Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Would You Hold It Against Me?

Be Forewarned: DO NOT leave patronizing compliments in my comments - this is not a fishing expedition, just an attempt to shuffle through some thoughts and rid myself of a bad habit.

I underestimate the human body. Or maybe it's that I take it for granted. Either way, I don't stop to ponder the intricate wonder that is my earthly tabernacle quite as often as God intended. I am not one of those lucky devils (you know the type) who is "at peace" with my body. I am not even one of those healthy freaks (again, conjure a face - I know you know one) who "listens" to my body. I have never paid attention to inner workings of the female variety, and am downright surprised each and every month when all doubts about my gender are forcefully put to rest by Mother Nature (still waiting for Her to bestow upon me enough chest insulation to make that doubt-casting less necessary). I am likewise shocked every time a doctor explains what my inner organs (you know...the do-dads, heramips, and filangicore, to name a few) are capable of during pregnancy, but swiftly block any memory of such information as soon as the baby is born.

I border hypochondria like Idaho borders Utah - such an imaginary line. Instead of feeling strong and able, I am constantly concerned that something will break or fail or otherwise go wrong. I have always felt a little on the fragile side, and I downplay any proof otherwise. Like three pregnancies that resulted in three healthy children and barely any (okay, a few) adverse long-term effects: but I was Sicky McSickypants and whined and complained and felt like my body was on the verge of death the entire time. Like natural childbirth of children with unusually large heads: but my labors are really fast - too fast for medication, and there was that one time I had the epidural and it only numbed one side of me and I had the baby five minutes later, but five minutes worth of less pain in my right leg is kind of wussy (but only for me - I don't begrudge anyone their epidural or general anesthesia or 50,000 mg of whatever it takes...that childbirth is one crazy scene!) See? You give me something good and I'll rationalize it away into nothing at all. It's a gift really.

I have never had much confidence in my pile of dust, mechanically or aesthetically. There is no part (great or small) in which I will not find a flaw, and I have become so adept in fault-finding that it is difficult, in deed, for me to think of anything good to think about my body. I remember my Beehive advisor giving a lesson on what must have been self worth and asking us to all choose something about ourselves that we liked, physically. She explained something about how no one is perfect, but we can each find SOMETHING perfect about ourselves and focus on that, instead of all the other things. Well, I have been trying since then to find that feature that I am perfectly satisfied with! Isn't that pathetic that I still remember that lesson and have had feelings of desperation and depression that I couldn't think of one single thing to love about my body ever since?

Well, I'm done with all that. If not for myself, then for my two perfect (to me) daughters. I don't ever want them agonizing over the reflection they see in the mirror, or finding fault with what God (most), Ty (little to no work involved) and I (10 months-worth) worked so hard to create for their enjoyment! I am turning a new leaf. For starters I am determined to agree with Ty when he pays me a compliment (this has been a long-standing joke between us since before we were married: that it is impossible for either of us to take a compliment). And why not? He is, after all, the only person who's perception I truly care to favor. And if he likes what he sees, why should I try to dissuade him? That would be counterproductivity at it's finest, wouldn't it? Think about it. I swear, sometimes (all the time) I can be so dense.

Anyway this post is turning into a genuine soap box rant about whoknowswhat, and I have eaten five (big, okay, huge) pumpkin chocolate chip cookies in the mean time with a glass of milk (skim - I'm not completely irresponsible!), which will only cause me to think bad thoughts about my physique, undoing any lofty goals I have been setting myself up for during this promotion of the body!

In conclusion (because this post is like a bad research paper that needs a summary to aid in digestion of so many mismatched thoughts) I would like to propose that the human body is amazing. It is something with which we shan't trifle. It is a generous gift. One to be savored, used, and cared for. After 29 years of indifference, even antagonism, I plan to enjoy mine!

Now: What do you like about YOUR


Rozel said...

Your post make me laugh . . .and no I don't mind if you lurk on my blog if you don't mind if I stalk yours.

It is very interesting that you have posted something such as this because I too have been contemplating my womanly figure . . .uhg.

When I was at the dentist she told me I had a very petite mouth. I instantly began to love the only petite thing about me - my mouth. Then I saw a picture of me and realized that my mouth was too small for my head. 29 years of not knowing about my mouth and she HAD to point that out.

Long story short (before this turns into a blog) I like my ears.

sharlee said...

Andrea...hilarious. Rozel...Iaughed out loud. I don't have anything hilarious to say but I have to say listen to what your husband tells you! I never had any real physical confidence until I got married. Kendal makes me feel like I'm all that AND a bag of chips. That doesn't mean that's how I see myself all the time but who else would I need to impress anyway? Look around and realize that abnormal bodies are the norm. That's what I'm discovering anyway.

Amber said...

You are quite whale-like and ugly (see, you said no patronizing compliments so I am trying reverse psychology-came out a lot harsher than I intended-maybe what I should have said was you are dolphin-like and unfortunate looking-ah crap, who am I to follow the rules-you have GREAT hair and flawless skin that I have ALWAYS envied-so put that in your pipe and smoke it sister!). And in case we are still speaking, I like my legs from below my knee to my ankles and one of my finger nails (yep, just one is perfect-the rest, no good!).

Rindee said...

I think it's wonderful that you are aware of the influence you will have on your daughters. Our girls will get bad body image messages from every which way. Wouldn't it be nice for them to have a place where they feel BEAUTIFUL??

I specifically remember as a young girl my mother turning 40. I remember everyone giving her a hard time for being "over the hill". She would just smile and say how she loved being 40 and she never hesitated when anyone asked her age. My mother has aged gracefully and I've noticed that I have the same attitude about aging.

What a gift to give our girls: Confidince and a love and respect for womanhood. That is what Heavenly Father wants. The world teaches that we have to look a certain way to be a great woman. That is the lie Satan wishes us to believe.

You get good "Mom" points for this sacrifice. I have always envied the curly hair you so despise. I wish I had Rozel's ears. I have always been self concious of my Dumbo ears. So I married a man with perfect ears and you'd better bet that ears are inspected before 10 fingers and toes when my babies are born. So far, they all have perfect ears. I've always liked my eyes.

The Orton Family said...

I love it when you get on a soap box- truly entertaining! And I love all the comments. Yay for husbands. They make you feel so beautiful. Sometimes I do think Joel is crazy when he tells me how pretty I am, but I'm so glad he does. He loves my eyes, and I think that's my favorite feature too.

Mattie Rae said...

I like my muscles even if they are gaining more insulation as I gain more years. I love how I feel when I get to use them and maybe someday I will be self-disciplined enough to be able to see them bulging in the mirror instead of all the insulation surrounding them.

Christy said...

I am so glad you wrote about this. This is one thing(along with all my other countless faults)that I have always done that I am trying to stop, that is making fun of myself and saying I am ugly. I am terrible at accepting compliments and my husband frequently gets upset with me about it. Just the other morning I was asleep and he was kissing me goodbye to leave for school and he said, "you look so pretty..." I was like, WHAT!? K, no makeup, hair not washed for like two days and probably horrible morning breath and you say I look "so" PRETTY? What have you been smoking?! But it's not just that, even when I do get all "glammed up" or whatever, I still feel totally ugly and I am always comparing myself to other girls... And I ALWAYS come up short! It's hard to be a woman in this world, I feel worthless sometimes as I feel like(and I know it's Satan making me feel that way) I should look something like the girls on the cover of all the magazines and I of course know that will never happen! So it makes me feel worthless. BUT I know that's not true, but it happens all too often and then I find myself dwelling on all the things I don't have, or have too much of.

My husband is constantly telling me that I shouldn't worry about other girls and all my imperfections and just love my self and my body. I know he loves me just the way I am, why can't I? I dont' know why it's such a hard thing to do!? The times that I do feel good about myself and worthy is when I am really striving to do good (I always want to do good, but find myself getting off track somehow not always doing the things I should be doing) and constantly finding ways to help those around me. It's like that missionary saying(which I am not quite sure how it goes) but something like... "lose yourself in the work of the Lord, and you will find yourself..."

I, too, don't want my girls growing up feeling the way I do! It's not right. I want them to be confident and sure of themselves but I know I need to start first...anyway, sorry to write my own blog entry on yours, haha, but you inspire me to do better at this too! I am going to try harder to love my body and my NOSE which I have despised since 7th grade when someone told me I had a BIG nose, um thanks. haha. I like my ankles and hands.

Christy said...

And Andrea, I think you are very pretty and I am not just saying that. You have great skin and are also in great shape! So yeah, put that in your pipe and smoke it too! haha, sorry I just like how Amber said that...too funny.

Andrea said...

I'm glad you all are seriously disturbed and insecure, too! Makes me feel a little better. Personally, I don't know what any of ya'll are complaining about...I think you're ALL beautiful! And believe me, I don't have any ugly friends, so I should know! And I don't know if anyone checks back to read my comments about YOUR comments, but here's believing.

Based strictly on looks (because if I were to list the reasons I think you're beautiful, the list would be eternal)...

Rozel: Are you kidding? I have envied your looks and athletic body since the 7th grade - but your comment made me laugh out loud!

Sharlee: Well, we look exactly alike, but you're a lot prettier.

Amber: Do you know I hated you when you moved to Payette because you were too beautiful? Yeah, I'm like that.

Rindee: I, too, have always admired your eyes...and your hair, and your big boobs on a tiny frame

Marianne: As do all the Orton sisters-in-law, you show me up, and that was a little disconcerting when I first met you. Joel has good taste!

Mattie: LOVE the freckles and confidence you exude (your freckles don't exude...just your confidence)

Christy: All I have to say is, do you own a mirror? I was intimidated by you when we first met, cause you were so pretty and put together. Maybe we should get together and chat - sounds like you could use a good therapy session a la Andrea (because I'm such the expert)

Christy said...

haha, I always go and check comments later. Like you said one time on my blog, it's kind of like a conversation you want to hear what other people have to say! haha, and yes I do own a mirror, several in fact, maybe that's my problem... I decorate with mirrors and see my imperfections all day long and therefore dwell on them more!

HAHAHA!!! OH my, do I have to work on this... my husband just came home as I was typing this-kid you not- and said you look really pretty today...AND guess what I SAID...NO I don't!
See it's a bad habit that I need to break! But thank you for your nice compliment, but it's funny because I actually felt that way about you and Emily! I was the biggest dork that night and thought you guys were just laughing at my stupidity

Matheson said...

Ok- so if it wasn't almost midnight I would go on but since it is I just have to say- I love your posts. The body is amazing.

Rindee said...

I DID (past tense) like my big boobs, too, but they have since dissapeared after having children, but make an all too brief reapperance for a few months after the birth of each child. After I return to negative letter bra sizes, I start to understand why some women have surgery.

Palmer family said...

Cute blog and funny thoughts/ ideas Andrea! You crack me up. I gave a lesson in YW today on Healthy Habits and stuff along that line. It was fun to teach and I learned a lot myself! I had all the girls set a goal on just one thing (one thing at a time, righ!??) they want to work on to improve.....drinking more water, eating less meat, exercising more, getting to bed earlier (that's me!), etc. The list goes on. It was a good reminder that our bodies ARE gifts and it is OUR job to take awesome (not just good) care of them and treat them like temples! The lesson was a good reminder for ME.

Emily said...

Hope I'm not too late to comment on this great post!

Andrea, you are gorgeous. I spent most of my childhood pretending that I was petite & cute like my best friend (you). News Flash! I am NOT petite!

I feel good about my body when I'm outside using it & away from mirrors & cameras. (Like the hike we went on Saturday - felt so good until I came home & looked at the pictures taken of me - when did I get so old & wrinkled? & is my forehead that big in real life? Get some bangs girl!) I feel less good about my body, especially my face, when I'm trying to get ready for work or church or somewhere I have to look presentable for. I never learned how to apply makeup & now that I need it, it's very frustrating.

The other day though, Gwen was watching me put on mascara & asking when she could wear it & I told her never because her eyelashes are already long & thick & dark (she definitely didn't get them from me!) She just looked up at me & sighed, "Mom, I want to look like you when I grow up." I was taken back by her compliment & it really got me thinking about what I am teaching my girls. If I just tell them all the time how beautiful they are, but put myself down & complain about my looks & spend thousands on Botox treatments (I wish!), what are they going to learn from my example?

Long story not-so-short, I am setting a goal to be positive about my looks, at least in front of my girlies!