Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Glorious: A Woman's Body

I have grown up in a culture that markets almost exclusively to women's bodies.  Advertising to women targets women's bodies.  Advertising to men targets women's bodies.  White culture, Christian culture, middle class culture, targets women's bodies.  Hide your body, ignore your body, flaunt your body, work your body, "hot wife" your body: body, body, body.

Being a women with a body, my journey to peace in my own skin has been bombarded with these messages.  A journey that faith in my not-teeny teen years, massive health issues in my 20s, and being pregnant multiple times in my 30s has graciously shaped and softened.  A shift in focus from form to function has ironically made me feel, and dare I say even look, more beautiful as I move through life.  

(With that I will say, that obviously God puts a lot of detail into our appearance.  Just look at us - each so uniquely designed; we could have been clones on the outside at least.  And there in is the lie: that sameness - looking like the other - is better than unity that celebrates diversity).  

So it crushes me, breaks my heart, to hear again and again, comments about weight, appearance, and blah, blah, blah during pregnancy from so many of my dear friends.  What horse shit!  (I say again, horse shit!  Henceforth to be [HS], so as to let the offense die down).   I mean, its not HS to listen to your midwives, doctors, stay active, keep moving, eat healthy.  Its not HS that your body feels the burden of extra weight and has to loosen and strengthen in different places.  I am committed to my prenatal pilates, yoga, and walking.  I just swung by Whole Foods to pick up my daily allotment of fruits and vegetables during my very full work day.  

But the truth is!, it is glorious to experience the design of carrying a baby.  Double-dog dare I say more glorious than my body keeping its pre-pregnancy form.  My seminary friend's can help me out, but isn't there a mixed-meaning with "kabod" in the Old Testament: "glory" and "weight" and "heaviness."  I mean, our words mean something.  And our women-speak around the glory of our bodies is skewed: "…but it's all worth it though…I mean, you lose your body but you get a baby…you can always get it back…I was awesome until I had a baby"  And let's not even go there with adoptive mamas, "The best part is you get a baby and your body!"  Lord have mercy.  

A woman's body is glorious - in all shapes and sizes, doing all the things it was designed to do.  Attractive, alluring, inviting, curvy, and changing.  Active, moving, working, feeding, and caring. Weighty, and heavy, and glorious.

PS:  I narrowly said something terribly culturally-bound at four months pregnant, when I was bloated and belly-banding it, and fortunately my very dearest friend caught me, "OH NO you don't!  Don't you even go there.  Not you."  What grace.  I hadn't even gotten three words into my sentence, but she felt the pull and knew I needed that "gentle reminder" too.  Bless it.  Lets all help each other.