Beauty is the eye of the one who looks at the overall situation. There’s something precious in almost anything, if examined in the proper light. Let’s talk about something so many tend either to gloss over, or to brutally attack: the body in your bed. No matter who lies down with you, one thing remains constant: that’s the body lying there in your bed. Not the one you call your lover, not the one you call your friend, but that one you tend to ignore, or judge so harshly. It gets lost under the tangle of covers you offer it for a shroud of shame and silence. Let’s talk about the body that’s there whenever you’re alone. The body you frequently ignore. Your self.

In the cool of the morning, the heat of the night, the intense emptiness of the in-between, that figure stays with you, though often you damn it for not being what you want it to be. When you look at it in the mirror, you judge it so harshly, pointing out what you perceive as its many flaws – cellulose, lumpiness, sagginess in places that used to be perky and pert. You remember a time when lingerie made you feel so sexy. The thrill of satin against your skin, the allure of that body presented in leather and lace, as if a burnt offering, smoldering in its near perfection of youth. Now, thirty years later, your belly looks bloated and holds love handles at its sides. Fat, you shame it and likewise judge your being. Fat. You look at your thighs, thick with chunkiness that has somehow multiplied itself over time, draping skin over skin, trapping memories of your basketball days in its folds. Your butt, not a booty, no pirate’s prize or treasure, with what you damningly call a “funky hump” of extra matter lodged like a lump above a saggy bottom that your husband used to teasingly pinch when you passed by him, flitting, flirting. Your breasts. Sagging, drooping, disappointing reminders of a day when you wore a D cup, and now can’t fill out a B. Forlornly hanging like dilapidated temples that once bespoke the majesty of your womanhood. Your face. We can’t forget your face. Tiny lines and wrinkles make gaps where collagen once filled and flowed. You can recall days of bright sunlight upon your face, no SPF in sight, and nights of not washing it, because you wanted to look flawless in bed, just in case romance marked the moment. Even your feet are marked by the passage of time. Tiny spider veins decorating ankles that often retain fluid and puff out over the sides of your feet. Feet which one former boyfriend found bizarrely alluring, catching you off-guard with his fetish in flip-flop weather. Chipped toenail polish stares back at you as you shake your head, seeing what disrepair this shell has come to be.

But what if you just stepped back from the clutter. What if you could see with renewed vision, find a new lens for appreciation? What if you could learn to love your body now in the same ways you loved it back when it worked to your advantage, rather than caused you so many tribulations and so much discomfort? What if you could find the strength within to love your self again?

Your face may not be perfectly smooth but realize the charm and spirit that still reside there. Each tiny imperfection galvanizes your glory, magnifies your memories, and radiates your reflections. Your face is a road map of who you were and where you’ve been. Each line is a highway, byway, street, or scenic overlook where you stopped along the way, garnering experiences that have made it more beautiful than you could ever have imagined when you were twenty years old. Each laugh line is a sweet soul who touched you, physically, emotionally, some tenderly, some abruptly, but all of those touches have culminated to make you the amazing woman you are today.

Reach out, reach out right now, and touch your secret chambers, those places of passion that you’ve neglected for far too long. Rekindle the excitement that simple touches sparked so long ago. Appreciate that body that sleeps with you each night. Hold it tightly and whisper how woefully wrong you have been to treat it with such indifference, such a lack of enthusiasm and appreciation. Apologize for focusing on how time has taken away, rather than celebrating the victories that your body, your self, has achieved since the days when you barely knew what a trial life could present physically. Think of the miles those feet have carried you. Luxuriate in the meals that have filled that belly. Rejoice in the fact that there is no “thigh gap” for you to lose things when you go to the loo in hurried spaces. Even though you never carried children, hold close to your heart the fact that your body has been loved and adored and held in high esteem, and recreate those situations, for it is still worthy of all things wonderful that spill out from your heart.

Take note of that body in your bed. Smile if you hear it snoring. Reassure it with a kind touch on the days it doesn’t want to get up and go. Reassure it that you love it. Every step of the way, it is who you are. So, own it. It is yours. It is you. Treat it like the goddess it was destined to become.