My body has swum in the deep Atlantic ocean. It has sailed boats and dived from rocks into the embracing waves.
My body has climbed mountains, and it has skied down them. It has waded in creeks and streams and paddled across rivers. It has been in caves and on natural stone bridges.
My body has walked through the woods, lovely and dark. My body has stood in the sun and heat of a southeastern summer and withstood the worst storms that weather could throw at it. My body has worked and harvested from the earth.
My body has held snakes and spiders and scorpions and been stung by bees and bitten by mosquitoes and scratched by cats and bruised by falls and car accidents and bumps and bangs.
My body has done without water and food.
My body has functioned through asthma and pneumonia and broken bones and a broken psyche.
My body has shaped, nurtured, carried life within it. My body has carried children in its arms and on its hips and on its back. It has hauled children in strollers and wagons and on sleds. It has lifted children up and cuddled them close. It has offered warmth, comfort, and protection.
My body has pushed cars and stood for hours in the sun and rain at the track and given shelter to baby animals and worked to help nurture wild creatures.
My body has been strong and fit and curvy and sexy. My body has been fat and out of shape and tired and sore.
My body sags and is deflated and floppy and sometimes I look at it and think it is gross and wish it was different, but it is my body and it has done all of these things and more and as bodies go it's pretty remarkable.
And...it carries me, the essential me, the non-physical me, it carries me through every day not matter what I do to it or say to it, no matter how I care (or don't care) for it. It just keeps going, determined to carry me to the end of my road as best it can.
I may never be beautiful in my eyes, but...I can at the very least remind myself of this amazing vessel that bears me through my days. I can at the very least work towards stopping or muting the constant internal dialog about how I am something lesser because I do not meet some false standard of beauty.
I am as beautiful as I perceive myself to be. I am as beautiful as I allow myself to be. I can be beautiful in ways beyond physical.
You are beautiful, too.
Let's celebrate us.