As many of you remember, it was my new year’s resolution to run a 5k and in March, I actually did it! And on top of that, I’ve started really training for my next one which I think I’ll complete in the next few months or so. My goal is to keep running 5ks, work up to a 10k, and possibly (in a few years or so) a half marathon. (Not sure how I feel about a full marathon yet. Nothing about that sounds fun, you know? A 5k can be fun. A 10k, even. A half marathon is work but I’d feel accomplished afterward. A marathon? Ha. I think marathon is Greek for “anti-fun.”)
It’s not that I love to run. I really don’t. It’s okay, but when I’m running I’d much rather be doing something else. (Painting, reading, playing piano, sleeping, pulling out my eyelashes one by one.) But as long as I can remember I’ve been so obsessed with body image and picking apart my body. It started when I decided I wanted to be a competitive dancer. That chunk of my life has forever warped my sense of “beauty” and “perfection” that it’s hard to get through one day without wishing I had smaller boobs and a dangerously low BMI. I took up running races not to achieve that unrealistic (and unhealthy) standard, but rather so that for just ONCE in my life, I could be proud of the body God gave me. And running gives me reason to be proud. I mean, dang, when was the last time you ran longer than 30 minutes? It’s not easy! Your body is super rad! It can do amazing things if you just believe in it.
On my run yesterday, I couldn’t help (for obvious and jiggly reasons) but mentally repeat a phrase I was told by one of my dance teachers:
“Lindsay, if it jiggles, you can lose it.”
Ohhh, my boobs. I got so much flack from my dance teachers for having them. I was told they were “slovenly” and that I needed to run more (on top of the several hours a day I was already dancing) to lose them. But no matter what I did, they wouldn’t get smaller. I duct taped them down and wore ace bandages and sports bras to bed. Good GOD I did everything I possibly could to be a flat-chested dancer to please these people. I stopped eating and dropped an alarming fifteen pounds in three weeks, and they stayed the same (and even looked larger against my emaciated frame!) I was made to feel like having boobs was my fault, even though it wasn’t my fault. It’s not like I went to the boob store and was like “HEY let me pick up a pair of the biggest ol’ boobs you got!” I didn’t sit in my room all day and rub Miracle-Gro on them, or take funky vitamins from the black market to boost my bust. Rather, I just looked down and cursed my Creator for burdening me with such a disgusting exterior.
So now, anytime I run, that phrase goes through my head at least once. “Lindsay, if it jiggles, you can lose it.” When I’m running, pretty much everything jiggles. Clearly my boobs happen to jiggle most, but everything is in motion. This makes it extremely hard to ignore the fact that if I “worked hard enough” and “ran long enough” I would lose these troublesome boobs once and for all.
But then God and my husband intervene.
I could lose part of the body that makes me me. I could lose something that is fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14.) I could lose something that was designed specifically to be found beautiful by the man God had set aside to be my husband, even before I was born.
The other night, my body-hating world got turned upside down. I was having dinner with a friend who confessed to me that she’s decided to get breast implants that look like mine. I was in complete shock. While I absolutely condemn this for so many reasons (are you saying your God didn’t get it right? are you crazy? your body is incredible! are you saying you want to accidentally slam doors on your giant boobs like I do? are you saying you want to not be able to wear tank tops because you’ll look slutty? are you saying you want to get cat calls from skeezy men on the street? are you saying you want to go through the emotional pain I go through every single day?!) it really got me thinking. Wow, this person is going to pay thousands of dollars to intentionally change her body to be the way mine has always been naturally. All the while, I put myself down, claiming to be worthless because I can’t fit into Victoria’s Secret lingerie. And now, someone else wants to intentionally do this?
Not only am I heartbroken for her, but I am also heartbroken for myself and the thousands of other women going through what she and I both go through: being told (both verbally and suggestively) that we’re not good enough the way we are. Our Creator clearly made a mistake. We won’t be beautiful until we weigh X lbs or have X hair color or wear X eyeshadow or consume less than X calories a day OR DON’T JIGGLE WHEN WE RUN.
Listen, ladies. If it jiggles, you can lose it. But you can also KEEP IT. I dare you to love your body the way it is and I double dog dare you to let other people love it, too.
DID I REALLY JUST WRITE A BLOG POST ABOUT MY BOOBS?
Yes. Yes I did. And you just read it.