Do your arms hang low? A Roundabout post about body image, grief, and friendship

Remember that song about your ears hanging low and wobbling too and fro (Can you tie them in a knot, can you tie them in a bow?) Well, I know many women struggle with their upper arms wobbling. Many years ago, I had a pregnancy related medical condition that required me to be on bed rest for a month. At the end of this time, I had an event I would be attending wearing a sleeveless dress and I wanted to do arm exercises in bed to make my arms less wobbly. The Wise part of me knew that nobody could CARE LESS about the state of my arms and if they loved me, they would love me regardless of the size or wobble level of my arms. A dear friend of mine, also a therapist wounded healer, visited me during that time and helped break my fear open back into the larger space of love. She said, with directness and great love:

“Put DOWN the soup cans. “

Yep, I was using soup can weights to try to combat the powerlessness I was feeling.When she said that, I started laughing and then crying. I knew it wasn’t about my arms. I felt anxious about my growing baby, I felt anxious about being powerless to DO anything but rest, I felt anxious about trusting I was loved as I was and my body was exactly as it need to be in that moment.I had a hard time resting in the knowledge that not doing anything was exactly what I need to be doing. I had a hard time trusting that this tiny baby growing inside was going to be ok. I was scared to make room for the grief of potentially losing this little miracle.

True friends have space for all of your feelings and fears. Bless this friend who held my hand through that difficult time, who let me rest in the awareness that I was loved and that life would continue, not only with wobbly arms, but with the possibility of losing my baby. In the words of Ann Lamott:

“Trappings and charm wear off…Let people see you. They see your upper arms are beautiful, soft and clean and warm and they will see this about their own, some of the time. It’s called having friends, choosing each other, getting found, being fished out of the rubble.”

A(wo)men!

(This is week 4- arms- in the 8-week Every body love your BODY challenge, so feel free to leave an affirmation for your arms or honoring a friend in the comments below. One random winner will be chosen to receive an affirmation!)

4 responses

  1. Love this Dr. Linda. And I’m loving my arms just a little bit more, too.

    1. Thanks Dr Marilyn. A little bit at a time.

  2. When I think about arms and their tendency to be wobbly, I think fondly of my grandmothers soft and squishy arms. they remind me of comfort and love from when I was young. I will try this week to love my arms, even though they are not sharp and strong with muscle, they ARE soft and comforting when hugging someone I love.

    1. Soft and comforting when hugging someone I love…that someone can be YOU. Go Amanda!

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