A Prayer for Reentering the World in a Bigger Body
Recently, I went through my closet and got rid of everything that no longer fits me. The vast majority of my clothes have gone unworn for the past year as I, like many, have been living in sweats and leggings. Also, like many, I’ve put on some weight during the pandemic. And, as I pulled item after item out of my closet, I realized I had no idea what still fit.
As I tried things on, and the pile of too-tight clothing grew, I realized something. Instead of feeling shame about my weight gain or mourning my pre-pandemic body, I started to feel excited, even joyful. Why? Because this ritual was preparing me to reenter the world. Soon, I would be able to wear my (remaining) clothes to go out, to be with family and friends, to travel, and so much more. I’ve battled body image issues and disordered eating my whole life, but in that moment, those struggles, while still present, were overridden by my imaginings of a soon-to-be different reality.
Almost a year ago, I wrote about an unfortunate phenomenon: increasing fatphobia related to the pandemic. People, mostly women, bemoaned weight gain or expressed fears that they might gain weight during lockdown. This all seemed pretty ridiculous to me then, and, given the absolute devastation of the past year, feels even more absurd now. I understand that the pressure to look a certain way—which is fueled by patriarchy and white supremacy— is very real. But the pandemic has taught me many things, including that life is truly too precious to waste time obsessing about size.
I’m grateful for my body. My body has carried me through the past year. My body has, thankfully, stayed healthy and whole. My body has allowed me to engage in joyful movement in my living room and outside to combat boredom and anxiety. My body, thanks to the vaccine, is protecting me and others from the virus. And now, my body will be what moves me out of isolation.
I’m not a rabbi, but my Jewish tradition teaches me that prayer-making is for all of us. With that, I would like to offer a prayer for reentering the world in a bigger body:
God, thank you for the gift of my body.
Thank you for health, for nourishment, for movement.
I pray that you help me appreciate my new, bigger body, this holy vessel that you created in your image.
I pray that as I reenter the world I may focus on hugs rather than on pant-size.
I pray that as I reenter the world I may focus on spending time with loved ones rather than on fearing food.
I pray that as I reenter the world I may focus on the joys of unrestricted social interaction rather than on what others may think of my new body.
I understand that I will likely hold some negative thoughts about my new body along the way, but I hope you will guide me toward self-compassion.
I am grateful for my body, as it is now, and I am ready to reenter the world.
How to cite this page
Klebe, Larisa. "A Prayer for Reentering the World in a Bigger Body." 6 April 2021. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on June 7, 2023) <https://jwa.org/blog/prayer-reentering-world-bigger-body>.
This is beautiful, Larisa. Thank you.
That is clear and beautiful. I appreciate and needed this reminder.
Very meaningful perspective on body image.
Young women reflect their body image on size
and consider weight gain a negative factor. Health reflects size and stamina and during
this pandemic it was so important to maintain
mental health and physical endurance.
Thank you. ❤️