Embracing the Damage

Tazzina-KintsugiYesterday I asked my husband to take a few photos of me in a tank top and pair of yoga pants to monitor my progress. When I looked at the photos, I was so disappointed in the sagging appearance of my arms, breasts, and tummy. I spent some time reflecting on my disappointed and came to some realizations.

Everyone carries baggage and wears invisible emotional scars from the pain we’ve experienced in life. When I was obese, I was carrying my ‘invisible’ emotional scars on the outside of my body in the way of excessive fat on my frame. Everyone could see it. I couldn’t hide it. I may have tried to pass myself off as a person who had her life together, but I couldn’t pretend I wasn’t dealing with some serious spiritual and emotional dysfunctions… It was on display for all to see and it embarrassed me immensely.

All addictions, if used long-term, cause damage to your physical body: alcohol, narcotics, tobacco, prescriptions, etc. Food is no different. Inside and out, my obesity has wreaked havoc on my body. Even as I reduce my weight to a healthy weight range, my body shape, loose skin, and stretch marks will forever remind me of the damage I inflicted on myself.

Today, I am mourning for the loss of what my body might have been had it been allowed to grow, mature, and thrive in an active and nutritionally balanced body. What if it had gone differently? What if it had never been broken? I can only imagine what my body would have looked like in its natural state. That body is extinct; never to be seen or felt again.

Although these thoughts can bring an element of melancholy, I am coming to terms with the disappointment triggered when I saw the photos of myself. No, I won’t experience life in my unique body the way nature intended; I squandered that gift. But you know what? I can make amends with my body. I can accept it for what it is.

There is a Japanese tradition called Kintsugi in which broken pottery is repaired with gold. This method actually highlights the damage. According to this philosophy, “it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.”

I like that. I’m adopting this philosophy and applying it to my body. I’m not going to feel ashamed or disappointed about the struggles in my past or the permanent effects on my physical appearance. This who I am and I am the sum off all previous experiences, sagging skin, stretch marks, and all.

I am embracing the damage and repairing it with gold.

… Now, it’s going to take a whole lotta’ gold, let me tell you. I’m gonna be priceless…

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