So this morning was unusual.
I actually felt flipping compelled to look at myself in the mirror. Half nekkid.
Seriously, how often do you do this?
How often do I usually do it? Never. I may stop in front of a mirror in the morning to make sure my clothes actually match or check my hair on the way out the door; but, to stop and look at myself? The thought alone makes me nervous.
It almost always starts the same. I catch a glimpse of some part - my waist, my shoulders, my collarbone. I think about how those parts look so much better now. How I can actually see that tell-tale bone leading to my shoulders or feel my hipbone or the solidity of my oblique muscles from so many miles run. And then my eyes land on something so much easier to pay attention to. I see the place where the elastic of my skivvies presses into the fat at my hips. I see the dimples in my thigh where cellulite hangs like an enemy that just won't quit. Then there's the moment I turn around and look at my rear end and that angry, straight line across rather than the round upturned curve that a butt 'should' have.
It's so, so easy to let my mind stay there. To let it fester on the negative.
This morning, for all of three minutes, I marveled at what I saw. I allowed a quiet celebration in front of that mirror.
I could flex my thighs and see where the muscles were and where the fat was slowly being taken over by them. I looked at my calves, which are strong and solid. There was a moment of reflection, thinking about how I used to be able to lift the mass at my back and along my ribs - and where I can now just pinch. There's strength in my body. There's muscles that have worked and will continue to work. I can appreciate the curve of my waist and the slowly fading cellulite at my hips and thighs. It's not gone, maybe it never will be; but, I think of the fact that I actually go out in public in skirts shorter than my knee and have considered wearing shorts.
I'd imagine that there are a lot of you that know what it's like to out and out refuse to wear shorts regardless of the weather. You don't want to show the world the dimple, ripple of neglectful and terrible care for yourself. You don't want to be judged. Better to have it be a mystery beneath capris. Believe me, I've been there.
The problem is, that not only do we hide ourselves from society, but we don't let ourselves even look at the good parts. We don't stand in front of the mirror and take stock of what we have worked so hard for.
This morning I celebrated. I saw those strong obliques and I saw thighs that are able to carry me for 13.1 miles. I saw collarbones that scream victory and upper arms that support me as I blaze down the trail on my bike. I even looked at my butt - that line which seemed to threaten to run all the way around the outside of my thighs is slowly relenting to the muscles I'm building above and below it. Today I loved my body, I allowed myself the moment to appreciate what a work in progress is - it's not only a reminder of work left to be done, it's a testimony to accomplisments already made.