I look at my legs as I lie in the bath. The water is high and steaming hot. Netflix, my usual comfort, is encroaching on a moment I would rather not have.
I cannot avoid my thighs. That is the problem with baths, isn’t it? Everything is out there to see and eventually, every bubble bursts to reveal a truth we hide from daily.
My thighs are strong now, from all of the running and walking I do. They feel strong, and look strong. They keep me standing when my senses would otherwise fail me.
But still, as I observe them poking avoid the waterline of my bath my stomach lurches for a moment. An echo of disgust, harping back to my days of starvation and low self-esteem.
Unbidden, into my mind, comes a thought with the strength of an anvil singing through my brain:
I will not cow from my own body.
More surprising, I find myself meaning it with a force that is a union of power, strength of character and wisdom that I will no longer deny for fear of sounding egotistical.
My journey of acceptance and relationship with my body has been, like so many, a very hilly ride where the depths have sunken to lows I can barely think of and the highs have offered breathtaking views of glory of Self.
Since the age of seventeen or so, my body has been a quiet game of tug of war where my self-esteem and logic often raged. I had the logic to know that my body was only a mere fraction of who I am, but self-esteem so low I didn’t have the strength to curb my actions to my logic.
Whilst this began a dangerous battle with many of my daily habits, what was most marked was the silence of my struggle.
I was willing to share my struggle with depression or anxiety freely. I felt no shame there. Yet my body, well, if I suggested to anyone that I was less than happy with my weight or appearance than that just invited them to agree and confirm my worst fears.
Even now, the majority of my best friends, the closest loves of my life, do not know that this is something I struggle with. And if they do, they imagine it is a battle I won many years ago. I dusted off my hands and walked off into the sunset.
Yet sometimes, even in the sunset, we can be blinded from the truth. So we must affirm it. Daily.
What is my truth? I asked myself this as I sat in the bath, looking at my thighs where moments before I felt only disgust.
I will not cow from my body.
My truth is that I am a union of mind, body and soul. I cannot love my mind, relish my soul and disgust at my body. This is the trinity that cannot be broken.
When I love one, I love all. When I fail to love one, I fail to love all.
My truth is that I am decidedly intelligent person, able to equip myself with the tools I need to thrive. My strength of conviction has brought me back from the brink of so many self-inflicted disasters.
And so too, will my self conviction remind me that I will not cow from my body, I will praise it. As I do my mind and soul.