on body image // what if?

I don't normally talk much about body image on my blog because there are a lot of people out there who are far better educated than me, saying way smarter things about it. But lately it has been on my mind. 

I recently heard a few girls talking - all saying the same thing, in a way. They were talking about the holiday cookies they "should not have eaten" and the workout they "should have done" and the way they were not "skinny enough" and how they "should really be" counting their calories.

image source?

And the conversation weighed me down. It made me feel sad and heavy and tired. And it made me wonder who was setting all these dang rules? Who says they shouldn't have the cookies or take a day off from working out? Who says they should look a certain way?

And I just kept thinking, What if we stop? What if we just stopped talking about all the things we're doing wrong with our bodies and instead embraced them? What if we woke up tomorrow and instead of feeling bad about our butts and legs and stomachs and arms we just thought about how grateful we were for strong, working bodies? What if we stopped trying to look like someone else and instead fully embraced our build? 

I had this moment of clarity while listening where I thought, how silly we are, fighting the way our bodies are naturally made. 

Why are we fighting it? And not just fighting it, but punishing ourselves with restriction and negative thoughts? And then voicing them? Why are we giving power to the beast?

I wanted to ignore the whole "thigh gap" conversation because I think it's completely nutsoids, but I couldn't because it started to get to me. For my entire life, I've had strong legs. Even when I was five and started swimming and every other girl my age was walking around on beanpoles, my legs were strong. 

For a long time, I wanted to fight it. I didn't want to go to spinning or do a triathlon for fear they'd get stronger - bigger. Once I stopped fighting it, I started loving them. But you know what? That dang thigh gap trend made me feel bad. Because that's never going to be me. 

And when I was watching a Today show segment about it I thought: Golly! The whole world feels bad about this. Everyone is trying to attain something that only certain people were made to have

But what if we stop? What if instead we remind ourselves that we're meant to take up space in this world. That we don't have to be smaller and use up less land. That embracing our natural bodies is exactly the way we're made to live. What if instead we start talking about how we love our bodies just how they are? Every part of them. 

What if we embrace the bodies God gave us not because they're perfect but because they're ours? Tall and short and everything in between. Using the space we need on this earth, unafraid of being who we are fully designed to be.

I think it could be kind of beautiful.