How women feel about their bodies has been much pondered on various pages here in this little space of blog world. But this little space is in reality people all over the world, and body image and self esteem are universal enough that they are discussed in forums from fancy academic jornals to grocery store check out magazine racks. So I am hardly alone in the very deep seated belief that, whatever else I do or am or achieve, there is a large aspect of myself that I feel is completely unacceptable. And the kicker is that this is the aspect experienced first and formost in the real world, where one is physically present and appearances are inevitably part of the equation of any interaction. (Sort of an upside to this blog world, eh?)
I am able to see in myself many of the connections from my past to my currrent ways of thinking or being, but I have no idea where such a deep seated dissatisfaction, dislike, often loathing for my body comes from. I know intellectually that it is irrational. Of course my body is not perfect, but it is also not the totality of me, and in fact my imperfections don't impact my ability to function at all. So why then is so much of my sense of self, my self esteem, my conceptualization of me wrapped up in that which doesn't actually impact my ability to do.
The area where this issue is most and least irrational is with my husband. I know he loves me for all of me, but I care far more how he perceives my body than anyone else. Far more than anyone else, I want him to find me attractive, to be impressed. The fact that I feel so deeply that what I'm offering to him is unacceptable means that I am very reluctant to offer it. I don't really want him to look at me, or touch me, or feel me. I couldn't imagine why or how he would really want to. This thing in me has had such a warping influence on our relationship for so long.
My decision to submit to him, even though I had no idea to call it such and have so much yet to figure out and learn, has fundametally transformed our relationship. In giving up the option to be reluctant, to refuse, the way is open for him to look and touch and feel and experience and do. And his touch, and his doing are getting through to me where years of telling couldn't. My body hasn't changed. If i'm honest, my perceptions of my body haven't changed - I still don't like it - but now I believe that he does. Maybe my believing is a transformation that will happen over time, maybe it never will and knowing he is pleased and enjoying will be enough, because it's really an awful lot.