My body, an heirloom

Sonalee Rashatwar, a sex therapist and fat activist, was a guest on Christy Harrison’s (and my favorite) podcast, Food Psych, recently (episode 180, check it out). I was listening along, it was all very interesting, when Sonalee says:

I consider my body as an heirloom.

Just like that, mind blown.

Have you ever thought of your body as a family heirloom?

I have tried to explain on this blog the pervasive sense of loss and feeling of being alone that have resulted from the deaths of my parents and grandparents, without having any siblings. I have come up short every time.

Twenty-one years of loss and twenty years of suffering with an eating disorder were BLOWN APART by this concept.

As an only child and grandchild on one side, I inherited a lot of stuff. Money. Tons of photos. Jewelry. Art. Clothing. Furniture. Stuff.

An heirloom is something of special value handed down from one generation to another, evidence of those who came before us.

I also inherited this body. THIS is the connection that photos and jewelry couldn’t provide. THIS is how I have them with me, and also love who I am.

My loved ones passed down their genetics and their beauty. My mama’s strong, powerful body carried me courageously against all odds. My daddy’s body survived polio and its consequences, and still gave me life. I have:

  • Daddy’s ears and nose (bless my heart)
  • Both sides – tall with long legs
  • Mama’s body type and structure, including carrying my weight in my hips and thighs and cellulite
  • Mama’s facial features (mostly)
  • Grandma’s curly hair
  • And so much more…

I come from two lines of hard-working, persistent, courageous, intelligent, fun, creative, and beautiful – in ALL the ways of beautiful there can be – people.

They are gone. But I’m still here. Still standing. Still living. In this body, an heirloom lovingly given to me by those I miss so much.

This revelation of my body as an heirloom of my family has completely revolutionized the way I see myself and think of my body. I am so blessed to have this body, to have this connection to my ancestors and loved ones.

How can I help but accept this body? How can I help but love who I am from and what they have made me, by God’s grace?

These are the first photos I’ve posted in ages of more than just my top half. JJ took these the other day and he grinned the whole time. This is me. I am weight restored, and have been actively working to eat intuitively for the past few weeks.

This heirloom, priceless and treasured, doesn’t stop here. I am passing down this treasure to my daughter. She needs to know how valuable and precious this heirloom is, that she should be proud of and find herself and wonder in her body. Right now, she thinks her body is FANTASTIC and it’s up to me to keep it that way.

**I provide the same note that Sonalee did, for those for whom this phrase may not fit as meaningfully – those who are adopted, or have estranged families, etc. – your body is your own and your experience is valid.

How does thinking of your body as an heirloom impact the way you see yourself? Do you appreciate your body more? Are you able to find the ways that your body is strong and powerful?

One Comment

  1. Desiree

    This is definitely one of the most positive and beautiful of your blog and I am so happy to have read it.
    I’ll be pondering over my body being an heirloom. Certainly not a concept I’d considered in those words.

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