Amanda Martinez Beck and I met through a Facebook group we’re both members of. Through online conversations and social media posts, I have gotten to know Amanda as an author and a size-dignity activist.
I’ve known for awhile Amanda would be releasing her book, Lovely: How I Learned to Embrace the Body God Gave Me. She and I have never met in person and it’s unlikely that we ever will but thanks to Facebook and Instagram, we know what each other looks like and have a bit of a view into each other’s lives; we’re both women of size. Amanda strikes me as a person living a full life and comfortable with who she is and I’ve been eager to read what she’s written.
I go through all too brief seasons where I feel like I’m comfortable with who I am but far too often, the opposite is true, and I let outside voices tell me where I’m too much and where I’m not enough. I can’t blame that all on outside voices, I tell myself those things too. The problem lies in perspective: am I focusing on the culture’s perspective or God’s?
Amanda’s motivation behind this book is “to help us retrain ourselves to think about health more holistically and to consider our bodies in terms of mercy, kindness, and wonder, rather than criticism, failure, and self-loathing”. Her message can be summed up in one sentence: all bodies are good bodies. “Our cultural understanding of good bodies makes most of us feel like hopeless failures. This is not what our loving God wants for us”.
Lovely is written from the author’s Catholic faith and perspective. I do not share this perspective and personally found the Catholic references difficult to navigate. Many of Amanda’s points do, however, resonate within me deeply and she’s given me quite a bit to think about in terms of how I treat myself, what God wants for me, and treating others with the dignity they deserve. Near the end of the book, she writes, “If I haven’t given my own body the mercy and kindness it deserves, I will not be able to give these things consistently to others”.
She’s hit a couple of raw spots in me that I need to pay attention to and seek God’s wisdom and direction on.