MY BODY- I LOVE IT/I HATE IT
I’ll never forget the afternoon, almost eleven years ago, when I was in counseling. I was getting therapy after my son’s traumatic brain injury.
It had been a difficult few weeks—no, actually the whole damn year had been hell—and I was trying to find peace anywhere I could find it.
The therapist listened as I poured out my pain.
Of course as a mother, I was feeling guilty about not being able to console or soothe my son’s anger. My own frustration was rising, too. I was starting to attack those around me because they just didn’t understand what I was going through.
How could they?
It’s one of those things . . . if you haven’t walked in those shoes; you can’t imagine how it feels to have a son dealing with a head injury that has changed who he is and how he acts.
Rita, my therapist, was doing her best to ground me, and as I was attacking the doctors who’d treated him, she suddenly wrapped both of her hands around my ankles. (I was sitting in a recliner with my feet up.)
Her words were soft, gentle, and went right to my core.
“You need to honor and love your body. Worship her. Worship her as you would your God and your family. She’s stayed healthy and allowed you to carry your son and your husband through this trauma. She’s been made in the image of our creator, made to feel the pain of tragedy and amazing brilliance of joy.”
I’ve never forgotten the power of her words. Even now as I write them here, chills travel through my scalp, down my back and to my ankles, where I still feel her loving hands.
This flashed back to me as I saw a post recently on Up Worthy. The post brought to light a new dating site, where men “bid” on dates with women. 100,000 men were surveyed about their perfect woman.
The results? Yeah, they’re insulting. Not one personality trait in the results, only physical traits. But in reality, it doesn’t matter.
That’s not what upset me.
What upset me was that we’re not honoring or loving ourselves for whom we are and what we have to give. We’ve been busy boxing people and packaging them into twenty and hot, thirty and a cougar, of active seniors who are pumping testosterone and Viagra trying to live like they are still a teenager.
Are people only two-dimensional? It’s only the physical characteristics that make us who we are? Is that the definition of being social now?
Media and commercials like Carl’s Jr. showing hamburgers with almost naked women eating them, underwear ads with models that have angel’s wings on them, take away their being human, and turn them into objects, don’t they?
Men aren’t excluded.
If another commercial advertises how men need to pump pills for Low T, and be ready to get an erection at a moment’s notice comes on during my favorite baseball team’s game I might vomit!
Maybe I’m too old school. I think connection happens best in person. Face to face is when the sparks really fly, don’t they?
Being online, dating online, and trying to find the right mate all online . . . I get it. It’s a new way, and a way to keep your distance while you find someone.
But the qualities of being human, of offering our gifts . . . love, empathy, warmth, understanding . . . isn’t that what lets us fly through life together, rather than whether or not someone is blonde, and has blue eyes and a slim body?
What are the qualities I looked for in my husband of thirty-five years?
I knew he was the one because I talked with him. I met him. I saw him. I heard him. Our connection was there from the moment I spoke with him. I heard him. I saw his heart, his soul, the sexy man, the muscular arms, and the goodness in him.
I guess we all have checklists, but are they so absolute that we need to have each and every one of them for our “perfect” mate? Sure there’s the physical desires, but when I met my soul mate, I couldn’t even remember what those things were . . . not really.
So making an online connection? Sure, go for it.
But beyond the blonde hair, blue eyes and the body?
Making a real connection, one that will last, is so much more than about being slim or muscular. It’s the little moments along with the big ones. It’s how he or she notices you’re hurting, or need a kiss, or he hands you a single flower, or gives an unexpected hug—it’s the subtleties of love.
It’s the way a man or a woman supports another, in the hardest of times.
As for subtleties . . . well, my original list was blue eyes, blonde hair, about five years older than me, and had graduated from college.
I ended up with a dark haired man, fifteen years older than me, hadn’t gone to college, but oh . . . something about the ways he loved me.
The only thing I remember on that physical checklist I could mark off?
If I had boxed him up on a list of characteristics I had to have? I’d have missed thirty-five years of pure ecstasy, joy, love, pain, and struggle . . . as Garth Brooks says, “I’d have missed the dance.”
Creative Coach, Author
Broken Bottles: The journey and family saga of a woman who has come of age, examining relationships and the intimacy missing from them.
Introverts: Learning to live in a visual world and appreciate the solitude you love.
Coming Book series: My Two Years as a Porn Star (the journey of an overweight woman who learned to love her body).
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