Tonight, after a shower all by myself. I stood naked and took a long hard look at myself. Actually, it wasn’t a long hard look. It was a short hard look. I had seen enough to come up with some pretty awesome realizations, and I really didn’t need to keep looking and change my mind. At this particular moment, my newly washed and specially treated (rather than just conditioned ) hair was hanging down in front of me, and streak of white covered hair. No, it wasn’t the kind of white that your thinking it was. Not a gray hair, although I have plenty of those, it was Soft Scrub. Yep, with Bleach. You see, I had decided in the middle of my relaxing all by myself shower, that the walls of the shower needed to be soft scrubbed with bleach. What else would I do while I waited for the speciality hair treatment. So I did it while I showered. Brilliant. I’m so genius I thought. Killed two birds with one stone while Hannah was downstairs with daddy. After I had these amazing realizations and subsequently decided I would write about it. I should take a picture I thought…. for my blog. But looking down into the Mirror I saw the rest of the photo that shouldn’t be included. The part of the photo that is only for the eyes of my husband, and every once in a while….. when I dared to look… myself. Even in those moments, where I didn’t smile at what I saw. Tonight at least, I wasn’t bashing it. Tonight at least, I was accepting it. Almost dare I say, loving it.
I am not who I once was. I used to say, I’m never going to be sad about getting older and losing my body, cuz I never had a nice body to begin with. I’m lucky because of that I said. I’ve spent most of my life around 200 lbs, which for me is about 60 lbs overweight. But…. then there was a time from age 34-37 when I DID lose the 60 lbs, where I looked in the mirror and thought Wow….. you have done SUCH a good job with your body. You’ve lost a lot of weight, and you’ve really toned up. Jason even thinks I could wear a bikini…… even if I think that’s ludicrous, at least he truly does believe I should be able to wear one. He’s my hero, my biggest support, my love. I felt great about myself. I looked at pictures of myself, and was proud, and thought…… Willow IS beautiful. But…. Not any more. I’ve spent at least the last few months cringing in disgust every time I happened to accidentally catch myself naked in the mirror. Something has changed in me. It might be hormones, turning 40 and not able to keep the weight off in the same way that I could before I had Hannah, maybe it’s because for some reason, I can’t seem to get my but to the gym more than 3 or 4 times a week to the gym, when I used to go 6 days a week, every week. Or maybe it’s just because despite the many different ways of eating or not eating, fasting or binge eating….. it all comes back to the fact, that I just REALLY like cookies and candy and sugar, and I’m more interested in enjoying that aspect of the world than being thin. Even if in the moment that’s not what it feels like, in all reality……. it’s the truth.
But in that moment, that monumental moment after my shower tonight, I saw myself in a new light. I saw my shoulders…. strong, and capable. I saw my breasts, fuller with the weight gain, but still evidence of four pregnancies, four babies, and four nursing kids. I saw the weight they carry, for me, for my kids, for my husband. I saw my misshapen stomach. My least favorite body part, the one I still think if I had the money I would get cut off and cleaned up……. the belly that stretched to accommodate four kids, and the belly that is still there, to hold and comfort those kids. I saw my legs, and feet, that are not what they once were, not small, not healthy….. fragile, despite the increased width. But when I look at myself as a whole……. I see Maturity…. I see life, I see strength. I see newness. I see leadership ,I see a counselor, a better friend, I see beauty. I am being ushered into a new time. I can feel it, and see it in every ounce of my being. AS much as I fight it, and buck against’ it, it’s coming. And it’s good. The young Mom with young kids days are over. Sure, Hannah is still only 2, almost 3…… but that’s not the point. There is a different role I am taking on, and it’s okay. It’s good, it’s important, it’s a normal part of this earthly plane that we are blessed to experience.
As Jason has tried to love me through these months of self-deprecation, self-doubt, and disgust……. he has been very clear with me about one thing. It’s not about what you see in the mirror. It’s about where your head is at, it’s about where your heart is. The negative self talk, the self-deprecating comments break him, and make him worry about me. I am a strong girl. I can withstand a lot. And that is the Willow he’s used to seeing, to knowing, to being around. His concern is and always has been, not what I look like, or how hard I work out or how much I weigh…… but how I feel about it. How I feel about myself. Who I am in this world, in Christ, has NEVER been reflected in my obsessing about looks or weight or beauty…. but only in the confidence and get it done mentality that I have seemed to carry the last 6 years that I have been into fitness. Not the weight loss, not the hot bod, but the confidence and steadfastness to reach a goal. That’s what matters, that’s what makes a difference. The truth of the matter is, I LOVE to exercise. I realize it’s a gift, that most people wish they had…. and I have it. If I had two hours to myself with no other commitments, my activity of choice would not be reading, sleeping, lounging, getting a pedicure, having drinks with a friend…. it would be working out. The harder the better. The more intense, the more fun. And exercising makes me feel GOOD. Great, confident, happy. The most beautiful woman in the room is the most confident woman in the room he says. Beauty is fleeting he say’s, if one thing is for sure, we will lose our looks. Eventually, we will be old and wrinkly and beauty will be the last thing on our minds. And there we still will be, together, and old with a different kind of beauty…. that we might not call beautiful today, but we will call beautiful then. Because we will see it for what it is, a beauty for the time. A beautiful 40 year old, is different then a beautiful 30 year old. A beauty 70 year old will be even more different. I’m so thankful for Jason, and his Wisdom, and how much he loves me, and knows me. How he speaks into my life when I need it the most. When I think of what is to come, I think of all I have accomplished in the last 15 years. 15 years I have been a mom…. and yet, I feel a shift coming. What will happen in the next 15! I can’t even imagine all of the amazing and awesome things God’s got in store. Maybe getting back in great shape will be part of that. Maybe….. or maybe it won’t. Maybe I’ll do something else amazing and new and awesome that gives me confidence and strength, all the while REALLY enjoying my cookies and cake…… Maybe I’ll do it all, at the same time. Who know’s really. The doors wide open at this point. I’m along for the ride, but I’m also purposing the ride. I’m destined and determined to make a difference in this world…… and nothing can stop me until I do. Just watch.