In This Old Body, I wanted to really focus on connecting all parts of my identity. I still struggle immensely with anxiety and self-esteem. I’ve been making a point to love myself as I am now while also learning to nurture the little girl that still lives within me. After all, I am still at every age that came before. I am still 5, and 6, and 10, and 11. I am still tethered to them all for the rest of my life. And they have been through some things. Some sad things, some angry things, and some joyous things too.
This Old Body has seen a lot of change. I have gone from hating it to loving it within the few seasons that I have been living in it.
I love my arms, how strong they are.
I love my hands, how delicate.
I love my eyelashes
and the length of my legs.
I love the wide shape of my shoulders and the jut of my collarbones.
I try not to pick these pieces of myself apart as I used to when I was still growing into them. I try to forgive my younger self for not knowing any better.
I love all of these things because they are a testament to my past. To the people that came before me. To the journey and how far our ancestral lines have come already. I love my nose because it’s my dad’s nose. I love my laugh because it reminds me of my mother. I love my walk because it reminds me of my sister. How fast-paced we both are. How hungry we are to chase the world before us as we pursue our creativity. I love my sense of humor because it reminds me of my brother.
Still, internally, I know that I have work to do. My Younger Me is afraid of things that my Present Day Me has already faced. She’s afraid of being left behind. She’s afraid of giving love her all. She is my tool of self-preservation. She makes me back out of asking people on dates. She takes rejection very personally. She thinks that she’s unloveable even though I know that she isn’t. She screams it at me all day long.
Unloved! She cries. Unloveable!
She’s in a permanent state of feeling feelings that are too big for her body to hold.
And it isn’t fair to her. None of it is. She is so small and the world is so much bigger.
It’s a constant dance, this internal struggle I’ve got going on. I often get so lost in the warp and weft of it that I forget to live in the now. I have become very focused on fixing my past, but the past is already written. It’s a fixed entity and there’s nothing left to do with it.
As I’ve grown, I’ve grappled with feeling like I wanted to close off my heart and move in its absence. Sometimes, I feel like I love too much for my body to contain all of it. I am weighed down by the certainty of feeling. I get stuck in worrying about being too much.
Wanting too much.
Asking for too much.
I often feel like a giantess.
A soul too big for its bones.
I want a place to rest my armor.
A soft place to land.
I want others to see to the heart of me.
For them to see my too large spirit and my too large heart.
I can never turn off feeling. The very idea feels like a betrayal to the infrastructure that God designed me to stand in, but I have to teach Younger Me that it’s okay to be big. It’s okay to ask for love and not try to shoulder all of her pains alone.
I have people who love me for my fullness and for my faults. I have other giants in my life that want to love me to the very core of who I am.
If I let them.
I am still learning how to turn my fists into open hands.
I am still trying to teach Younger Me that she isn’t complicated, she is human.
I am trying to teach Younger Me that she doesn’t have to be the golden child. She isn’t perfect and that is okay. She can mess up and that is okay. She can accomplish one thing at a time rather than trying to juggle all of it and that is okay. She can take all the time she needs to hurt and heal and that is okay too.
We all need time to hurt and heal.
I think that we don’t talk about that enough.
I don’t think that we spend a lot of time working through those feelings.
Not with others.
Not in public.
I know that my story will echo with someone else so I’m doing the brave thing of leaving it all out there on the table. So that others can take from here all of the things that they need.
The waters of triumph.
The bread of safety.
The soups of warmth, introspection, and comfort.
There is a seat here for everyone.
Present Day Me knows that there is so much life left to live.
So many exciting adventures.
So many people to kiss.
So much promise ahead if I can just slow down and enjoy what I have accomplished thus far and what I have yet to do.
This Old Body deserves healing. She deserves the love that she gives away. She deserves to feel like she deserves it. I feel like I still have to figure out what that means for me.