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Compliment Yo-Self

June 10, 2018 2 Comments

I was checking out at a local store this week and in line with nothing but women.  The customer in front of me commented to the woman behind me that she liked her "long flowy thing" (honestly I don't know what they are called either, so no judgement there).  The receiver of the compliment replied with "oh thank you, I wear it to cover up my legs."  Then someone jumped in with, "I like maxi dresses for that, too." And suddenly, it was a whirlwind of "what to wear to hide yourself" conversation.

I had to end that.  NOOOO!!!!  No! No! No! No!  Ladies, please!  Just stop!!!  

And I told them..."your legs are beautiful, but keep wearing the long flowy thing because it brings out your eyes."  And you..."I love a maxi skirt and I bet it looks great on you, but don't hide behind it...because you are STUNNING."  

Just stop...stop because it's not good for you and stop because it's not good for the little girl standing in line behind us all and looking at her own legs...which are perfect just the way they are.  Stop, because you are disrespecting the strongest thing you will ever know and the one thing that will ALWAYS work harder for you than anything else.  Your body.

A year ago my mama died.  There are a thousand things I learned during that process, but one in particular that has really changed my life.  About six weeks before she passed, she stopped eating.  And because she refused all medical care, there were no ivs or supplemental nutrition.  It was just her, a massive brain tumor, and a tiny little body doing it's thing.  The brain tumor was her enemy. Her body, her best friend.

For six weeks while the tumor starved her basically fed on itself.  Absorbing fat and then muscle to get the power it needed to keep  going.  Just in case.  That's pretty impressive isn't it?  That without someone pushing a button or sending a command, or begging and pleading,  our body just knows to do that.  That it has such a will to live and be there for us, that it will do all the work on it's own.

Then the day came that there just wasn't anything left and the organs began to shut down.  Her breathing changed and they told us this was how we would know the end was near.  When her breaths seemed more like gasps and were growing farther and farther apart.  Her chest and her head seemed so hot, like she must have fever.  I asked the nurse about her temperature and it was on the low side of normal.  I didn't understand how that could be.  

I began talking with our hospice nurse and discussing things he no doubt had heard a thousand times before but answered me as if it was the first time ever.  I spoke of how hot she seemed to be and he explained that her head and chest were hot because her brain and heart were working incredibly hard to keep the other organs going.  All of her body's energy was focused in those two places.  Just in case.

We moved on to the subject of breathing and after he listened to my diatribe about humane human euthanasia during end of life as I complained about her struggle for air and not being able to help her....he explained to me that, even though he agreed....that we should be able to offer more grace...that her breathing, that wasn't a struggle.  That was her body making a survival choice to only use the minimum amount of energy, to bring in just enough air, to provide just enough oxygen to the brain to keep the organs afloat.  Just in case. 

Yeah. Your body rocks.  Your body will give you food when you cannot provide it for yourself.  Your body will take away the heat from the least needed places to keep the important parts going.  Your body will dole out oxygen in rations to use as little energy as possible.  YOUR BODY WILL DO EVERYTHING NOT TO GIVE UP ON YOU.  




Show it some respect.  Compliment it from time to time.  No, compliment it all the time.   

My mama taught me more lessons than I can count, in her lifetime.  All of them important.  But the biggest lesson she taught me was in her death.  As the year has passed, I have learned to love my body more and more.   I have learned to joke about all the changes that come with aging and take them in stride.  These legs may not look like they once did, but they are strong and they will take me wherever I ask them to go.  They will run faster if need be and they will slow down when they know that's what's best for me.  And those dimples on them...mmm...that's just survival tools ready to work when called to duty.


Compliment Yo-Self!!!




2 Responses

Carol Claremont
Carol Claremont

August 06, 2018

Beautiful! My beloved daddy died in 2002 and I felt honored to be with him as he left this Earth. His heart and 1 kidney were failing so he had no pain and could talk to me until the last few hours. He had a beautiful death- I know that sounds strange but it is how I felt. I learned so much from daddy over my lifetime but the most important (other than values, morals, and ethics) was my self confidence. I can talk to anyone and make friends easily and I taught financial aid seminars all over the country to really big rooms full of people. I was confident in my teaching abilities and my positive attitude and I owe that all to him. Not sure why I needed to tell that story but you telling the ladies in the store to love their bodies remind d me of him. Thanks for sharing.

Cindy Hendricks
Cindy Hendricks

June 10, 2018

Thank you for this, for reminding us all, male and female, that we are good, strong, beautiful individuals that should be proud of our who we are and what we are. Our bodies are a miracle, every single moment. I lost my mom almost 9 years ago and went through a similar experience but without your insight. I wish I had known then what you have shared with me today. And I will think of this tonight, how to respect who I am and build on that, and instead of buying a coverup to hide what I look like when swimming with my family I will enjoy the water, the lightness of being, and the thrill of knowing that like you, these legs will take me where I want to go, hike the mountains, enjoy the water, walk slowly in the morning dew and evening peace cherishing the changing face of this beautiful earth. Thank you for reminding me who I am. You are the person I wish I lived closer to, that I could share a cup of tea and talk. Thank you.

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