A Little Squishy…And Other Thoughts On Body Image

I’m what I like to call a little “squishy”– which isn’t a put down but more of a fact that sometimes when I sit down, it’s easier to just adjust the band of my pants to hide that extra little roll that popped out instead of trying to ab crunch it away. You feelin’ what I’m throwing down? Or maybe not.

Post-Rosebud body is just not quite as lithe as I’d like her to be.

I’ve never had a particularly healthy relationship with my body image. I was a chubby little girl. Not morbidly obese, mind you, but when looking at childhood pictures the term “pleasantly plump” comes to mind. I remember knowing this as a little girl. Maybe I was just unusually mature, but the fact that I still laugh at fart noises probably crosses that possibility off the list. Or maybe it was that I had two older sisters and so I noticed things other little girls didn’t. For example, I could not understand why they got those great boob things and I didn’t, so I spent most of second grade pining for my own set of stellar breasts that never came. Sigh. I digress. Regardless of how or why, I remember knowing, feeling, wishing with all my heart that this looked one way or that looked the other–and looking back now, my heart aches for 8-year-old Hunter.

Throughout junior high and high school my sentiments toward body image ebbed and flowed–typically in alignment with whether cute boys thought I was cute. In college, my body’s limits were stretched as I existed under stress, weird hours, and an increasing internal pressure to look certain ways and impress certain people. At a size 4, I should have been seemingly content. But I still felt the push to “just lose that 10 more pounds” and then…then I could be happy.

Even my relationship with food was dysfunctional. While never, ever starving myself, I rarely ate more than two meals a day, and I lived under this weird balance notion that told me if I ate something unhealthy at lunch, then it must be balanced out and made up for at another meal. The scariest part about this all is the sense of NORMALCY. You’d be surprised at the reality facing women today to see they’ve all felt this way at some point in their lives.

And I am afraid.

I am afraid that the precious, little towheaded Rosebud, snoozing in her crib–oblivious to things like self-esteem or words like fat–will one day look in the mirror and wish to see something else. When I know, in my head and my heart, that she is the most beautiful jewel to ever grace this planet. And I worry about how I will make her see and understand that her worth and value lies outside of the size of her waist or clearness of her skin.

Especially when I am still searching for some answers myself.

When I found my worth in deeper places, I stopped searching for acceptance in the reflection of my mirror. When I found that the God that molded my form did so with reason and purpose, I stopped wishing to become someone else. When I found my beauty in the sacrifice of a perfect savior for my imperfect soul on a cross, I found peace.

My faith, I have never questioned, my identity I did. I just needed to merge the two.

And so now it’s my duty to teach sweet Rosebud that while yes, her body is a temple that she should fill with healthy things, her body image is defined by something not of this world. And it is up to me to hold her hand as she transitions from my tiny infant, to my tumbling toddler, to the stubborn child, the insecure teenager, and ultimately to the independent woman I pray she will be. Every day Doc and I tell her how beautiful and intelligent she is; more important than that, we tell her how sweet and kind she is–and most important of all, we tell her how good our God is. And it’s in His image that she rests.

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.

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