Rare is the woman who can't tell you in an instant which of her body parts she despises. (This is a sad truth.)
I have hated how my stomach looked since I was 14. Birthing four kiddos between ages 20 and 27 did not help its appearance. I spent a significant portion of time during each pregnancy bemoaning each new stretch mark, and years afterward berating my belly for its cramps and bloating and general girl-related misery.
For the last nine months I have scrupulously avoided looking at my abdomen in the mirror. Too depressing. But the other day I paused on my way into the shower, curious whether my P90X3 program is having any effect. To my surprise, my surgical scar and floppy skin have morphed into a smile.
A SMILE... of all things.
Seriously. My belly SMILES at me in the mirror.
Everything isn't perfect. The incision still hurts and itches and aches, my innards are still figuring out how to cooperate without all that mess that was in there, I'll probably go back for more acupuncture and visceral massage to help with the scar tissue, and some days are definitely better than others, but still...
My belly is smiling back at me in the mirror. It's happy. And I should be happy with it.
Now I'm wondering what other parts of my life I need to look at with a new eye. Not just body parts, but circumstances, attitudes, relationships, experiences, history. Maybe some of those other things I've spent years hating, loathing, denying, ignoring, trying to transform, and wishing would just go away are smiling, too, I just haven't been looking at them the right way.
Hope can be found in the strangest of places, if we'll just open our eyes.