Dear Husband, I Choose To Believe You

Love, Self

“I just feel like beauty is so subjective. You can either feel ugly or feel beautiful and whichever one you’re right. That’s your reality. On most days I choose to see myself as beautiful.” – A text I sent to a friend last year

 Dear husband,

 I’ve been having a hard time recently. Physically, I don’t feel like myself. Last year, when I sent that text, it was easy to see myself as beautiful because things were going “my way.” My acne had finally cleared up and my weight was a non-issue. I never even thought about it. But after that intense wave of low lows in the fall followed by the medication experiments and then the “just getting older,” I haven’t been feeling like me. 

 For one, I feel heavier. Our new scale confirms this feeling. But that’s not really the issue. Mostly, I feel swollen and tired. I feel like my clothes don’t fit. I feel out of control. My body isn’t listening to me anymore. 

 I exercise and nothing changes. I exercise more. I gain weight. “It’s muscle,” they say. “That’s fine, but I don’t feel good,” I say back. I hate to admit this, but I feel bad about the way I look. And I feel even worse for feeling bad about that. I’m tired of feeling bad.

 One thing you’ve said before is that I’m good at making changes when things aren’t working for me. If I’m unhappy, I change the thing that’s making me unhappy. If I have a bad attitude about something, I notice it pretty quickly. Sometimes I can even laugh at myself. And then I work on changing it. It usually doesn’t happen overnight, and that’s okay. 

 I can’t do much about the fact that my body is rebelling against me right now. I’ll keep exercising and eating healthy but my body may continue to hold up a middle finger to my face and yell, “I’LL DO WHAT I WANT.” I’m going to work on accepting that. It might take awhile (it usually does), but I promise I’ll work on it. 

 There is one thing I can do, though, that won’t take too long. From now on, I choose to believe you.

 I choose to believe you on the nights when we’re watching a movie together on the couch. When my head is on your lap and you reach your hand down without a thought and rest it on my hip. I choose to believe that my body is not a disappointment to you. Your hand is on my hip because you love me and you want it to be there. I’m enough for you. 

 I choose to believe you when we’re lying in bed and I’m facing away from you and you wrap your arm around my waist and touch my stomach. At first, alarm bells may go off in my head. My eyes may open and my body may stiffen for a moment. But instead of listening to the mean voice that says I’m “disgusting,” I’ll choose to believe you. Your hand is on my stomach because you love me. You want it to be there. I’ve always been enough for you. 

 I choose to believe you when we’re sitting next to each other and you put your hand on my thigh. My immediate thought might be that my leg is wobbly with cellulite and broken veins and that must be a disappointment to you. I may stare off in the distance for a moment, contemplating this sad, sad lie that I believe to be true. But then I’ll remember to believe you. I’ll remember that you chose me. 

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 And I choose to believe you.

This article was originally published at The Unbound You. Reprinted with permission from the author.