefer I show no signs of joy or playfulness or early mornings or overwhelm.
And the world can have its opinions about my body, it can expect my body to lie, it can expect perfection. But my idea of perfect is honesty.