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 body...it 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.
IT IS SMART.
IT IS STRONG.
IT IS LOYAL.
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.
I BELIEVE WHAT I WEAR. DO YOU?
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