Dear fellow moms – as I wait at school for my son’s class to be done for the day, I look around at all the mommies and their unique, glorious, and curvy bodies.
We are all in different life stages, and we’re all various shades of brown and pink. We have freckles or age spots. Our hair is long, short, highlighted, dark, going gray, curly, combed, uncombed, or (like mine) previously curled at 7:30 a.m. and then promptly forgotten. Some dress professionally in shoes that click, while others dress in halter tops with their tats pronounced proudly. Others are in sweats and whatever t-shirt they could find. One woman is rocking pink pj bottoms with pigs and fluffy slippers. However, what strikes me most is all the wonderful ways they are curvy.
We are 100 different versions of beautiful and curvy bodies. We have grown babies inside of us, and sacrificed our bodies in dozens of different ways.
Our skin stretched, hips widened, our breasts grew and then shrank, and our feet got bigger. Once we survived childbirth, we carried our babies close to our hearts until we had back pain. Then we slung them onto our hips until we got tennis elbow. We helped them walk beside us as we held their pudgy, little hands until they could go it alone.
All these women, round through the hips, middle, and/or backside, with all imaginable versions of busts: high, low, big, small, bound, and free flying. Even the super fit women had the remnants of baby skin hanging on below their belly button. And as I watch them all, I wonder this – how can our culture celebrate any hairstyle or dye job, tat we can dream up, and every article of clothing since 1978, but it’s not acceptable to be a different shape?
Why do you have to be the same size as Ariana Grande to have box office appeal? Does being a size two make Jennifer Aniston funnier, Diane Keaton more brilliant, and Scarlet Johansen stronger and more daring?
The saddest part of this whole conversation I was having with myself is that I know most women hate these things about their bodies. But these are the things that make them special. We still think we should bounce back to what we weighed before our last baby. We long for that moment when we last felt “hot.” Is that still the goal of a 30, 40 or 50-something-year-old woman?
“She’s hot for her age.” Is that what we require to love ourselves or feel love from our partners?
If we asked ourselves (and answered honestly), what would we say? I don’t believe it’s hotness that we need, but rather “radical self-care,” as my favorite writer Anne Lamott would say. To be healthy in our body, mind, and soul. I mean, we know that walking reduces stress. That french fries make about as much sense as drinking bacon fat for breakfast. Or that maybe we should give up meat altogether. A healthy weight is important to fight disease, and we all can (and should) strive to be physically active. That’s not what I’m talking about, though.
What if we, as a culture, chose to really celebrate what makes each of us different? Could we tell a different story about the journey our curvy bodies have been on? The comfort our children feel resting on the softness of our arms or the tender cushion of our tummies?
Can you imagine how empowering it would be to teach our children that our curvy bodies are gorgeous?
They are what makes us special! Can we convince the next generation that watching gravity take hold doesn’t mean we have less beauty, but more history? Can we commit to loving ourselves in the many shapes of our unique, glorious, and curvy bodies? I hope so.