Maren Morris and Hozier are easily my two favorite artists, so when I saw a collaboration between the two of them, I was obviously ecstatic. However, I was also a little nervous because my high expectations meant I could be delivered some severe disappoint. Spoiler alert: I was not - this song is straight fire. The metaphor in the song refers to a relationship being as strong as the foundation of a house. While I am a big fan of strong relationships (shout out to my husband for being my rock even though you can never manage to get your socks in the laundry basket), I also think this metaphor can extend to us on an individual level.
Day 4: Build your core from the inside out
Who here has gained 20 pounds? Anyone? Just me? My gastroenterologist prescribed me a painkiller/antidepressant about 8 weeks ago. I have been struggling with some pretty wicked gastrointestinal issues, and my doctor thought my chronic fatigue and pain from my POTs might be impacting me both physically and mentally. She approached the topic of a mood modifier gently, but I'm totally game to try whatever she thinks will work. It seems to have leveled off my stomach pain a little and curbed some of my general anxiety, but it has also brought about a 20 pound weight gain. To the average person, it's probably not extraordinarily obvious that I've gained 20 pounds. But you know as well as I do what that kind of weight gain does to a person's psyche. I'd love to tell you that I can embrace my body at any size and the specific number doesn't bother me, but it does.
As I was listening to this song, I realized that it can resonate in my current situation. The chorus says, "When the bones are good, the rest don't matter. Yeah, the paint could peel, the glass could shatter." Aesthetics are so important in our society. And we often hear, "You've just got to love the body you have." And this is a novel message, but I don't think it falls on our ears the way it's supposed to. Remember, you can "love" something and not "like" that same thing. For example, when things are good in my marriage, I both love and like my husband. However, when things aren't good, I may love him and not like him. This means that I would still lay down my life for him, but there are certainly some things we could work through to make our relationship better. Body positivity means you love your body and your soul, but it doesn't have to mean that you don't want to be stronger or faster or healthier. Body positivity doesn't have to equal stagnation.
I believe even the most mentally healthy people probably suffer from a bit of jealousy or envy during particular seasons of their lives. My frame has put on 20 pounds. My jeans are a little tighter. I'm squishier in certain areas (and it's never the areas you want it to be...am I right?!). But what I can maintain through this season is my foundation, my core, my bones. At the risk of sounding cliche or motivational speakery, whether I'm 165 or 145 pounds has no effect on the impact I can make on this world (however, I know that some people are certainly discriminated for their size in our society, and I'm sensitive to that fact). I am still meeting with students and helping them understand how to make decisions that impact their future. I am still helping build a beautiful life for my children with my husband. At my core, in my bones, I am still strong and compassionate and capable of making this world better for myself and the people around me.
And I know what you're thinking: "Okay, Emily. That's cute. And it all sounds good in theory, but what does it look like when I've actually gained 20 pounds and don't 'like' myself?" That's a question I've been asking myself every day for the last 2 months, and here's what I've figured out. We worry so much about the aesthetics. It's funny because as I've gained this weight, I've continued to run. I've continued to practice most of my same physical habits, and my body still keeps changing.
All this time, I was focusing on the wrong part of my body. I was focusing on how my body looked from the outside when true comfort could have been found by working on my body from the inside. Just like your relationship with your spouse, you can love him or her (your body) and not necessarily like everything he/she does (your weight, your speed, your hair). In practice, it looks like looking in the mirror and forcing yourself to truly find one part of your body that you like. And, just like before, talk to yourself the way you'd talk to your significant other: "Hey Emily. Your hair is getting really long, and it is framing your face really well." Now, that you've boosted your confidence, you do the hard stuff. Compliment yourself on the things people can't see: "Hey Emily. I'm proud of how hard you've been working to help your 1 pm appointment understand thesis sentences."
Build your bones. You're going to gain weight. You're going to get saggy. You're going to acquire some laugh lines and some thinkles (those wrinkles at the top of your forehead that you get from looking at your kids when they do that thing you just told them not to do). The paint is going to peel. The glass is going to shatter. But, your house will keep standing if you build that foundation.
Keep fighting the good fight!