The door gently shut behind your back as you made your way into the bathroom. Placing your toes on the back of the opposite tennis shoe, you slipped each heel off and shoved them under the counter. They are dirty and torn, but they take you where you need to go. You patted each pocket before removing your scrub pants and then followed suit with your top. Tossing them into the basket, you turned back toward the mirror.
Before removing your blush-colored bra, you looked at the straps. Falling off your shoulders and partially rolled, you must have given up on adjusting them by the time you arrived home. Once past the straps, you reached behind your back to unclasp the metal hooks, noticing the underwire, poorly lifting your breasts. Sweat from the car ride home made the nylon bra stick to your skin, but you delicately removed each cup before laying it on the counter. Silicone guards covered each nipple, and you gently pulled them off, placing them next to your bra. The chill of refrigerated air fanned your hot and tired body as you stood in front of the mirror.
Watching you was fascinating. Up, then down, and up again. Partial turn, then back. Peering eyes stared back toward the mirror. You touched your gut and offered a large exhale. While deciding what comfortable clothes to wear, your thoughts rose to the surface. I caught your eyes as you welcomed ambivalent feelings.
Do you like the body you live in?
We are constantly inundated with body positivity. Be kind. You only get one body. All bodies are good bodies. Don’t let your mind bully your body. Love your body. Don’t wish for a good body; work for it. You define your beauty. Beauty has nothing to do with what you look like. Love yourself as you are. Size is just a number. Become friends with your body. You don’t need to fix your body; you’re not broken. Your weight does not define your worth. Love yourself for who you are today.
In contrast to body positivity, we are flooded with reminders, both internal and external, that our body is aging. Dialogue around a woman and her body can be both encouraging and exhausting.
It is a courageous act to walk the line between body acceptance and the desire to care for our bodies.
As your body, I wanted to thank you for how you cared for me. You chose to love me today when you undressed before the mirror and studied my beauty. By allowing yourself the option to notice your thoughts instead of stuffing them down, you were open to think about the gratitude I held for you today. I hope you were able to identify the places where you offered kindness, enjoyment, and relief to the body that I am. Today I not only felt your love for me, but I believed you when you said you like me too. Let’s try that again tomorrow. We can form an alliance. You keep showing up for me, and I’ll keep showing up for you. What do you say?
Bethany Cabell, a lover of simplicity, is often inspired to write by her everyday relationships. A highly distracted procrastinator mixed with a tender-hearted feeler, she can be a little bit unpredictable on any given day. Bethany calls Texas home where she navigates the messy and beautiful path of parenting two boys with unique challenges. She loves to enjoy life in authentic spaces alongside those she holds dear.