It is a different sensation to not hate your body. Essentially, I am going against everything I was programmed to know and innately despise. But today, I love my body. Shhhhhh. Did I just say that? Gasp! What will friends think? What will I have to say during those body-bashing lunches? Nothing! Damn that feels good.
My little family arrived on at the beach today. I felt zero body anxiety or pressure. In fact, I even enjoyed a little Chick-fil-A lunch just hours before and, no, I did not order a fast food ‘salad’. These days, I get to order with the number on the menu. No ‘complicated orders’ for this girl. I get to eat what I want, throw on a bikini and build sandcastles.
The afternoon sun beat down as I carried my son to the beach. I put him down and watched as his big blue eyes soaked up the beauty around us. Being the water baby that he is, he headed straight for the Gulf. My husband and I watched on with a twinkle in our eye. This was the beach trip we had waited a long time for. The day when our child would be old enough to play in the sand and splash in the shore. We introduced him to the beach and the crystal clear gulf water. Life is good.
I can’t help but think of a question that was asked by my former therapist nearly three years ago…
“What does recovery look like to you, McCall?”
I answered with a simple, “Walking on the beach with husband without a coverup.” A seemingly self-serving question to some, but to me, walking on the beach represented freedom. Freedom to live in my skin and live my life without the constant chatter of disabling negative body thoughts. Something I think so many of us can relate to.
Today, that vision went a step further. My heart skipped a beat as I chased after my energetic son. I was running in a swim suit and I didn’t think twice about it. I galloped after my precious son, swinging him in the air and walked with him down the shoreline as he held my finger in his tiny hand. Yes, this is full recovery. I am here.
My treatment team always said that body image would be the last thing ‘to go.’ Meaning, it was going to take a lot of time, patience and work to get to a place of peace with my body. I tried my best to keep that in mind and understand that only time could heal the lifelong war on my body. Today, I feel like I am finally there. I have won the war and I have the battle scars to prove it. They are worth it, though. And honestly, I would take on a thousand more scars to feel the freedom I felt today.
Positive body image isn’t about looking a certain way, being a certain size or wearing a certain bathing suit. I still have my yuck body days-and that’s okay! It is about living in the moment in YOUR skin. Being free from those consuming thoughts, pressures and worries. To not care and know you are beautiful and loved just as you are. To know your scars make you a survivor. They make you strong enough to shed a tear on a sunny day on the beach because you have made it. You are alive. You are beautiful. You are recovered.