For most of my life, I’ve thought the journey was all about the transformation of my physical self.
I didn’t say this outwardly. I wasn’t even saying it to myself, exactly. But deep down, I’ve always believed that if I could only fit into X size, step on a scale and find myself at X weight, or if I could just get X person to love me back, that I would feel the peace I so desperately longed for.
This disquiet has followed me throughout my life. As the years passed, my yearning grew. I attained all the things we’ve been taught will bring women fulfilment: a husband, children, a home, a career, the pursuit of the ever-elusive perfect body. And while some of these things did bring me happiness, it never felt like enough. I was never enough. I’ve lost track of the number of times I made a pledge to double my efforts. But no matter how hard I tried, how disciplined I became, the shadow of something darker was always there.
I’ve been everything from a size zero to a size fourteen, and the disquiet followed me to every one of those body sizes.
At zero, I did not find peace. At fourteen, I did not find peace. Being mad at thin people and saying they should eat a sandwich did not bring me peace. Being mad at fat people and saying they should NOT eat a sandwich did not bring me peace.
Because it was NOT about my body, and it was DEFINITELY not about anyone else’s body. It was not about my rolls, or my cellulite, or the way pants did or didn’t fit me. It was not about comparing myself to other women, to feel worse if they looked “better” than me, or better if they looked “worse” than me.
It was about my spirit. It was about my mind. It was about the pain and brokenness that I stored there, in dusty boxes covered in duct tape and packed away in the darkest corners of my Self.
All those years, my soul was not yearning for a body size or even the unwavering love of another person. My soul was yearning for my own embrace, for unconditional acceptance of the woman who stared back at me from my bedroom mirror.
The moment I started to LOOK at that pain, open all of those boxes…THAT was the moment that led to the only transformation that has ever mattered.
My name is Sarah. I’m 35 years old. I’m a size 10. I’m 5 feet, 3 inches. I’m an estimated 160 pounds. I have rolls. I have ever-expanding cellulite, wrinkles, age spots, and spider veins.
And I absolutely 100% love myself.
I love my soul, with its scars and puckers and bruises. I love my mind, with its lacklustre memory. I love my body, with its marks and plumpness and mom apron.
I got here with a lot of introspection, honest review of my past, my thoughts, my mistakes, and acknowledging that I was a victim in spite of my loathing of that word. I have mourned the girl that I was, so I could accept and celebrate the woman that I am now.
My transformation has been a meandering one, a hike through an unknown mountain range with limited visibility, NOT a steady climb up a ladder where I could see each rung clearly as I progressed. It was terrifying to turn inward and sort through my boxes of pain. But it was this important work that brought peace to my inner unrest. It is in this place of stillness that I am able to hear and believe that no matter what my body looks like, no matter how small or perfect it becomes… it will not fulfil me.
If you’ve been sitting back wondering if self acceptance means you will cease to want to make changes to your life, your self, or even your body… You are wrong. It means for the first time in your life the changes you seek will align with the woman you were meant to be. You will be able to move forward with a quiet confidence that nobody can take away.
Even now there are days when my life feels like a desolate battle ground of broken relationships, imperfect parenting, misplaced hopes and forgotten dreams. Through all of this, though, I remember the truth.
That no matter what size I am or what I weigh, I am Enough. No matter how anyone judges me, I am Enough. No matter what my outer shell looks like, right now at this very moment:
I am Enough.
And so are you.