35 years and two weeks ago I was given a very special gift. I was given the gift of a physical body. My *patriarchal blessing tells me that I shouted for joy at the prospect of receiving a physical body. When I first heard that as an almost 15 year-old girl, I remember being surprised that I shouted for joy. Joy? Really? Over something so trivial as a physical body? You see I was never really that into my body. I think I have felt like my body was something to be ashamed of, something that weighed me down and held me back. I had never really seen it as a blessing. I would say that I have always seen myself as a very spiritual person. I am not saying that I have always been in tune or made perfect choices. I have always known though, that I have a Father in Heaven that created me. He created all of me.
My coming into this world was met with a lot of excitement from my family. I was the first girl after 4 boys. For my 35th birthday my mom sent me some memories of my birth, I would like to share part of her writings.
“When you were born Tiffany, our whole world rejoiced. I didn’t believe I would ever get a little girl after four little boys, so I prepared myself by planning for another boy, and even though we would have been pleased with another boy, it seemed unbelievable to have a little girl. The delivery room was silent as you were born—everyone knew this mom had four boys and the suspense produced almost a breathless silence. As you entered this life, the doctor said something like, ‘will you look at that!’ I said, ‘What is it?’ No one answered. ‘What is it?’ I asked again. No comment. I looked up at Dad and he was crying. The silence continued. Finally Dad choked out, ‘it’s a little girl.’ Of course it was hard to believe, but a new, joyful adventure had commenced.”
|Oh my goodness! My little Amelia does look like me!|
Soon after the joy there was worry and angst. I got very ill. I had a really high fever without an explanation as to why. The doctors kept me at the hospital to run a bunch of tests. One of these tests was a painful spinal tap. They wouldn’t allow my parents to be in the room—sending them away to walk the halls. My mom writes, “My anxiety level was high, but there was a little relief when no abnormalities were found. However, they insisted on keeping you a couple of days in the hospital and wouldn’t allow me to spend the night, so I got up in the middle of the night at least once each night and drove to the hospital so I could nurse you. I spent much of those couple of days going back and forth to the hospital to feed and cuddle you, and I spent much time on my knees pleading with the Lord to ‘please make her better.’” It was after my mother submitted her will to the Father, my condition improved. I love this line from her memoir, “What was His plan for her? Could it be different than mine?”
As I read this, I was struck with the thought—“What is His plan for me? Could it be different than mine?” I am sure that most of us, which believe in God, have had this thought 1,000 times. What is His plan for me? How is it different than my own? I believe God has a plan for me, and it is much different than the plan I had had for myself.
Right now I know that part of His plan is for me to learn how to take care of, and heal my physical body. There is a lot for me to learn as I have never been one that even took much thought about my body. Honestly, it has only ever been a source of shame and embarrassment. Maybe it was my rough introduction to a physical body. Maybe somehow when I got sick as a new infant, I somehow was turned off to the whole pain and suffering aspect and it caused me to be turned off to the whole physical body experience in general.
I had never appreciated all of the amazing things my physical body can do. I have had many experiences lately that have helped me to realize that I have been approaching my health problems the wrong way. Taking care of myself has always felt like a punishment. Yet, in reality, it is an amazing blessing. Having a physical body—no matter the shape and the limitations is a blessing. It isn’t God that teaches me to hate my body—it is the one “person” that can never have one—Satan.
So I am approaching this from a new angle—one of gratitude. President Howard W. Hunter said, “Happiness is found along the way of this journey.” I am also not trying really hard not to be ashamed or embarrassed. That is one of the reasons why I have chosen to share this journey with “the world” via my blog. Another reason is that I am hoping to get help and encouragement from my support group. But most of all, I am also hoping that sharing my healing, epiphanies, and struggles will help others. Not only those that suffer from body hatred, but I am hoping that others will liken my circumstances unto theirs and glean hope and encouragement. I try to write with the Spirit and I know that Spirit can help us all in our unique trials. So if I say something that strikes a chord, please share it!
(I wrote this weeks ago. I have been so scared to committing to share this journey. Every day I get an impression that I need to start sharing this journey. Every day I chicken out. I promised myself that today would be the day. So folks . . . here it is! My first post in my new series—My blessed body)
*check out the Latter-day Lingo page for definitions for any words that may be unfamiliar.
*check out the Latter-day Lingo page for definitions for any words that may be unfamiliar.
I totally relate to this post. I have struggled with finding joy in my body my whole life, and it's only been recently, when I took the focus away from what my body couldn't do (or what it didn't look like) and started focusing on all of the amazing things it does. Sometimes I don't even realize until I have a kink in my back or my shoulder hurts how wonderful it is to have a healthy body.ReplyDelete
I'm not sure what your new adventure entails, but I would like to recommend the book Health at Every Size. I really love their philosophy and how it focuses on having a healthy body.
I'm glad you were brave enough to click that Publish button. :)
I love the book recommendation just by its title alone! I have spent too much time ignoring and hating a my healthy body because it didn't look the same or function the same as others! Thank you for the encouragement!Delete
I don't know if you've ever read anything from Brene Brown, (she's a researcher/author that studies shame). She would call this post "ordinary courage"--because you shared something that you feel is an imperfection. It takes a lot of guts to own the things we're shameful about. That is a beautiful first step of the journey!ReplyDelete
As soon as I read your post, I was reminded about a BYU Devotional I listened to the other day. It's actually all about the body and had some very profound insights that gave me some perfect food for thought. (And provided me mental justification for taking the time to care for my body.) Here's the link: http://speeches.byu.edu/index.php?act=viewitem&id=2123
I think you'll really enjoy it.
So, now I'm very curious as to what you're doing to learn to love your body. I've recently (almost 4 months ago, so I guess not so recently anymore) started "relearning how to eat." Basically changing my diet. First benefit is that I've lost 30 lbs. Second benefit is that for the first time in my life, I finally feel like my body is doing something good--not because it's losing weight--but because my body is actually responding to my efforts at improved health. (It hasn't always happened like that...) Another benefit that I hope is happening is that my kids can see the changes in my habits and will learn positive skills to build on in their own lives.
OK--sorry for the book. As you can tell, I'm very interested in your journey! Can't wait to hear more!
I can't wait to watch the video! There will be more (a lot more) info on the loving my body. So what have you been doing to relearn to eat? I would love to know more about your journey as well!Delete
I've been doing a program called 20/20 Lifestyles. It's a program developed by a carioligist/researcher and run out of a health club up here. (I'm doing the online version.) Basically, it cuts you down to eating lean protein, small amounts of healthy fats, and berries, (this also includes protein shakes and bars), and then adds food groups back in one at a time. This both helps reduce cravings and shows you which (if any) food groups throw off your groove. Along with this, it helps you eat 35-40% protein, 25% fat, and 35-40% carbs. The balance is to help you stay satisfied and stave off cravings. This is the first thing I've done that I feel is actually maintainable. Anyway--their website is 2020lifestyles.com. Oh--and their food tracker is free. (And I get no benefit whatsoever from telling people about it!) :)Delete
Thank you Sis.!! So are you :)Delete
I'm excited to read about your journey. I've always thought you were beautiful! But I know it's hard to see yourself as others see you.ReplyDelete
Thank you! You are so sweet Kendra :)Delete
Oh I love you Tiff! You are a wonderful, beautiful person inside and out. Thank you for having the courage to share.ReplyDelete
Thank you Brooke! You are awesome too! Love you girl!Delete
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1.Tiffany you are sunshine on a cloudy day. Keep it going!
2.Love it! I loved the story of when your mom found out you were a girl. Made me teary eyed. Excited for this series, and you're wonderful.
3.Proud of you Tiff!! You inspire me xo
Thank u for your wonderful insight and having the courage to share it! You are such a genuine writer and I admire your perspective on life and the struggles that come with it. I think everyone can relate to this post in one way or another. You're great!ReplyDelete
Wow! Thanks Nic! I think struggle is a part of life, no matter what. Talking about it helps us to realize that we are not alone! Thank you for your kind words!Delete
Some encouragement from my my mom :)ReplyDelete
Wahoo! That takes a lot of courage girlie! I'm proud of your commitment and your willingness to seek support and encouragement. Believe it or not, I plan on being your biggest cheerleader!!! May Heavenly Father's choicest blessings shower down upon you as you pursue your journey. I'm sure you know the road may be a little rough at times, but you will become stronger than ever as you walk it's path. And just think of who you will become in the process. How will you affect other people's lives? It makes me smile just to think about it.
Love you for your courage.
I too share your "body hatred" if my own body. I am learning to love it. I love your honesty and courage. Thank youReplyDelete
I love the title of this section of your blog. "My blessed body." I can't help thinking how sad Heavenly Father is that we hate the gift of the body He has given us. It adds guilt to the equation of poor body image. Our bodies are amazing, truly amazing, infinite masterpieces. No matter what it looks like, they are true miracles that we walk around in everyday. Seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, moving, birthing, feeding miracles. My own body has the ability to grow and sustain life, not everyones body does that. Mine does and when I just think about that one aspect, my whole perspective of my body changes, a paradigm shift.ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing your journey. It completely encourages others to start an exercise program and to view their body differently. I hope some of the hard bodies view it and they see how courageous it is for someone who is overweight to just show up to exercise.