Well that’s exactly what today was supposed to be… a Saturday spent sunbathing, swimming and writing on my family’s sailboat moored in Portage Bay.
On hot sunny Seattle days like we’ve been having recently, everyone and their mother emerges squinty-eyed from their dens and caves, flocking to all available public waterfront real estate. It’s on these beaches that they lay their beach-towel stakes and bear their blinding-white bodies in the hopes of soaking up some rays and much needed Vitamin D.
Myself, being a little claustrophobic, well I couldn’t be less attracted to these scenes. On an 85 ˚F day the last place you’ll find me is at Houghton or Madison Beach parks. Slurping lukewarm oysters sounds more appealing.
In fact, if I’m going to be completely honest, I’m really not much of a “beach person.” Sitting there broiling like a pig on a spit, beads of sweat forming under my knees, thighs sticking together… Ughhhh!!! It’s like nails on a chalkboard.
“Well that’s why you go jump in the water…” is what all beach people would say to me, to which I’d reply:
“Yeah… but then you have to re-apply the sunscreen that doesn’t absorb because you’re all wet. And if you try and dry off with your towel you get copious amounts of sand everywhere that you’re still finding weeks after the beach ever happened.”
Yeah. I’m not a beach person. In part because of the “sweating” bit. In part because of the “sand” bit. But also because of the “self-conscious” bit.
Yes, you heard me right.
It is entirely possible that a professional ballerina could be self-conscious about her body. At any rate this ballerina is.
I always thought I’d grow out of it. That one day I’d be okay with donning the itsy-bitsy, tini-weenie, yellow polka dot bikini. I mean I wear a leotard and tights every day for goodness sake (and believe me that’s much less flattering than a bathing suit)! But the older I get the more naked I feel and critical my eyes become. They whisper disappointment and scream dissatisfaction when confronted with the reflection in the mirror.
“You can run… You do run. A lot. But you can’t hide those thighs…” or “Um… yeah… no one wants to see that. Maybe you should cover up a little.”
And yet it doesn’t matter how much I run, how much I cover up; I can’t escape the fact that I don’t measure up to the world’s “Sport’s Illustrated” standard- shoot, to my own perfectionistic standard. My waist could be smaller, my legs a little leaner, and oh if only that cellulite would just disappear (yes, ballerinas aren’t exempt from this natural phenomena either…)!
So I guess it’s kind of a blessing in disguise that these strange thunderstorms have hit… I’m confused. Are we in the Midwest? Haha!
Instead of feeling slightly self-conscious in my swimsuit at the sailboat (which also would’ve been asking for electrocution), I sat comfortably in Uptown Espresso perusing the pages of Hinds Feet on High Places. And as I read about little Much Afraid I came across a snippet that spoke to me profoundly:
“Thy joints and thighs are like a supple band
On which are met
Fair jewels which a cunning master hand
Hath fitly set. In all the palace, search where’er you please,
In every place
There’s none that walks with such a queenly ease,
Nor with such grace.”
I was reminded of a couple particularly important facts. You could say they’re paramount.
Firstly, I am created in the image of God. Secondly “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” My body was formed and fashioned perfectly for the special purpose that God has for me. He knew what He was doing when He made me. The cunning Master Hand doesn’t make junk. He knew exactly what I’d look like – with all my moles, my green eyes, my shorter right leg… even (dare I say it?) my “cottage cheese.” And He delights in it. All of it. But more than that …
He thinks I’m beautiful.
“How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!” ~ Song of Songs 4:1
My Mom’s always said “He broke the mold when He made you Jessika.” But the thing is He breaks the mold when he makes each of us. Not one of us is alike. Not one. We’re each different. We’re each unique. We’re each so special. And each and every one of us is beautiful just the way we are.
Goodbye Self-Consciousness. Goodbye Disappointment. Goodbye Dissatisfaction.
Hello Confidence. Hello Beautiful me.
Hello Beautiful you!