She never used to look back at me that way.
I’m not exactly sure when it changed or what flipped that switch, but I saw the glimmer in her eyes. Proud of how strong I am, of all I’ve seen, done and how far I’ve come.
And as I turn off the bathroom light, she smiles back at me because we are one in this.
It was the first time I felt a “just because” kind of sexy.
I read about it more than once but thought of it as more of a warm fuzzy feeling than one with its own atmosphere.
Lately, I’ve been running.
Few things feel as incredible as moving your body using only your two feet and with each stride, taking once-distant goals and turning them into tangible things.
There’s a concept in running called “the wall” where you hit a block and think that your body can run no further, realizing that it was really your mind telling you to stop because your body is ready to keep going. Breathing sharply with what feels like your body screaming at you, you want to stop because you think that you’ve found your limit, but then you push past it and realize that it’s just the chatter of your mind trying to stay at the level you’re comfortable with.
When many other parts of life were upside down or insanely busy, running kept me grounded and became a constant place for me to know my own strength. I started because I committed to a 5k race in June and kept it up because it felt good. The physical benefits, like weight loss were an unintended side effect but one that’s fairly visible now, whether I focus on it or not.
It used to be that I required adversity to know my own strength and stand tall within my own skin. Now, as my playlist starts and my feet hit the pavement, I know.
I can do it.
And I will do it.
Then, unexpectedly, as I was getting ready for bed one night I saw them.
Stretch marks and a lot of them, lining my stomach from hip-to-hip.
Many women are petrified of them but honestly? I’ve never felt so sexy in my life and it had nothing to do with how others viewed me or felt about my body. In fact, many people would wonder how stretch marks of all things made me feel beautiful, because there’s a million dollar industry at work to help women get rid of them and other “imperfections”.
My body was so smart that it knew what to do with all that running. I didn’t have to read any books or explain it, because She just took the changes I was making as new information and amended things all on her own. Each time I committed to lacing up my shoes and heading out for another 5k or more, She just knew what to do with the information it gave her. There’s a strength in having a body that gives you the ability to push limits, test waters and feel so blissfully strong.
I was at war with my body for years and especially during my teen years, I swore up and down that She had to look a certain way or I wouldn’t be considered pretty. Perhaps it’s experience and maybe it’s age, but I’m learning that there is something incredibly sexy about the vessel that carries me through my day-to-day, listens to my requests through physical activity and allows me to push my limits to the farthest reaches of what I thought possible.
Moreover, I think about all of the things She hasn’t even done but could, like bearing children.
Many people told me that sexy was a state of mind but I’m learning that it’s a state of being constantly in awe of what your body is capable of or already does for you every day.
Sexy as a state of mind can easily turn you into the gatekeeper of sex and that has far less to do with empowering yourself than it does with using your sexuality to wield a power over others, cleverly disguised as self-esteem. I can’t speak for everyone but I can say that that kind of sexy is more exhausting than attractive and it catches up to you faster than you can catch it because it means you’re performing more than you are empowering yourself through gratitude.
It has nothing to do with how other people see you and at the end of the day, how sexy you think you are is an accurate predictor of how you’ll allow others to honor that about you.
And when I finally got that, I couldn’t help but smile at the reflection staring back at me.
Because what a stunning human being She is.
On The Wings of Miracles,