For those of us that struggle with an eating disorder – and, likely, those that just aren’t 100% happy with how they look even if it doesn’t go so far as an ED – maintaining a positive body image is a challenge. In most cases, it’s nearly impossible.
I, for one, have a constant struggle with body image. If I didn’t lay out my outfits the evening before and force myself to wear whatever I prepared, I’d likely spend a solid hour changing every morning because I do not feel comfortable with how I look in my clothing. It is rare for me to truly feel good in my own skin, so on the rare occasion I do, it’s cause for celebration.
Today, I discovered one of those rare moments.
This afternoon, as a reward for all that I’ve accomplished in the last few weeks, I decided to get a massage.
You’d think that the act of stripping down to your skivvies, laying on a table, and allowing a total stranger to touch you [sounds way more perverted than it is, I assure you] would be the last thing to boost my self image.
Yet, that’s exactly what it did.
It wasn’t the other person, of course. It was the sensation. Feeling the tension in my muscles. The connective tissue. Having the masseuse work out the knots in my legs that were there not as a result of stress, but as a result of the workouts and effort I’ve been putting in. Feeling the strength in my joints, the tendons stretching – I felt in tune with my body for the first time in many years.
This wasn’t my first massage; however, this was the first time I really connected with my body. Instead of trying to forget about my thick thighs or jiggly arms, I focused all of my attention on the muscles below the skin and how they responded to the therapy.
For that brief hour, I was proud of my body.
Proud of the aches and pains. Proud of the stretchmarks, which are a constant reminder of the journey I’ve been on for nearly a decade. Each one a tiny, faded badge of honor – a memory of the old me.
Of course, I can’t expect to get a massage every day of my life as a means of boosting my self-image, so I’ll have to seek out other ways of becoming more comfortable with who I am.
However, today’s stolen hour reminded me of the hard work that I’ve put in and the efforts I’ve been taking to be healthy, inside and out. It reinforced the mindset that I have to be good to my body in order for it to be good to me in return.
With that in mind, I’m going for a run before the sun sets on a good day.
Bon appetit, my friends!