Last night, I walked over to my altar, which happens to be an end table, and picked up an empty journal one of my best friends recently gifted me. On the cover, it says Be Pretty Brave.
I crawled in bed and started to write, instead of reading through the pages of a book from the tall pile that’s growing on my nightstand. I needed to write in the same way that I need to tell someone the truth when it eats at me.
When I have my breast explant, it will be the first time ever that I’ll have seen my real, healthy body–what God gave me–as a woman. Before my augmentation, I was a teenager, and then a young woman in her early 20’s. I started to struggle with eating disorders and body dysmorphia before I got my period. Before I was even able to grow into my woman’s body, I hated my Earth Suit. And this disgust lasted for a very long time. Well beyond the years of getting a breast augmentation.
And finally, this self-loathing and fear of my body came to a halt three years ago, when I was twenty-seven.
I finally feel healthy in my body (and mind, and spirit). I’m not starving or hungry, I’m not overfed or fearful that I’m not enough. I’m simply, me, with the exception of 1.75 pounds sitting under my chest; a decision I made for someone else, that I carry around with me like something heavy that’s gotten lost at the bottom of my purse. When I get my implants removed, I will have the chance to fully appreciate me. Beautiful, wonderful, me. Just as I am. And this excites me.
I’m going to tell you a secret.
Matt and I both want kids. We want to try and start a family. But undeniably, I need to have this explant first. I need to live in my body, appreciate it, thank it, even if only for a while. I just need a taste of me, simple and as I am. I want to understand what God’s given me, this miraculous Earth Suit that does so much for me everyday, and I want to understand this, all before attempting to give life to another miracle, preciously tucked into another Earth Suit.
I thought it might be selfish to admit this, that I need more time to be me, instead of rushing to have kids because Matt’s two years from 40. And that’s why I wrote in my journal last night. I wanted to understand if I was being selfish or not. And what I came to was that I (and my husband) are learning about sustainable health, together. And it’s important that we feel solid in our foundation before we build an addition onto our house.
I find out when my explant is scheduled for this Friday, and I’m hoping it’s soon. I want to go back to Costa Rica this winter, with my Pretty Brave women, and celebrate the physical transformation of myself. Celebrate myself in just the way I am.
I already feel like I’m inching closer to my divine body. I realize I’m perfect, in just the way I am, and I’ve forgiven myself for old decisions. And to be honest, I’m grateful for the old me. The woman who looked outside of herself for worthiness and validation. My friend posted the other day, “You don’t know who you are until you know who you aren’t.” I’d say so.
If my procedure can’t be done before this trip, that’s okay. I love myself now, as much as I will with my explant. This is a decision I’m making out of radical self-acceptance–not a goal weight or goal body. I’m perfect just the way I am, and I accept myself, always. I’d just feel more full, more full-full, in an Earth Suit that’s all mine.
I’m telling you all of this because these are some pretty brave decisions I’m making–rapid transformations inspired by my inner voice (the nice one). If you’re thinking about what brave decisions you can make in your life, I encourage you to listen within and move towards it. Text a girlfriend to help you with your accountability and check in every week with them–at least in the beginning. Commit to experiences that make you feel full-full; that is, full of nutritional food, but also, full of spiritual happiness, full of joy, full of conversations, full of connection, full of friendships, full of love.
I’m going back to Costa Rica as my own personal medicine. I need the accountability of this particular retreat center that I yearn to revisit. I crave it’s environment, the open tree houses propped above a full waterfall, the wild outdoors that’s so alive it’s elements ate my The New Yorker pages in one week–totally disintegrated it, and not surprisingly, I left it’s womb more alive then ever. More full than ever.
This particular retreat makes me feel as close to me as possible. And I used to think that was selfish. But now I realize, that connecting with other women, connecting with myself, getting silent, it’s all a part of reclaiming the truth that I know myself to be. I am a miracle, and it’s not selfish to remind myself of that. I’m going to The Sanctuary in Costa Rica, surrounded by women who are my allies, who pray for my success, women who are all inspirational teachers in their own right, women who have experienced life, and there is something so selfless, so shameless, about this journey to be with these women.
So I’m going back. And I’m very excited about going with my holy body. My eyes fill, thinking about wearing a bikini in my body. More symbolically, I imagine myself in ceremony on the last day, amongst my sisters in the jungle, honoring the physical release of my breast implants, which sounds silly, but it’s the last piece of evidence that remains in my body that reminds me of an old feeling of unworthiness. I’m honoring the bravery it took to listen to the voice within me.
Photos Mary Beth Koeth and Cristin Powers