Our theme for the month of June is “Sex and the Church.”
I have ten beautiful toes.
They sit at the end of two feet, though I’ve never paid much attention to them.
I’ve worried more over my legs. Someone in elementary school told me they looked pale once, which to be fair was a true observation. I have always been fair-skinned, but for some reason I took it as an insult. Still, my own attempts to tan ended up with tearfully painful burns, so now my legs are healthily pale. And to my eyes—lovely.
I have ten beautiful fingers too.
I have my mother’s hands, which means that they are small and well-knuckled, with deep blue veins beneath the skin. If you would paint my hands you would need some blues to do them justice.
My wrists, I love. I read something about wringing wrists once, a phrase I loved simply for the sound of it. I’ll wring them occasionally, not nervously, just as something to do while I’m thinking.
My arms are well freckled. They’re not slim, and I worry sometimes that the fat on them will sag when I’m older. But for now, my arms reach into strong enough shoulders, a long neck.
And then we come to my face. There are small lips there, and grey-blue eyes, and brows that often turn up at the edges when I’m smiling or worried, or feeling anything at all.
So there. I’ve done Eve’s work. (Don’t you imagine her counting freckles, staring at her reflection in still water, wondering at the wonder that is body?)
And while I wasn’t made from Adam’s rib, I do believe that this is a body that has been actively created by God.
But how I look at my body, the creation of a positive self-image?
This was something taught to me by the women I have followed into the church.
You want to talk about sex and the church?
You want to talk about how to teach young girls to love themselves? Or to believe that their bodies are temples, and not objects of shame?
Look at the women in church.
The women who walk with purpose. The women who wear jeans in church after a weekend camping, and the women who wake up an hour early to iron their Sunday dresses. The women who are as comfortable talking about sex as they are about the Holy Spirit. The women who hold leadership roles.
Look at the women girls turn to when their periods start. The women who are willing to rub their pregnant friends’ shoulders, the women who read the boring parts of the Bible and then turn to sweat in garden.
Look at the women who are present, body and soul.
And it’s because of their teachings that I look at my feet and smile, and can say that I have ten beautiful toes.
Meg Schmidt (’16) graduated after studying writing and art history. Her interests include attempting to cook paleo, reading through McBrien’s Lives of the Popes, and landing the wittiest joke in a conversation. She currently works with Eerdmans Publishing as a Graphic and Production assistant.