Your Best Body
I just ordered a bra.
I didn’t bargain for this. But, like everything I suppose, one event leads to another. Our conversation might have happened anyway. But by then, the damage may have already been done, so it was a blessing really.
The blessing was this:
Oh Self. How I used to love you. While I was 21 years old at the Indiana University SRSC, you convinced me it was sane to leave a puddle of sweat at the foot of the Stairmaster. You told me which alcoholic beverage was the better choice – hello? white wine obviously wins over the margarita (200 calories saved) – like I wasn’t just going to drink whatever light beer was on special that night. Such a great resource, seriously.
But I’m 39 now. There is no time for magazine reading and when there is, it’s not going to be Self. I mean, come on. I’m married. I’ve got him locked down. I no longer need to know about oxygen shots or ice therapy (whatever that is…thank God I don’t have to give precious brain space to all.of.that.).
But I ordered a bra online and -surprise!- I received a free subscription to Self with my order. And as it turns out, so much more.
My 10 year old loves to get the mail. It’s seriously a highlight for her. And since I’m busy reading Outlander for the third time cleaning the bathrooms, I let her relish in that mail-getting. Until the gem above arrived. I found it sitting on the kitchen table, both girls looking at the cover. And then, “Mom, is this yours? ‘Best Bodies in the World’…why do you want to know about that?”
Hmmm, good question, baby. The answer is I don’t. But let’s back the train up and have an open dialogue about this. Blank stares, followed by, “What’s a dialogue?”. Okay, scratch that, let’s stay on track and talk about what you see.
So, what is it you see? A girl, a mention of her ‘dream body’, and letters shouting at us about the ‘Best Bodies in the World’. So it’s about our bodies. Okay, what do you think is awesome about your body, babe? Blank stares. Okay, let me give you a hint. Today we took a run around campus and you both turned it into a parkour course. You have these leg muscles that help you to jump on the limestone wall, the stomach muscles to help you slide down the stair railing, the brain muscles to decide to not jump 10 feet into the rocky creek below. Would you say that’s what is awesome about your body? Then Maia, “Yeah, but I don’t think that’s what they are talking about, mama.”
Yes, honey, that’s not entirely what they are talking about. But you have to know something….this girl on the cover? Even she doesn’t look like that. They do her hair and makeup and have special lighting to make her look this. See the girls inside of this magazine? This may be their best body. And you have your best body. Maia, you have long limbs that help you to reach and stretch and run fast. Maddie, you have incredible balance and coordination…you know where the ball is going to fall before it does. And these girls in the magazine…they may have those things and they may not. But here is the key, and I really want you to hear me when I say this – do your best to not compare yourselves to these images. You will see them throughout your life…headlines for Your Best Body, commercials for the thickest hair, and so on…but know that you have your best body already.
It gets you out of bed in the morning. It lets you run with your dogs. It gives you the strength to climb the playground at school. It is your best and it is enough. And it is beautiful.