It isn't just strength, Dana. So many things build in layers.
New ideas go something like this for me. I think something may be true. And then I entertain it. And then I marinate in it. And then I let it swim around in my head and see if it makes sense with the rest of my beliefs. And then I think I believe it. And then I know it but am not sure I can translate it into feeling it. And then BOOM. There it is.
I think this is how body acceptance has happened for me. I don't know where it started, but way back when I was running on the regular, I knew I had an atypical body shape for a runner. But I ran anyway. When I started yoga, I knew I didn't look like anyone in a yoga magazine. But I did yoga anyway. I helped my clients process their body worries and built routines and habits based on strengths and joy, but I still found comfort in calorie counting sometimes. I removed all the clothes from my closet that don't fit. I cut bangs because - and only because - I love them. I started to actually enjoy watching my own yoga videos. All of this made sense on a logical level, but emotionally? That process continues.
But I feel like I made a huge step the other night. Out of the blue and to my total surprise.
I got home from work around midnight. I woke Nathan up from the couch and we went to bed. I cozied up to him in my spot with his arm around me. As his breath slowed and deepened, I started thinking about how perfectly our bodies match who we are.
He is lean and solid. He is unwavering and predictable and just, you know, solid.
I am softer. I have a few more surprises. I'm a more mushy and I give easier and I'm just, you know, softer.
In that moment, my view of my belly changed. It wasn't something that I tolerate, it became something I have fondness for because it represents who I am. I poked and squeezed and thought, "Yup. I'm squishy. I'm pliable. I am soft. That is me."
This realization shook me in the way I imagine a wet dog feels after a good shake. Once stillness came back, everything felt like it landed in just the right place. And it took everything I had not to wake Nathan up and tell him all about it.
So, instead, I'm telling all y'all.