Going the Distance challenges should be familiar to most of you (even if you haven't participated) -- to set a distance goal and achieve it. Some of us reach our goals, some of us don't, but what we're learning along the way is that (1) setting a goal is an indication we expect something (greatness?) from ourselves, (2) we can push our our minds and our bodies beyond what we had formerly expected, and (3) we can feel a sense of accomplishment even if we come up short.
But #FebGTD has introduced a terrifying (to borrow from Carl Jung) aspect to the challenge to some people: to find ourselves lovable -- on both good days and bad. At the end of February, I want everyone to write a love letter to themselves, but I thought it'd be much easier if they had a list of 28 individual things they love about themselves. I can't wait to see what people come up with. Already there seems to be a few different angles -- people loving a part of their body because of what that body part is capable of, people who pick a part of themselves because they love how that part makes them feel, and people who go under the surface and talk about who they are instead of what they are.
Loving myself has often meant that I have to correct a wrong from my past. Either I've hated on myself, someone else has made me feel bad about my body, or society in general has tried to make me feel less than because I am one thing and not the other.
My mother was one of those people who made me feel bad about my body. It took many years and lots of patience for me to realize that it wasn't out of malice that she was doing this, but that she had deep insecurities about her own body. It is with great compassion that I am trying to reshape many bad memories, for her benefit and my own. Her main critique of my body was not that I was fat, but that I had hips and breasts. She didn't have the hourglass shape that her mother had. That I have.
These hips came in handy this morning when my cat threw up 6 times, and would meow at me until I picked him up and balanced him on my hip. One front paw would go on my boobs, the other around my back, and his head against my shoulder, his rear legs balanced on my butt and stomach. Something about being held like that reassured him that I was going to take care of him. I can only imagine what this would be like with a human child. Hips weren't these lascivious things that my mom was worried would catapult me from childhood to adulthood, but they were the vehicle through which a mother could connect with her child. I could hold Spike and brush my teeth at the same time.
I understand now how hard it must have been with 2 young children and no hips. Women balance all things on their hips from the attention of a man, to children, to laundry baskets. They are tools of our trade.