Goodbye, Past-Self

Someone shared a thought-provoking post on facebook, and I'm sure it's been around the block, BUT if you haven't read it yet, check out Anna Gannon's blurb Dear Pre-Mom Self: It's Time to Let You Go. I really connected with what she wrote. I've been struggling with the insane ways that my life has changed in eight and a half months - and they're not all baby-related. Maybe my baby Comet hasn't made her grand entrance into the world yet, but I'm already a mom. And a wife. And an adult.

All of that happened in less than a year.

I know that people go through crazy life changes all of the time. Everyone has had a moment where they are simply overwhelmed by what is happening to them. Those moments are the thresholds of choice: will you stay, or will you go? Going doesn't always mean selfishly running, and staying isn't always the wisest option. Every situation is different.

And so is your reaction to it.

What follows are two letters I've written: one to my past-self and one to my body as it is right now (bloated and huge and clumsily pregnant). They are written to encourage both me and you to stand firm in who we are today and all of the beautiful and messy things that that entails. We know that we will change again. We know that we used to be someone else. But today, we are only us - in transition.

Love this transition from sunset into dusk...the darkness already creeping from the mountain shadows.
Progressions are awkward and yet beautiful in their contrast. 

Dear Past-Self:

Not a day goes by that I don't miss you. And this is wrong. I can't wait for you to come back. A part of me expects you to - that one day I will climb out of adulthood and find myself alone, unencumbered, and wandering again. You were such fun, had so much energy to pour into the world at your touch. 

It's not enjoyable to tell myself to leave you behind. I still feel like I could be that person (even though the truth is, I can't). But if I'm going to move forward and live to the fullest in who I am now, then I want to acknowledge a few things about you first. 

You have made me who I am today. You went through a lot of tough things to get me here (granted, a good deal of them were caused by your own idiotic mistakes, but still). You decided to grow outside of your comfort zone, always eager to leave home. You tried to listen when God told you to do things that scared you. Sometimes you ran from Him. 

But you stuck around for 24 years. You slowly became an adult, recognizing that there are more important things than flirting and traveling the world and having the perfect fashion sense and being noticed by everyone. You were forced to realize two things: that you were scared of being truly alone, and that you didn't know how to love unselfishly. 

I don't want to waste my time missing you anymore. I want to be excited for the new things I get to learn next to my husband. I want to be ecstatic about having a kid - not reluctant to have major responsibilities. I want to be pumped for learning a new definition for "adventure"...not disappointed that I have to have a baby with me everywhere. 

Farewell. I'm moving on.

> > >

In my MOPS 28-Day Challenge, I was dared to write my body an honest "love letter," if you will. Because wasting time hating on your body is pointless. Your body does a heck of lot for you to survive. It was created by God to serve your needs.

Being pregnant just makes that a bit more of a challenge.

I think it's important that, while focusing on self-image is exhausting and selfish, we do need to take time to recognize our own beauty. If we don't, we're saying that God screwed up when He made us. We're not perfect, we're not more beautiful than someone else; but we don't need to walk around cowering under the shadow of our imperfections. I challenge you to rise above that.

So here it is:

Dear Body, 

In the past 8 and 3/4 months, you have grown and changed and started speaking a new language that I don't understand. You are not always hungry when I want to eat, you pee when I distinctly don't want to go to the bathroom (AGAIN), and you seem to find great difficulty in performing tasks that used to be a breeze.

You and I are pregnant. 

I keep looking for that milestone of having the baby, so I can "get my body back" - as if the thing I'm walking around in right now isn't mine. As if the baby will come and POOF I shall be a teenager running around barefoot again. The problem is, there are only more changes in store for us. You will never exactly be the same body again. 

Despite all of this insanity that does not make sense to me on a daily basis, I have come to realize that I can still cherish you as my own. When I workout, stretch, or do yoga, I realize that I can still feel in-tune with you. We figure out new ways to do the movements together.

I've come to notice your beauty, too. We look very curvacious (okay, usually sort of lumpy). But we look strong, too, because we are carrying a child and that is not an easy weight to bear. We also look expectant and happy - what people notice first about us physically is that we are pregnant. That is not a negative thing. It means I am holding a life. It means that I will soon be a mom. It means someone inside me is trying to get a glimpse of the world through my eyes and ears and mouth. 

Beautiful. Seemingly impossible. 

I see the little purple squiggly lines appearing around our belly button, thighs, and butt (stretch marks), and the little extra fat deposits that have latched on. I see the way we are tired around the eyes and the way we stand trying to protect our back. But I cannot let myself be upset. This is my body. It is here to serve a purpose. 

And I love it still. Even though occasionally I look down and think that this human flesh cannot possibly be me anymore. 

Thank you, God, for giving me with healthy, strong body that has all it needs to create and sustain life within. Thank you for allowing me to feel the impossible joy of Comet's movements every day. And thank you for giving me enough energy to still do the things I love, like hiking. 

Goodbye, body of mine that I used to idolize. Here's to being transformed and finding new strength.

What do you love about your body? There are always parts we'd rather change. Even before pregnancy, I had moments of disliking my body (I honestly hate my nose). Loving your body is not about focusing on perfection. It is about focusing on being able to do things with our body that are important to us.

P.S. Waking up this morning was hard, and Josh and I are both chomping at the bit for this munchkin to arrive! Hahah ;)

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