How walking my dog helped me learn to love myself
Something happened recently. I started liking myself.
I’ve had body image issues my entire life. I have a chubby tummy with a large chest. My brain interpreted that as awful.
But in the last seven months or so, something changed. I stopped thinking about my body's appearance, and started thinking about what it does. And it wasn’t a deliberate process... it just happened.
In late 2019 I became so sick that I had to take a leave from work, and couldn’t leave the house. I sort of prepped for COVID-19’s shelter-in-place without even knowing it.
When I started to recover my energy, my dog, Sadie, and I started to take walks. Let me correct that... Sadie and I started to take strolls.
Clocking in at probably one mph, and going no more than one mile, we both stretched our legs, breathed in the fresh air, and just enjoyed being outside.
I used every ounce of my energy for this stroll with Sadie. So picture me, laying on my couch, in a loose fitting romper, not wearing a bra, (sorry, don’t picture that), and then it’s time to walk Sadie. Do you think I had the energy to put on different clothes? Hell no. I barely had the energy to take her out. So what to do...? Go as I am.
And to be completely honest, the reason I was wearing that loose romper and no bra, was because everything hurt. In addition to lack of energy, my body was in pain, and any clothing caused pressure. I wasn’t about to put myself in pain just in case the neighbors dare see my droopy boobs.
It was somewhat liberating. Perspective is a lens that cracks when you get sick, and suddenly everything looks different. I think so many of you have probably felt this shift during the pandemic:
suddenly things that were previously so important, simply don’t matter at all.
Now I am in less pain and have more consistent energy. Do you think I have reverted to my old perspective? Again, hell no. I’ll admit I wear a bra now, but I definitely have switched to those comfy lounge ones!
I don’t hesitate to walk around the neighborhood in my comfortable clothes. I don’t mind my underwear lines, or the shape of my body. Besides, I think I look pretty cute.
My daily walks are so meaningful to me. Sadie and I have been watching spring unfold in our neighborhood. The trees went from bare to blooms, the roses appeared, the bougainvillea is everywhere, the bees hum and birds sing, and I’m so grateful my body is well enough to walk me through it.
I find myself musing little poetic thoughts and sending them to friends. WHO AM I?
The other day I set up my new tripod and used the self timer to take a handful of new pics for Brindle Market’s social media content. Strange thing, I didn’t hate them. I didn’t hate the curves that I’ve so often thought “if only they were over here instead of there.”
I guess the true test will be when I emerge from my home sanctuary when the world is safe again for someone with a weaker immune system. Will I be strong and empowered then? Man I hope so.
- I'm wearing Brindle Market's Take Care of Others tee in the pics.
- I hope you love yourself, too.