It is a tale of love and life.
“Everybody has a part of her body that she doesn’t like, but I’ve stopped complaining about mine because I don’t want to critique nature’s handiwork. My job is simply to allow the light to shine out of the masterpiece.”
~ Alfre Woodard
I love this quote, but I’ve never complained about my body. I’ve been around plenty of women who have and do. Joking around about the master feats of time and gravity can be a bonding experience. I understand this. There’s a lot of programming that happens in our world instilling a lack of appreciation and/or acceptance around the natural shift of our physical presence and beings over time.
Despite this broad cultural inclination, I have always been too fascinated with the intricacies of the way our bodies work, and the way in which they reflect the on-goings of our larger ecosystem, to spend time musing over my own body’s changes that are, really, only apparent to me when I peruse through photos taken many years ago.
Each part of it reveals an etching—tells a story.
I have small, perfect breasts. They would tell many stories, yet they would settle into a spirited focus around the nearly five years they nourished two beautiful beings. They would speak of soft, affirmation-filled whispers of love and adoration during these quiet moments; songs that were sang, books that were read from, stories that were told and strong and unwavering bonds that were formed.
I have wrinkles telling the story about how much I laugh yet, while much less noteworthy, reveal a path sprinkled with occasional concern or heartache.
I have hair; it is brownish, reddish and very slowly surrendering to grayish. It is long; allowing each lot that comes through to witness its own unique slice of life and then leave the scene entirely, inch by (never measured) inch.
I have a sprinkling of barely-noticeable-fingerprint-unique signatures adorning the lowest part of my belly. These stretch marks speak of growth, of expansion—both theirs and my own—and as much of the soul as of the body.
I have a tattoo. For nearly two decades, it has instigated interesting conversation. At first welcomed, and then not so. After three laser removal treatments, I now have a very light tattoo and very light laser scars. I recall the meaning behind and mindful process during its placement. I recall the meaning behind and mindful process at the onset of its removal. Somehow, in its still lightly present, perceptively amiss state, it tells a story—and it tells it really well.
I have many scars, each with their own touchable tale. Some marks unveiling short sketches that take only seconds to siphon.
Other marks weaving in years of experiential sophistication, quiet deliberation and acquired wisdom.
Every soul I see is perfect.
With this brand of enduring beauty, it can be difficult to even notice a person’s body.
I used to work with this incredible man on a tree farm. He worked on the tractors, and each time I dropped off the tractor which I took into the orchards every day, he and I would talk. He finally asked me after several months of working together, if I wanted to know how he lost his fingers. We were both surprised by my caught-off-guard reaction. His stunning presence took center stage during each of our chats, and I never noticed his hand until he brought it up.
Our bodies are important. They house our souls whilst we temporarily travel through, yet they won’t last forever. It’s worthy to care for our bodies in a way that supports a good and quality experience while we are here. It is just as worthy, regardless of self-perceived or culturally imbedded intimations of ideal appearance, to wholly love, accept and adore our one-of-a-kind bodies—to understand they do the best job they can in carrying us to where we want and need to be.
All things change over time.
When I see a beautiful older woman, I never think about her age or wonder whether she is happy with the way she appears to others. I see her soul. I see a stretch of experience. I see goals and accomplishments. I see worn hands, and I imagine hours tending a garden, tending to passions and tending to loved ones. I see wrinkles, I see laughter, I see time spent beneath the warmth of our radiant sun and kisses from the wind. I see a tale of love and of life.
I am grateful for this vehicle, for the ways it has been and the ways it will be. It would be really difficult for me to feel anything other than appreciation for the physical, charismatic representations of my life.
I love my body.
I love the story it shares.
The next time you catch your reflection in a mirror, adore yourself from every angle. Connect with your divine beauty. Connect with your story. Release the idea any part of you needs to appear any certain way. Allow your soul to radiate far beyond the boundaries of your physical being.
Soul steals the show.
It is you…
And you are perfect.
Like elephant journal on Facebook.
Assistant Ed: Dana Pauzauskie/Ed: Bryonie Wise