By Sally McGraw, cross-posted with permission from Already Pretty
Like many people, I love closure. I love achieving goals. I love ticking things off my to-do list and putting things to bed. Open-ended projects make me itchy and anxious. I want things tidy and complete, not endlessly in revision.
But my house will always be at least slightly in flux because it’s old and needs occasional repairs. Plus my tastes and needs change, furniture wears out or falls apart, floors get worn and paint peels. My wardrobe will never be “done” because my body is constantly in flux and so is my style. I’ll probably never visit every single place on my dream vacation list because I’m not made of money and don’t have access to endless free time.
And, of course, my relationship with my body will never be completely perfect, or totally healed, or utterly ideal. Because – like you – I’m a human being. My moods and needs and relationships and personas and philosophies change over time, and those things impact how I feel about myself. My body shifts shape, changes its size and texture, builds muscles or reveals injuries, pretty much never sits still or stays the same. So it makes sense that my feelings about it would never sit still or stay the same either, no matter how much work I do or how far I feel I’ve come.
And that can be frustrating.
I’d like to be done. I’d like to say, “I’ve put in more than a decade of thinking, exploration, discussion, and behavior-changing, and now I love my whole self all day every day.” But – at least for me – that’s simply not possible. Healing my body image is a journey without any specific or defined destination. That means sometimes progress is slow and sometimes it accelerates, but there’s no end date or deadline. I may take what seem like detours, but they’re really integral offshoots of the main path. I meet people as I go, some of whom impact this part of my personal growth in positive or negative ways. I learn, I have setbacks, I get lost, I find my way back.
I still wish I could take a course and get a grade, or read a book and feel 100% healed once I close its covers. But I can’t. I’m not wired that way. And I imagine some of you feel similarly. So this is a reminder to us all that our body image journeys are just that – journeys. And even though they may never end, we learn a little every day and grow a little every time we take another step forward.