Love Without Asterisks

Photo Feb 13, 4 16 34 PM

Today I am struggling with the version of self-love in which a woman posts a photo of herself in a bikini with a long caption claiming fierce love for her image IN SPITE of x, y, z. And x, y, z, is always provided. These are the reasons her body looks this way: pregnancies, surgeries, injuries, conditions, disabilities, genetics, C-sections, etc.

She loves her body anyway. After she’s careful to give us specific reasons why her body looks this way. I used to support this practice but now I’m rethinking it. Wouldn’t it be more loving to leave out x, y, z? To not give qualifiers when we put our bodies on display and deem them worthy of love. I mean, in lieu of deeming them worthy anyway? Wouldn’t the ultimate gesture of love be to simply say I love this body without explaining why it looks the way it does?

This is my body.  I love it.

Why must we acknowledge all the causes of anyway? This is extremely popular right now. Women want to show us the bodies they love and declare that love, but only with supporting arguments for the body’s loveable-ness.  Why do we feel we owe the world an explanation for why and how we can and do love a body, however the body looks? Why are we not allowed to love it and publicly declare our love without justifying the love?

Sigh.

Maybe this is part of an evolutionary process of self-love, though. Maybe the woman explaining her body’s appearance is taking a step. And we all have to start somewhere. So maybe I shouldn’t judge what is more loving or less loving.

But I confess I am interested in seeing a spin-off of public self-love posts in which the body doesn’t have to hear x, y, z and is allowed to stand in only a declaration of love. In spite of nothing. No love anyway; just love. No making peace with the body. Making love to the body with no need to explain its appearance.

Maybe by the time a woman gets to such a place she no longer feels the need to post photos as a self-love practice and this is why I don’t see them on social media. But I think there is value in making sure the younger generation of women is aware there is a place beyond love anyway. When or how will they see those images?

If anyway is a place we must stand before we move on to only love, I should probably support or shut up, but I confess I want better for us all. Our bodies deserve love without asterisks.

— Mercy

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