We were pushing back into downward dog when that post-workout release settled over my body. It started somewhere around the crown of my head, a tingling, a freshness, an awareness…then moved into my fingers, my spine, the roundness of my hips, the length of my femur. I felt my toes press into the earth. Sucked in the sunshine as it warmed the ground and grass. Pressed deep and slow into the stretch. God! I fell reflexively into rejoicing, I love this body! I love this body. I love this body. Thank you.

Just three months later, I stood in front of the bathroom mirror, prepared to peel my garments off. I no longer believed in the Church. Thus, I thought it wrong to remain clothed in covenants which no longer controlled me.

With the same detached fascination you stare at strangers in a airport terminal, I saw the woman in the mirror pull off the garment bottoms. Slowly, deliberately. She waited through every inch for something to happen, sat and monitored her feelings. Wondered how soon the Spirit would leave. I saw her carefully, cautiously, lay the lifeless silk leggings on the countertop. She patted them tenderly, as if to say, “thanks for the all the memories.” Then, proceeded to the top. Plain white panties and a nude bra were pulled into their place.

Underpants on, she slipped into a pair of jeans, a t-shirt with the slightest ruffle around the shoulder. There was a sigh, somewhat heavy. Was there an echo of reluctant resignation in that breath? She turned to walk away. She stepped. The whisper of fabric brushed against her upper leg. She stopped.

Suddenly, she was me again. I was her. No longer unfamiliar with the infidel in the mirror, this girl without garments. That single swish of Levi against thigh brought me into myself. Grounded me in the moment. I stepped again and felt, for the first time, my own legs under my own pants. No barrier between my body and my belief. I lifted my t-shirt and saw a bellybutton and alabaster skin. They no longer belonged under a sheet or shroud. This body was no longer something to be hidden or harbored. It was mine.

It was mine.

It was mine to feel and command and care for. It was mine to dress and sunbathe and sit in. It was mine to walk as I pleased, to the places I pleased, in the moments I pleased. Forever following the whims and will of my own heart, my own head, my own sacred understandings.

It was mine. This body belonged to me.

I fell reflexively into rejoicing…

God! I love this body. I love this body. I love this body.

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