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If Pink is obese, the world needs to reverse its orbit in search of a better atmosphere. If this Instagram world is so toxic to our systems that to weigh 160 pounds at 5’3” is shocking, then we need more revolutionary Pinks out there to overload the system. We need, literally, to throw our weight behind messages of hope and power in authenticity. We need to use our bodies for what they were originally intended—to live. Pink’s picture of her sweaty, non-made up self in the gym has received over 200,000 likes. Her call to arms to forget the numbers and choose to inhabit and love your body has garnered thousands upon thousands of us who believe in mind over matter.

My daughter jiggled my leg the other day in a place it didn’t used to jiggle and it got me thinking about the benefits of jiggling, the benefits to a little more padding in the middle decades of life. The thoughts could have gone another way. For years in high school, despite living in the era that rocked overalls and over-sized sweatshirts, I waged war on the jiggle. It was not a life. Blessedly, college and living on my own and then marriage got me over it. I had more important things to worry about, like paying bills and cohabitating with an X-Y chromosome.

And then I had twins, born two months early. They were all spindly limbs and big sleepy eyes. Weeks after their birth the pregnancy app on my phone was still telling me they were the size of large spaghetti squash and to keep up with the whole fat dairy. And then I updated the app. Suddenly, the internet knew I had delivered tiny humans and the message became clear: you better eat those veggies and trim the fat, or else. I’m not sure what the “else” entailed, but it didn’t sound good. I deleted the app (almost) immediately. It still took a lot of pep talks in the mirror and deep-breathing while examining my post-natal self. But these moments were necessary. I was now a mother to two tiny, fragile people who needed me to be strong for them when they could not. They needed me to get over my hang ups so that all that brain power could be re-wired and diverted to the greatest energy source: mothering.

Taking up more physical space in this world was hard. It means waving goodbye to public standards of perfection. It means letting go of a you that could win nods of approval in your “amazing transformation.” It means letting the transformations happen on the inside, in your head and your heart, where no one else can see. We are meant to soften. We are meant to wrinkle. We are meant to inhabit bodies that show the wear and tear of years hard-won and well-lived.

When my daughter grabbed my leg, she looked—triumphant. Like she had run all the bases and finally touched home. That’s what we need to be for our girls, a home base, solid and steady. We need to feel, like Pink, that we are more than numbers and ratios. We are not math equations mapped out by others. As a mom raising a girl in this photo-shopped world, all I wish for my daughter is this: to wield the power to let her body be what it was designed to be, a vessel for caring for herself and the ones she loves so that she can live the strongest, happiest, healthiest version of herself. Because I agree with Pink. It doesn’t matter what the numbers read, as long as you can say at the end of the day that “the only thing I’m feeling is myself.”

Feature image via Instagram

Jamie Sumner

Jamie Sumner is the author of the middle-grade novel, Roll with It. Her second and third middle-grade novels with Atheneum Books for Young Readers will be coming out in 2020 and 2021. She is also the author of the nonfiction book on motherhood, Unboundand the forthcoming bookEat, Sleep, Save the Worldfor parents of children with special needs. She is also mom to a son with cerebral palsy and she writes and speaks about disability in literature. She loves stories that celebrate the grit and beauty in all kids. She and her family live in Nashville, Tennessee. Connect with her at Jamie-Sumner.com   

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