These Are All Just Nice Words Unless…

A friend of mine posted Ashley Judd’s 2012 comments and defense of her “puffiness” today on Facebook. Though I adore Judd’s sentiment, they are only words unless we act.

We’ve had more than two years since she spoke out against misogyny–and what have we done about it?

This may seem like a sidestep, but please bear with me.

My son adores Batman. He has two different Batman costumes, Batman pajamas, and for the last year, he has really, really, really wanted a Batman hoodie.

Well, I found a Batman hoodie about a week ago in a local store. It was his size, and in our price range. Even though I knew he would love it, I hesitated. The hoodie outlined a six-pack abdomen, and I knew it carried a message.

Batman Boys' Fleece Hoodie with Mask-Black
photo credit

 

Do I really want my less-than-eight-year-old walking around thinking he needs to have amazing abs to be a valuable person?

(Hopefully you already know the answer to that question.)

What we might find even more remarkable is that my son is on the high end of the sizes carried. I think the store had them as small as 2T (that’s 2-Toddler…).

And so I begin, on my little corner of the blogosphere, to raise a voice. A voice of action. A voice of love–for ourselves and for future generations. What will you do today to #ShareGoodness? To promote a positive body image–no matter the shape or size? To share acceptance?

Recently, I was assisting a local choir director with sizing choir members for costumes. As I placed a measuring tape around each of their bodies, I felt a tension equalling a sadness in many.

Though the numbers attached to each body varied, they were all beautiful. Each one has a gift to share with the world. Each one is valued and cherished. Each one is important.

I wanted to scream to them from a housetop: YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU ARE VALUED. YOU ARE LOVED–JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.

I hope you feel my love for you. I respect you as a fellow human–no matter how you look or what you wear or where you live. I love you.

We don’t need a six-pack (real or through a hoodie) to be someone’s superhero. We do that each day by simply living the lives we are born to live. (No, I’m not going to break out in “Climb Every Mountain“…I’ll let you do that yourself.) 🙂

I hope we can love ourselves and others enough to share this message of acceptance, in whatever sphere we may be. We are amazing, and now is the time to raise our voices. Now is the time to shine.

Young Again

When I die, will you paint me
Young again…?

Eyes set forward, without tears for Ethan’s cancer at age six (he was here oh-so-briefly)
Brow long and high, not with wrinkles borne of worry for
Kaitlin’s solo, Jonathan’s baseball championship, and later
Kaitlin’s failing marriage, Jonathan’s lost job, and even later
Burying Jim after thirty-six years of happily and not-so-happily
Married life?

Will you paint me innocent? Free from fear?

Yet I look in the mirror at my
aged face,
tired eyes,
wrinkled hands…
Hands once delicately fingering a piano, rolling a cookie, painting a homecoming poster
And I wonder
If each mark of age represents an
unspoken experience,
valuable wisdom,
immeasurable compassion,
Would I trade it all back for a young face, thick hair, and soft hands?

-Karin Salisbury


photo credit

Bike Wrecks and Broken Teeth

The sun pierced through the canopy of trees above, painting irregular polygons in less regular patterns across the asphalt. I had lived but a decade and received a Blue Angel banana-seat bike for Christmas only months prior. My thin legs and long feet pushed and pushed and pushed the pedals in turn, racing my running friends along the road back toward the cul-de-sac, back toward home.

Blue Angelphoto credit

I will probably never know what happened next. Somehow my bike stopped suddenly while my body lurched forward over the handlebars with the inertia pushing me airborne and flailing through the newly warming spring air.

My face collided with the pavement, leaving small chunks of rock and gravel imbedded in my skin.

As I rose to my feet, hesitantly, I surveyed what I couldn’t see but could only feel with fingers and tongue. The road claimed half of my front tooth as it’s own victory for the battle, leaving me with a busted lip and broken nose as my battle wounds.

My Blue Angel was relatively unharmed.

Panic ensued in what was a blur of faces and friends inquiring about my well-being.

“Karin, are you okay?”

I was bleeding not only from nose and lip but also from elbow, hand, and knee. Still, I half-ran, half-hobbled down past six or seven houses to my own door step. My mother met me there with a mixture of shock and amazement and welcomed me into the kitchen to press my face with cold paper towel compresses and whatever ice she could find. She was already phoning the dentist.

A same-day appointment was scheduled, and I made the first of many trips to fix my broken tooth. I wish the dentist could’ve mended my heart as easily as he cleaned the root with mixtures that smelled of bleach and the chewable calcium tablets my dad made us eat each day to ensure our bones were strong.

I wasn’t sure if my lip would ever be un-swollen. I knew my nose would never be the same. I preferred walking to the speed and wind-blowing-in-my-hair feelings of riding my bike. I stayed inside for many days. I grew tired of recounting my adventurous encounter with the road. I became a little more cautious.

More years later than I care to count, those feelings continue to set patterns for my practices. I am more careful than I would like to be at times–longing to let the wind blow in my hair and break free of the monotony of my everyday. But then, I am back on that bike, pounding the pavement, and flying over my bike all over again. I want to call to that girl and tell her that she will heal, that no one will notice the nose, or the tooth, or the scars years from now. I want to tell her that she will have what she needs and most of what she wants. I want to tell her to ride.

Ride into the wind.

We can always pick up the pieces later…

together.