In a moment of intimacy with my husband I decided to turn the light off in the room and turn on the light in the bathroom. I like it that way because it is more romantic to have lighter lighting then the full power of the overhead light in the bedroom. He said he liked the overhead light because he can see me better. I understood where he was coming from, but still left the lighting that way, he could see me fine! So, I made a comment to him. “You know, you are lucky that I let you see me naked”. He looked at me in a quizzical way, so I clarified. “Many women don’t like their husbands to see them naked, they are ashamed and the hide under the covers or turn off the lights completely.” Although I never have done so, I totally understand how they are feeling. He said to me “But what is there to hide?”
That response really struck me. A woman would totally “get” that, but for a man, the concept is pretty foreign. I know that men are very highly stimulated visually; I also know that even though I am far from perfect my husband finds me, somehow, extremely attractive, sexy and beautiful. To him, I am the sexiest thing on earth, and although many times it is hard to accept this truth, I love to delight in the fact that he delights himself in me. The more I accept this truth the more I am willing to show myself to him, in all of my vulnerabilities, and I find great pleasure in doing so. As I have worked on loving my body, and myself and loving who God created me to be, both emotionally and physically, I am in a much better position to offer my beauty and my body TO Mike, instead of depending on him (or others) to confirm my beauty. In other words, instead of using my husband to boost my ego, I rely on who God has created me to be and from there feel like I’m in a position to give of myself fully without being an emotional drain on my beloved.
What I explained to Mike was that it is so hard to compete (or at least feel like we need to compete) with what is out there, with what the world had set as a standard. We are led to believe that thin and trim and fit is what all men (and women) want, and not only that but “LOOK, you will be happy when YOU look like this, see how happy she is?”
What if, we close our eyes for a moment and reflect on our own bodies, and are thankful for what we have, for who we are, for who God created us to be. Not last year, not in three months after you lose 30 lbs. but NOW.
What if we go back several hundred years and take a look at beauty that at some point in time was attractive and beautiful.
That’s more like it. Just add a few stretch marks.
Isn’t it interesting that we are bombarded with these images that tell us that there is something wrong with us and we need to be fixed. The diet industry is making millions by telling us this lie. We believe them hook, line and sinker. As we do so, we are destroying ourselves and entering into the endless abyss of hatred and loathing that is followed by punishment (dieting), and reward (thinness). Then we realize we still can’t measure up and so we eat our way through the pain and there the cycle begins again, further into the abyss.
The freedom that I want is not having to compare myself to the women on the magazine covers, and not even wishing that I was the perfect model for Renoir. The freedom that I want is loving the skin I’m in, enjoying who I am so I can offer myself to those around me. The freedom to rest assured that I am loved, the freedom to always be willing to turn on the lights and feel confident that my lover delights in me.