With the first stretch of newborn arms, we exclaim over the beauty and awe of the magic of human bodies.
Now I’m barely pushing my chair back from the table before I have to complement that round tummy RIGHT NOW because she ate so much! And even if it’s full of mac n’ cheese and not a vegetable in sight, well, she will stand straining to produce the Roundest of Tummies. When you’re four, you try to impress as best as you can.
He is growing taller each day. Will he tower over me soon like his dad and uncles? It’s a daily declaration as he gallops through the house. At twelve, he is wildly confident one moment and whispers of nerves the next.
From the first day my children entered the world, I’ve been celebrating their bodies. One day she’s stronger and one day he lifts more. Their arms and legs and tangled horseplay are wild evidence that even the act of changing bodies is beauty in itself.
We talk about how bodies can be broken and bodies can be different, but most importantly, bodies are just bodies. With them, we are alive. With them, we can experience beauty. With them, we *are* beauty.
And yet somewhere after gangly growth spurts, that life-giving, comforting, and familiar home of lines and light becomes a battle ground. Hiding changes, fearing judgement, uncertain of what to cover and how much.
Whether you think our bodies are woven with holy hands, or made from stardust, or both, I think we can all agree that most of us march from appreciation to shame in but a few steps.
I’ve stood in awe gazing at the work of the old European masters. The stories they tell make me feel more human. And yet when I stand in front of the mirror, it’s easy to forget that the story my body tells is just as important.
Little by little, I unpack the lies, smother the shame, and celebrate my own beauty.
I doodle the nudes from my art books, I smile as I bump into beauty on the sidewalk, my husband and I wink at each other when we see unexpected glory on the corner. Seeing it all through a new lens is powerful.
The lines, the shapes, – their all stories and what a dream to be able to observe.