There we sat in therapy talking about sex … and ... our marriage ... and ... me ... and my crazy way of thinking when it came to my body.
”I love her just the way she is. I think she is beautiful,” he said.
To which I quickly retorted “He has to say that, he is my husband.”
He grunted in frustration and rolled his eyes. This discussion was one we have had often, but never in front of anyone else. In my head husbands are obligated to tell us we are beautiful and they love us, even in our ugly, unlovable moments. They do it out of obligation not truth. Of this I was sure. So her response caught me off guard.
“Why do you think he can’t love you right now, Kallie? Why do you think he has to say those things? If he said you were ugly would you believe him then?”
It was food for thought. Why can’t he love me in my ugly? Why can’t he think I am beautiful all the time? Why can’t he love me there — wherever there is? More importantly why can’t I believe him?
The answer was me
There I was standing in my own way again as a road block. Awesome. (Why am I always my own roadblock? Do NOT answer that!) If he had told me I was ugly, or stupid, or unlovable, I would have believed he was being honest. Those words were words of truth. The bottom line here is that, I didn’t love myself, therefore I couldn’t let anyone else love me through the ugly, the real, the exposed and of course — the naked.
Sex and body image is not something people talk about, and yet, I feel like it is something that each of us struggle with at some point, in some way. Each day we go out into the world, dressed in clothes that hide, tuck, flatten, hold in, and boost, but what happens when we are stripped down, and left standing there naked? Do we keep the lights off? Do we wear a shirt or hide in the sheets to keep our less than perfect bodies from being really seen OR do we just avoid it all together and hide behind excuses? I am guilty of all of these scenarios and I feel really lame sharing something so personal, and intimate with the world.
Why do we hide?
What is it about our bodies that make us feel ashamed of it?
I think most of it stems from the ideals we see in magazines, and on commercials. Flawless is what the world tells us is beautiful, sexy, attractive, and worthy of being looked at intimately. These ideals make it nearly impossible to look in the mirror and not see flaws, the things that need fixing, before we will be comfortable sharing our most intimate self. Here is something I want you to really think about — why do we need fixing, when the things we want to fix share so much of who we are and the journey of our life. These physical imperfections tell a story.
I have come to see that my body and the way it looks tell a story — my life story and it’s a story I should not be ashamed to let my husband see and read.
I should not be ashamed that as a toddler I fell down the stairs at church and knocked my two front teeth out, because of this fall my permanent teeth were damaged. I will no longer pretend that I don’t have scars scattered about my body as a reminder of the chickenpox I had as a child. I will share the story of the scar on my foot, that I never liked until my dad told me it was a special marking because I was part Indian — which is totally not true but my dad can make a believer out of anyone. I will not hide my scar that stretches from hip to hip, that is a result of a cyst the size of softball I had to have removed. I will no longer turn out the lights or hide strategically in the sheets to hide the physical parts that are changing with age and experiences.
I have a few more years under my belt and with that comes changes. I have laugh lines around my eyes and mouth. They serve as a reminder of all the laughter I have had in my life. I have carried and bore three beautiful children and have scars and marks to prove a life once grew inside me. Those scars and marks would tell a story of the miracle it is to create life. My body has become “soft” in the last year, and if that softness could talk it would tell you a story of my journey to health, one that I should never feel ashamed to tell. These scars and battle wounds are only some of my flaws but they are reminders of my journey, my life, the life I have lived and breathed through each day and I will no longer be ashamed of them.
When I really look at my body it serves as a reminder of the life I have been blessed to live.
I am blessed to laugh at my sweet kids. I am blessed to smile at the people I love most. I am blessed to have created life inside of me. I grew a little human for cryin’ out loud. Not everyone can do that and I feel in awe of that miracle. I have lived through sicknesses, hard times, and physical limitations and come out alive and strong. I am blessed to have a body that allows me to love others and serve them. I am blessed to have a body and I will no longer hold myself back because of the way it looks. My body is the vessel that makes my life happen. It is the gift I was given to experience this life and it does not need fixing — it needs celebrating.
So I will let my husband love me there
I will let him love me through the changes of pregnancy. I will let him love me overweight. I will let him love me broken. I will let him love me whole. I will let him love me old. I will let him love me stretched and wrinkly. I will let him love me strong. I will let him love me weak. I will let him love me hurting. I will let him love me happy. I will let him love me sad. I will let him love me dying. I will let him love me until my last breath, until the very last words of my story are written.
Kallie is the creator of Smitten By. She is a mom to three kiddos and has been married to Mr. Dalley for 10 years now. She is a warrior for women everywhere. Striving to help them live happier, healthier lives, by uplifting, inspiring and empowering their why's. You can find her sharing her story of her battle with an eating disorder at www.smittenby.net.