The “Too” Journey
I laid there curled in a ball, sobbing, until calm came through sleep. I woke up to shame, and cried consistently the whole next day too. Something had changed. Something was gone, that I would never get back. I had no understanding of why my body was grieving so deeply.
At age 15, I had just started my period.My body was at the very beginning of becoming, and I had already given it away. This would be the beginning of the “too” journey.
My chest is too small.
My hips are too wide.
My legs are too skinny.
My nose is too crooked.
I talk too much.
I laugh too loud.
I noticed it in every picture.
I felt it at every turn.
Am I enough?
Will I ever be enough?
At this point I was alone. Alone with my “too’s”. Just me……to love my “too’s”, except I didn’t. I believed that those “too’s” meant my worth was less. I believed that my worth lied in my body, and my face. I looked for reassurance, and that lied in relationships. It rooted firmly in attention and approval. Society teaches us that a pretty face will move mountains, a beautiful body will change our lives.
My “too” journey ended in childbirth. For some this is where the “too” journey begins.
At that moment, I wasn’t “too” anything, I was just enough.
My body nurtured and grew life.
My “too” small chest fed another human.
My “too” wide hips were cut open, sewn back together twice and I kept moving.
My “too” skinny legs carried babies and toddlers for several years
My “too” weak body balanced groceries, dogs kids and car seats every single day.
When I was young, I abused my body in whatever way I could. Alcohol, junk food, lack of exercise and an inner voice that rivaled any critic you’ve ever met. After kids, my coping skills were still young and raw, my habits still unrefined. Although I stopped the bad habits, I did not spend time creating new ones.
Until one day, I caught my 4 year old daughter watching me in the mirror.
She took it all in.
As I turned to the side and almost asked my husband “do my legs look too skinny in this”?
But her gaze created a pause.
In those eyes I saw the reflection of a young me, before the “too” journey, and I vowed my daughter wouldn’t take the first step onto that path.
In order to fill my daughters cup, I had to fill mine first. That’s just how it works.
I decided my body deserved to be on a journey of “enough”.
I decided my body deserved to be loved instead of judged.
I set about this journey with purpose and intent.
I created a mantra. I wrote in the steam on my bathroom mirror, every single day.
I stood in front of a full length mirror naked every week, and gave thanks to my body, part by part.
I hiked steep mountains, and climbed large boulders until my body felt strong.
I challenged it at every turn to see what it was capable of.
Turns out, this body is badass.
I made a choice, a choice that I would create a different path for my daughter. She will go on whatever journey she is supposed to, but it won’t be dictated by society or my inequities. Her body journey will be shrouded in a foundation of love and acceptance. Her memories will not be of her mother being “too” anything. Her memories will be of a mother who was just enough. Enough for herself, not anyone else. A mother who was able to see beauty in the mirror and feel beauty in her heart.
A mother who hopped off the “too” journey to find “enough” was much kinder.
My “enough” journey began with a pledge of mindfulness.
I share that with you now, humbly and compassionately.
Mindfulness of Body Pledge
I PLEDGE to appreciate my body by recognizing her strengths, abilities, capabilities, and her potential.
I PLEDGE to be a friend to my body by not criticizing, showing empathy when I falter, and by paying attention to her needs.
I PLEDGE to laugh as often and as loud as possible. Because it just feels good.
I PLEDGE to listen to my body by recognizing physical symptoms when experiencing overwhelming emotions.
I PLEDGE to meet my body where she is on that particular day, while pushing her to always work hard.
I PLEDGE to embrace my body’s beauty and remind her every day, not apologizing for confidence.
I PLEDGE to not make excuses, because she doesn’t need excuses.
I PLEDGE to wear whatever she feels good in, regardless of what others may think.
I PLEDGE to build in time to be still, so my body can rest, and recover every single day.
I PLEDGE to experience all that life has to offer in the skin I am in now.
I PLEDGE to not judge other people’s bodies, lest mine feel compared.
I PLEDGE to stand up to body shaming in personal conversations, and publicly.
I PLEDGE to treat my body like the badass she is, honoring, respecting and loving her every step of the way.
Get Grounded: www.groundedblog.com
Kerry Foreman MA Mindfulness Based Psychotherapist