Summer Retreat Day 5: Body Image

Before I start today’s post, a few things to keep in mind for the upcoming week:

Tuesday, June 7:  My birthday!  I have some plans with friends, and naturally will tell you all about it later!  It involves a delicious dinner.

Thursday, June 9:  Concert starting at 7:30 pm with Chamber Project St Louis at “The Chapel” (location here).  (This is the group that I was ON TV with in January.)

Recent posts (from the weekend) you should read if you haven’t:

A Night at the Circus

Feeling Good

Okay!  Business concluded.  Now for the fun.

Happy Monday, loyal blog readers.  Today I have a few students and a meeting with a woman who makes invitations.  I am also thinking of either going for a run or hitting the gym for some cardio (if it ends up being just way too hot to run in the afternoon, since I didn’t get up early).  Should be a really great day, though hot.


I am not entirely up to date on the virtual summer retreat, but I think that’s about par for the course and perfectly acceptable.  I’m doing what I can.  It’s been an odd week—I feel like I’m on summer vacation, yet I still have work and stuff to do.  Plus that constant feeling that I am forgetting something but not being able to recall what it is.


Anyway, I decided to look over Day 5: Body Image for today.  As a woman, obviously I have body image issues.  On the one hand, I’m in better shape today than I have been since I started dating Chris.  On the other hand, it’s not as if I was happy with my body THEN either.  So it’s a double edged sword.  I’m strong, I’m capable, I can run for miles, I can lift heavy objects, I’m in great health.  I can wear SHORTS in public without worrying too much about it, and I can run wearing only those shorts and a sports bra and feel confident.  But it only takes a look, or a thought, or a pair of jeans that are too tight out of the dryer, for those ugly fat thoughts to reenter my head.  I definitely still think of myself as overweight (even though my BMI is not overweight, it’s still on the top end of the scale) but I want OTHER people to think of me as thin.  (and the most beautiful girl in the room…isn’t that what everybody wants?)


(yes, I always dress in those colors, why do you ask?)

So, what does the VSR recommend?

write a letter to yourself filled with self-compassion. in part 1, you will forgive yourself on any perceived ‘flaws’, and in part 2, detail the many gorgeous and delicious features you have that you LOVE [both inside and out].

Forgive myself for my flaws?  Is she crazy?  How will I improve them if I forgive myself for them?

Oh, I get it.  I’m supposed to be happy in my skin right now.  Rather than consider myself a work in progress…  I am not sure I’m ready to do that.  I am fine with being positive about some of my “gorgeous and delicious” features, but how can I forgive myself for my flaws?  Do I stop with teeth bleaching and hair removal then?   Start eating cheesecake every day?  Quit the gym?  I’m certainly not ready to do any of those things (though the cheesecake is tempting).

Inside and out?  I can embrace my inside—my sense of humor, my quick wit, my patience with children, my kindness, and my guilt.  Yes, I shall embrace my guilt!  (Guilt over what, you ask?  Why, you name it, anything that I could have done that I haven’t!  Constant sense of guilt!)

Outside…I do love my hair, I love that my teeth whitening is working, I love my smile, I love my eyes, I love my height, and yes, I do love that I can wear shorts this summer.  Do you know the last time I wore shorts comfortably all summer?  Without too many worries of people staring at my fat thighs?

But that doesn’t mean I’m ready to settle yet, do you hear?  I want more defined muscles and a smaller waist.  I will get there.  I hope for smaller thighs and butt too, though we’ll see how genetics serve me there.

And I need to quit biting my fingers.  Less mutilated hands would go a long way.  Chris generally thinks I am beautiful all over…except my fingers.  And you know, negative self-hating thoughts.  Meh.

5 minutes focused on loving yourself — and forgiving yourself for any perceived ‘imperfections’. [emphasis on the word perceived]

I haven’t really embraced the whole meditation aspect of this retreat…yet.  But maybe practicing the violin is sort of like meditating?  You are alone with your music, focusing on the HERE and NOW and concentrating on yourself.  When I watch myself in the mirror playing, sometimes I notice my strong arms, my nimble and able fingers, and I love the profile of myself playing the violin…I think that is when I am most beautiful.  I also know it’s something I do well, better than most everybody else (statistically speaking, there are really so few excellent violinists in the world, that with a margin of error, I could be considered the best.  You know, with a plus or minus 2 percent or something.)  I feel a great sense of confidence when playing, backed up with years of experience and tens of thousands of hours of practice.



Haven’t changed that much either!

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