3/06/2011

Thunder Thighs, Wherefore Art Thou?

This is one of those posts that makes so much sense in my head but I am not sure how it will translate into a blog entry. I hope well! Even if not, I'll give 'er a go!

Yesterday I had a "moment." You know, those moments where something just hits you and your entire perspective is kind of blown apart? I know I write a decent bit about weight and body image; it's a big thread in the story God has woven in my life so I'm at peace with that. Yesterday I had a moment related to my body image, not so dissimilar from other moments I've had, but a big one that not only really caught me off and still has me in a place of... oh, I hate how cheesy this will sound, but it's just true--feeling more awake and alive to reality.

So, here's the moment. As you know if you know anything about my life right now, I'm 3 days past my due date with my first baby. Yesterday my husband and I intentionally walked as much as we could around the mall, buying very little and just trying to keep me on my feet and moving, hoping it helps to bring on labor but at the very least because we know it's good for me, my body, and our baby at this stage of the game. That said, I've discovered that I actually really like a certain brand of simple long sleeve T's at Target (if I could remember the name I'd tell you, and if I were less lazy I'd go look...I think it's Morena, definitely starts with an M, but can't remember!). Anyway, there were some on super clearance and so I tried a couple on.

The moment came when, as I stood seeing how I liked the fit of the shirt (and assessing if it would just be ridiculously loose after Roger is born) I thought, "Gosh, that is a cruel mirror. It makes me look way skinnier than I actually am." Now, I'm not trying to get all hyper-spiritual here, but I literally had a Holy Spirit moment where I feel like He opened my eyes while simultaneously saying to me, "It's not the mirror. That's actually what you look like."

You see, my legs looked... not hugely fat. I'm not saying they're skinny like a girl who is a size 4 skinny, but for me, they're pretty skinny. I remember about 10 years ago being at a family gathering where a particularly snarly cousin called me thunder thighs and everyone laughed because, you know, when a teenager is already in the morbidly obese category if you shame them they'll be inspired to change. Not only is it sad that no one defended me outright, but not a single person came to me and said anything like they were sorry, or that it was wrong, or even actually tried to encourage me toward health.

Poor quality, but recorded
for posterity nonetheless!
I don't even know how much I weighed then, but in my head, I had and have the fattest thighs ever. It's not only because of that instance; I mean, when you weigh 376 pounds and basically have a BMI of 60, you have fat thighs. There is just no getting around this. But what happens when you lose 120 pounds? And, as I've written about before, what about when you gain 20 or so pounds back but it's all in your belly with a 10+ pound baby and so you experience similar symptoms to your previous obesity (limited mobility, ridiculous effort just to get off the couch, back pain from having such a large gut, etc) but it's not that you're on your way back to extreme levels of being unhealthy?

And, most shockingly of all, what if yes, you have a big ol' baby belly, but you're actually starting to have shapely legs and a little bit of lift in your butt and generally speaking you aren't so much a bearer of thunder thighs anymore? What then? What if the entire way you see your own legs in your head is actually not true when you're staring at them in a mirror?

And that was my moment. I wish the picture I included above would do it justice, but there's only so much an iPhone and Target changing room lighting can do regardless of it being a monumental epiphany in my life :) And whether or not my legs look thin to you, know that the way I saw them in my head before seeing them as this picture was literally twice as big as they are, maybe bigger. If I were cool I'd draw you a picture to show you how my head saw my thighs before but... I'll play the overdue baby card here and abstain. Still, you can imagine how stark the contrast is of what my legs look like here and how I saw them before.

The sweetest part is that it doesn't matter whether I'm fat or not by any worldly measure or standard. My loving Father, through the Holy Spirit, gently and sweetly said to me, "Daughter, how you see yourself is not reality. I'm going to allow you to see what you really look like, but even better, I'm going to remind you that I adore you and you are not defined by the size of your thighs. You're my girl and I love you. So here's the sweet gift of seeing your thighs as they actually are, but even better, here's the gift of Myself, and Me reminding you that when I look at you I see my daughter, my sweet girl whom I love so much that I nailed my Son to the cross in order to know you and be known by you."

More than just seeing reality that is why I feel more awake and alive than ever, because I'm basking in the reality that this Father of mine loves me so much that He refuses to let me look in the mirror and see a lie. Praise Jesus for that, regardless of the size of my thighs today, tomorrow, or in twenty years.

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