Friday, December 7, 2012

Body PAUSE-itive

Welcome to the Body: AMAZING Carnival!

This post was written as a part of the Body: AMAZING Carnival co-hosted by Jennifer of True Confessions of a Real Mommy and Amy of Anktangle. Carnival participants were invited to write about how we learn to appreciate the ways our bodies grow and change. Our posts explain some incredible ways our bodies impress and amaze us.

Please read to the bottom to find a list of submissions from all of today's carnival participants.

Pause for reflection, pause for admiration, pause for revelation.

This body is so beautiful.  I have so many wrinkles, so few from frowning, so many from laughing and smiling.  When I take the time to look at my face, I see stories and resemblances and time and love.  I see, up close, the work I put into being the best parent I can be, when before I had kids I took advantage of being a so-so friend.  Now that I have kids, I more fully realize the importance of those same friends and try to make up for it... but we know how that goes.  And paying homage to the friends from the past, the ones who helped shaped the future-parent I'd become...all of that lies in the depths of my wrinkles, the ones around my eyes and mouth.  It's not just the wrinkles.  I have stretch marks, too, where my skin stretched to try to accommodate the growing child that reflected the growing mother.  Those marks have faded from a fiery red to silvery slivers, as I hope my temper and sense of righteousness will settle into my children--strong opinions of equality and hope and faith that show themselves with a sparkle.  

This body is so strong.  I have three kids, ages four, three and zero plus.  I was so sad the day I was so pregnant with my third that I had to stop carrying both of my older children, but I had to let my body do what it needed to do to help build this new child.  I expect a lot from my body, and it's sometimes hard to shift the idea of being strong from one thing (physical strength) to another (a more parental, enduring strength).

This body changes.  A few months after my first child was born, a friend commented that I was still...she didn't know quite how to put it... I still hadn't lost all or most of my baby-weight.  I remarked that I was still 'squishy', in a lame, humorous attempt to put her at ease and let her know I knew my body was different.  I had become comfortable with my new body, and wore it proudly.  I was quite squishy, and I loved how my daughter could lay her head on my belly without hitting bone.  I loved my new, rounded appearance.  Each lump or bump or padded bit represented a new spot, a place that didn't exist, but that was somehow now relevant and useful.  I might not keep all of those bumps and whatnots, but I decided to love them in their time.

This body gives.  My body knows what it can give, and it does give.  Do my breasts hold the shape they used to?  Nope.  Do they give life and love, nourishment and comfort?  You bet your tush they do.  My arms give a different kind of hug, not the bear hug I'm known for, but a softer, more soothing hug.  My legs and back give support to the weight of my children.  I give my rides to my kids, sometimes for fun, sometimes out of need to get where we're going:  one child wrapped on the front, one riding in the soft-structured carrier on my back, and the third riding on my shoulders.  Do I want to give this ride?  It's not my favorite, admittedly, but this body gives that ride.

This body is the vehicle of my spirit.  This body is limited only by the weakness of my spirit.  My spirit enjoys the challenge of carrying all of the bags of groceries from the car to the house in one trip; the body answers.  Sometimes the body decides to leave a watermelon or gallon of milk for a second trip.  My spirit enjoys speed and the body answers by running.  When I have no children with me, I find myself running, running, running...running from the car to a building, down halls, all over.  My spirit enjoys headstands--still.  I remember my one of my first headstands in third grade gym class and the power I felt coursing through my self to be able to hold my body upright on my head.  I have never stopped doing headstands.  My spirit enjoys, for the most part, even the mundane tasks of daily life.

This body creates.  These hands work hard to cut, sew, crochet, stir, wrap, paint, bead, and in general create my 'good ideas'.  I love to make things for people.  This body makes food for those who are sick or who have recently had little ones or who have lost family members; it makes holiday presents, birthday cards, treats for the fun of it, baskets and boxes for friends traveling, photo albums for grandparents... There are so many ways my body works for me, without fail, without complaint.

It's good to PAUSE for a moment, to appreciate what my body DOES, rather than lamenting and focusing on what it doesn't.  The first time I heard the phrase "fake the funk" was in Sergeant school in the Army, the idea being we were supposed to pretend like we were good leaders until it happened for real.  So I decided to give it a shot, and I faked confidence.  The most remarkable thing happened--I grew real confidence.  It didn't happen overnight, but it happened.  After the change in my body with my first child, going from the most fit I'd ever been in my life to having a, well, squishy body, I decided to fake the funk of loving my body, and the most remarkable thing happened.  I really loved it.  And I still really love it.  

Now I take time to thank my body, for what it does for me, with me, in spite of me.  It is my ally, I recognize it, I pause to CELEBRATE it.

More to read and love about honoring our bodies at these other blogs. Please visit them all and leave some comment love!

Jennifer from True Confessions of a Real Mommy is moved to trust her body, even the fuzzy parts. You can also find Jennifer on Facebook and Twitter.

Amy of Anktangle writes about living with chronic pain and how she appreciates the ways her body functions in spite of its challenges. You can also find Amy on Facebook and Twitter.

Mari from Honey on the Bum talks a little bit about how her body has changed and how she loves it and what it does for her. You can also find Mari on Twitter.

Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about why she's not worried about how her body looks, because it has a much more important job right now.

Joella from Fine and Fair discusses her love and respect for her body as it grows and changes during pregnancy over. Hear more from Joella on Twitter and Facebook.

Issa Waters at LoveLiveGrow on how Paganism taught her to accept reality and by extension herself and her body. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work shares about her love/hate relationship with a nose that she saw as ugly . . . until she started to learn to love it. Amy W. can also be followed on Twitter and Facebook.

Destany at They Are All of Me writes about releasing the negative notions she was taught about her period, and embracing it instead.

Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children talks about how she had to push through her pre-conditioned comfort level and found herself in a position to naturally be open and honest with her children. More great stuff from Mandy on Facebook.

Lauren at Hobo Mama is not a runner . . . but she proved herself wrong by completing a race. Keep up with Lauren's adventures on Twitter and Facebook.

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