This morning, I did my workout in my bedroom instead of the living room. It was a one off as the kids were watching tv and I didn't feel like being in their way.
When finished, as I was cleaning up my mat, I read the words on the wall.
All of me, loves all of you.
It was a picture-word-thing I gave to Dave several years ago when we were going through a tough patch. We'd come to a place in our relationship that required a lot of vulnerability which meant hearts wide open, susceptible to pain. And then a step deeper than that, as we unfurled the ugliness that lay deep within ourselves.
I needed to hear those words from Dave as much as I needed him to hear them from me. All of me, ugly, striving, hurting, joyful, weak, ambitious... all of me, loves all of you, ugly, striving, hurting, joyful, weak, ambitious.
These words have been a reminder over the years of our imperfections and our love for each other regardless of them.
Today, I read them for myself. And it blew my mind.
Look in the mirror and say to yourself, "All of me, loves all of you". And mean it.
This body of mine has pretty much been crap from day 1. As a baby, I had eczema and rash. Then I grew into asthma... and acne. For a few brief years, my body was pretty fantastic but the acne really messed up that package. I remember a friend saying to me one day in high school, "You'll be really pretty when your face gets better", Ouch!
Then the face did get better but my body was looking for new ways to torment me. In my early 20's I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. This led to weight gain, infertility, excess insulin, and crazy women cycles. The worst part, is that to others it looks like there's nothing wrong but on the inside, my hormones were driving me down a long road to physical and emotional instability. Fun!
Clearly, we beat infertility, (snicker) but not without the aid of medications and a whole lot of cash. With each pregnancy, my hormones would stabilize (a breath of fresh air for my poor husband) but after baby was born, they would go right back to crazy town... and worse.
A year after the twins were born, I finally had a hysterectomy. But I'd spent that year with low-iron and zero energy....all while juggling two new borns and three other kids. FYI... if you tell me that you're tired, I'll probably punch you in the face... you've got nothing on me. That year was hard.
With surgery out of the way, kids getting older and sleeping through the night, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. A light that involved me looking after myself, working off the weight that bugged me and learning how to love what's in front of me. And for a few weeks, I was pretty ok at this.
But there's nothing like a massive amount of instability to throw everything off course. Or maybe that's not the way to look at it. Maybe the massive amount of instability is actually what was needed for me to take a serious look at myself.
Because here I was, chasing after the world's view of how I should look, of how my kids should look. A pretty package of kind words and clean faces.
And that's shit. You know it is. That package isn't attainable or even real. It's taken a cancer diagnosis to fully knock me off this crazy-train. But when you spend your life striving for "the look" in a body that's betraying you, the package looks so good. You might even start to believe that with enough hair dye and nail polish, you can be shiny... and loved.
But we are oh, so not shiny. We are tarnished, cracked, bruised, stinky and some days just plain ugly. We're like the first sweater your Auntie knits in a sea of store bought cashmeres. Totally wonky, threads ready to unravel at the slightest touch.
This is what stares at me from the mirror. This is what stares at me when we take a family selfie. Wonky, unraveled, stinky...broken in ways I didn't know we could break. No pretty bow in sight.
All of me loves all of you. Broken, All of me love all of you. Tarnished. All of me loves all of you. Unraveled. Cancer. Depression. Butt dimples. Love handles. Anxiety. All of me loves all of you.
Say it to yourself. And again.