[Guest Post by Meredith Munro] – When it comes to body shape and size, I feel more like Halloween body parts.
Let me explain.
I’ve spent most of my life being rail thin and tall like a skeleton–a whopping 5’8″ and 3/4ths, baby!
I ate whatever I wanted, exercised rarely, and pretty much never worried if I looked fat.
By a lot of people’s standards, I had it easy and maybe in some ways I did.
I’ll admit that I’ve been blessed with good health and good genes–yeah mom and dad.
Like any warm-blooded American woman, I’ve often fixated on my flaws and been self-conscious about my body.
Loving my body hasn’t always been easy, but for a long time it wasn’t a huge struggle for me. Then this year I turned 30, and everything changed.
Don’t get me wrong–being 30 feels amazingly good.
It has been one of the best years of my life so far, and it’s truly a blessing to have another year of life given to me. But at the same time, I’m discovering firsthand about how your body tends to go through changes while entering into this bright and promising new decade of one’s life.
I’ve been learning in my late twenties and early thirties that my metabolism is slowing way, way down.
Suddenly I can’t drop weight as quickly and effortlessly anymore.
Not to mention the mountains and valleys of life that I’ve experienced during last 5 years.
My weight and body shape has fluctuated as I’ve encountered grad school, crohn’s disease, an emergency tonsillectomy while on vacation, a painful break-up, and working as a professional mental health therapist where I’m sitting in a chair….a lot.
I’ve had some seasons where I’ve lost a lot of weight drastically and I wasn’t very healthy.
I’ve also had some seasons where I’ve gained that weight right back, plus a few extra 5-10 pounds.
Even though I was still within the weight range that’s considered normal or healthy for my height, I was frustrated and unsatisfied.
I didn’t always fit into my clothes the same way and I became obsessed with my body shape, and lamented that it didn’t look how it used to.
The body from my youth was gone.
As a mental health therapist and fellow human being, I’m a person that highly values honesty.
If I’m being honest–I have to say that I’m still struggling with these recent changes to my body as I embrace the next beautiful season of life. I’m still learning what it means to say,
“I love my body”–and have to mean it, even if it looks different than how it used to when I was 18 or 21 or 26.
I don’t have it all figured out.
I’m still in the midst of walking through a larger story that’s about learning how to love myself and others well, and this includes learning to love my own imperfect body.
Wrestling with these changes and the various emotions they evoke lead me to dig deeper toward much more important questions that lurk beyond the surface.
Where or to whom am I looking to for standards of what is considered beautiful or attractive?
Why is it so important for me to feel beautiful and attractive in my own eyes or in the eyes of others? From where or from Whom does my ultimate value really come?
I’m not going to dive into the process of trying to answer all these questions right now.
If you’re anything like me–wrestling and learning to love your body through changes of life–take time. Plus, I think these are good questions to explore.
Instead of getting overly fixated on outer beauty and perfection, let’s take a good look about who we are inside and the messages we take in and own for ourselves about what true beauty really is–Halloween body parts and all.
Meredith Rachel Munro is a soon to be licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, artist, and dreamer who currently resides in Philadelphia with her fabulous younger sister. She is passionate about helping others finding hope and healing in the midst of suffering, seeing beauty in pain, and changing the way we talk about mental health issues. She is keen on fashion, music, coffee, and using her passport as much as possible.