It’s a good body. It runs and explores and climbs mountains, gardens and sings and makes music. Recently it’s been doing a little light weight-lifting—that’s been kind of a rush. And it’s always been mine. I shocked myself a little when I volunteered for this photo shoot, but it cemented a belief I’ve worked very hard in the last few years to develop—that, contrary to the omnipresent shame most women have about not conforming to strictly-enforced and narrowly-defined beauty standards, my body is, in fact, good.

My experience growing up Mormon never really helped me overcome the shame women generally internalize about our bodies. If anything, Mormon patriarchy supported that shame, and modesty doctrine deepened it. But as I have slowly learned to combat the shame, there are Mormon doctrines that have supported me in my journey to love my body. If this is the body in which I will be resurrected, even exalted, then I’d better get comfortable. If Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father have bodies, what really are the chances, out of all the millennia of earth’s history, that their bodies conform to the superficial standards set up by capitalist money-grubbers in one small part of one small century?

I haven’t always loved my big butt and poochy stomach, but they tell me I’m my mother’s daughter, and my mother’s mother’s granddaughter. I’ve never loved my autoimmune disease–type 1 diabetes, diagnosed about ten years ago—but it connects me to my two type 1 cousins and my hypoglycemic grandpa. We may be alone in our bodies, but we’re also in these bodies together. And they’re good bodies.

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