If you want self-esteem, do esteemable things.
A few weeks ago I weighed myself. This is something I very rarely do, because it hasn’t been much help in my life, but I was curious. The number that I saw didn’t surprise or phase me. I didn’t take it as some sign that I was a morally superior or inferior human being. It seemed right in line with what I thought was reasonable for me. It seemed normal.
It is worth noting that this weight is a good 60 pounds more than I have weighed in the past. It is also worth noting that I am categorically overweight.
When this picture was taken, I had just finished a run. I had woken up as the sun was rising in Joshua Tree National Park, put on some booty shorts (because I hate pants, real talk) and rolled out of my tent, dislodging stray rocks that stuck to my skin. I drank some coffee leftover from the day before from my trusty travel mug, stretched probably not enough, and I ran. I didn’t turn on the MapMyRun App because it would eat too much of my battery, and I would rather have had music. On my run the sun ascended and started to sear me a little, I got really unbelievably salty, and sunscreen burned my eyes. I watched an indescribably beautiful golden hue spread across the park and I cried.
I felt beautiful. Not in a look-at-me-I’m-such-a-babe way, but in a life is gorgeous, I’m glad to be living it way.
When I got home from my trip I got in the shower and watched days and days of sweat, dust, dirt and sand slide down my body and into the tub. I was content and tired, felt like I had actually done something with my last few days that was out of my routine and that it had left me fundamentally calm.
While scrolling through my pictures I ran across the one in this post and I paused. It was just post run and I think I look funny. My shorts are all willy-nilly and my facial expression is sort of dazed. My shirt is half tucked in. That downward angle looking up? No one likes a picture taken from there.
When I look deeper, though, like really look at the sentiment caught in this picture, I can see that I am experiencing one of the best times of my life so far. I’m smiling down at my partner as I say “DON’T TAKE A PICTURE OF ME FROM THAT ANGLE” and I am loving him. I am using my body because I cherish and respect it, not forcing it to run out of hate for the way that it looks. I’m raising my arms in victory, because well, I woke up at dawn and ran in the dessert. That shit is victorious.
It seems important to say that this is a picture of my categorically overweight body feeling the best that it has ever felt.
It’s a picture of self-esteem through esteemable acts.
It is a picture of health.
I really can’t bring myself to care about the numbers.