My Body and I Have A Story To Tell…
My body and I have a long history together and it wasn’t until recently that I recognized the true friendship and loyalty she has unrelentingly given me. I have no recollection of when she was tiny, pudgy and cute, although I wish I did, because it may have been the only time I would have looked at her with non-judgmental eyes. In grade school she embarrassed me regularly because she was so darn skinny. Everyday I would look for creative ways to hide her by dressing her in baggy pants and oversized tops just to conceal those bird legs. No matter how much chocolate I shoved in her mouth or Doritos I forced her to munch on she just wouldn’t gain a pound.
All my classmates taunted us regularly and relentlessly because of our boyish figure. It wasn’t until later in life I wished I could have that boyish figure back and the freedom to eat chocolate and Doritos guilt free. My shame of her waif like body left her sweaty and miserable almost every summer, yet, she never complained and always had the fortitude to carry me on any new adventure I desired.
As the years passed she began to change her appearance by growing two little lumps on her scrawny frame, unmanageable hair and a set of crooked teeth making her look like a really ugly boy, again, I was unsympathetic. Even with all my loathing she stayed true to me by being strong, healthy and agile allowing me to play, swim, learn and explore the world around us.
The entry into puberty brought continuous change and I stayed committed to hating her for not mutating in a way I believed would have brought both of us joy. We were clearly not on the same page. I pushed her daily to exercise and eat only what I thought would serve me not her. We spent our entire twenties fighting like two old ladies. Just like a couple heading for divorce we grew to hate each other, only in this case, there wasn’t a judge in the land who would be able to separate us. I was stuck with her and she was stuck with me. She was always asking for food or sleep and the more she asked the less I gave her. Instead, I would punish her with hours of aerobics to Olivia Newton John’s Let’s Get Physical. She had no idea the pressure I was under to make her look good.
By the time we arrived to our thirties we were at an all out war with each other until one day in our late thirties, my body and I decided to change the world…we got pregnant. During this time it was my turn to show compassion towards my body as she stretched, bloated, got sick and winced in pain. I even allowed her to eat all the foods she craved; chips and lots of French fries – I still allow her a generous amount of flexibility when it comes to French fries. During the pregnancy she betrayed me again, allowing our boobs to grow into the size of two peaches on Barry Bonds type steroids.
Towards the end of our pregnancy she was stretched as far as she could be without popping and I was exhausted listening to her kvetch for the past nine months, but we were a united front. Together we gave birth to the most beautiful little spirit, she was pink and perfect, until… the doctor told us she was very ill and would probably “not make it!” Not make it… Like a fly stuck in a jar I was bouncing around in my brain feeling helpless and scared. My body, well, she was calm and knew exactly what to do. She marched into the ICU and told the nurse to hand that baby over to her then she created another miracle… she began to feed our precious baby with the two most valuable assets we had… our breasts. Eleven years later, our baby girl continues to be our little miracle.
Today, I stand before myself in the mirror and see the hips that were once boyish padded with love, love that carried our little girl for years every time she looked up at us and said, “uppy.” Our face is lined with wrinkles, wrinkles that were once an enemy, now they represent pages in our book of life and they tell the story of a beautiful friendship between my body and my mind. Together we have traveled, chased dreams and have now begun to grow old…er. We are kindred spirits brought together in this life span and she has generously loaned me her vessel to help me sail through my journey of this existence. A day – hopefully a long time from now – will come when we must part ways and I will need to lay her down to rest permanently.
Now days, I try to tell her how much I love her, how beautiful she is and how sorry I am for the years I abused, disrespected or let her down. She rewards me daily with a renewed sense of energy and continuous health. Every morning she places our two feet on the ground and takes us anywhere I wish to go. At times I still look at her and feel disappointed in her shape and how she is beginning to show the signs of an old weathered ship, but then I remind myself how far we have come and how we still have so much to do. I love my body, and she has shown me time and again how much she loves me. She is beautiful, superlative and uniquely one of a kind. We are perfect together and I am eternally grateful for her choosing to take me on this glorious ride. My body and I have a long ways to go with many more stories to tell, but for now, I am happy to say that we are a true love story…