These are my photos. This is my body.
I am turning a corner in my life. It is an uncertain time, a wobbly time. A Bambi on new legs kind of time, I would say.
Essentially, I’m at a point where I feel like I like myself a lot. I really do. But in order to move to a place of real, true self-love, I’ve realized I have to take an unflinching look at myself in all aspects — physical, spiritual, mental. It’s time to come to grips with reality, to completely, fully, unflinchingly accept everything about who I am right this minute.
Upon taking stock and inventory of myself, I have come to the following realizations about what my body is, and what my body is not. Here we go:
My body IS a marvel. I am in awe of the things I can do despite what I have put it through. I have abused this carriage for my soul so much with excessive diets, over-exercising, addictions, overeating, under-eating, and a general malaise, loathing, and lack of appreciation for the fact that it’s STILL going. Wow, I am tough. That number on the scale is not a measure of who I am. It’s a mere fact of where I am right this moment in a journey to distance myself from years of neglect and warnings of family diseases. I should really appreciate my body more than I do. As a matter of fact, I’m going to start right now.
My body IS NOT young. I am not, nor will I ever, have the body I had in my twenties. The gig is up. I am surrounded by people and companies who want to profit on that fear every woman has: that we’re less desirable as we get older, and our bodies change. I won’t ever fit into the jeans I had in college. Hell, I might never be able to fit into the jeans I wore before I became obese a decade ago. But every muscle underneath this skin, every line, every grey hair — damn, it’s sexy. I’m so much hotter now that I know my body. I am a beautiful woman with a wealth of experience. Anyone who gets to spend time with me in or outside my clothes is lucky. I’m lucky to get to spend some time with me. I don’t want that body back. My face, neck and hands wouldn’t match it. I just want to get to a point where I can see my belly button again. After that? The rest is gravy.
My body IS strong. I can balance on the backs of my arms, I can run up the stairs in the subway, I can move, chew, lift, turn, skip, dance, and explore my life. I’m working on headstand and crow pose (UGH, crow pose, why must you elude me?) in yoga. Every bit of movement should be done for those who can’t. Everything I can do I should celebrate. It’s not a competition to see if I can do it better than the person next to me. It’s always a measure of can I do better than I did yesterday, and will today be the day I go one step further. I have stopped wanting the body everyone else has. I want the body I HAVE.
My body IS NOT skinny. No more deals with the devil. No more trying to figure out what to eat in order to manipulate, bargain, deal, plead, or trick my body into doing something it doesn’t want to do. I have reached the end of the rope with the fear of food. Sugar makes me blow up like a balloon, so I should limit it. If I eat processed items, I will feel like crap for hours. Those are the diet decisions I should make daily. The rest is making sure that I don’t die tomorrow regretting living my life with extreme, self-imposed restrictions. I will never be skinny again. You have no idea what a relief that is. One less thing on my to-do list, one fewer goal for which I must strive. It’s over. My body is muscular, and curvy, and that is my final word on that.
My body IS mine. I am not driven by images of “perfection,” products and advertisements and magazine covers shouting that if I could just look like this person or have this life or that thing that I will be happy. No. No more. Get your expectations off my body. Back off. I do not belong to Madison Avenue and the millions of dollars made off shame and guilt over every single thing I eat, watch, think, do, and feel. I am my own measure of success. This is MY BODY. It belongs to me. Your body belongs to you. Keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself. I don’t care anymore.
My body IS NOT an infinite resource. I am known for having the strongest, unbreakable (ha, if you only knew) will out there. I will drag myself across the finish line on my lips if I have to, and take on inhuman, seemingly insurmountable tasks in order to achieve my goals. I am now at a point where I realize that manner of living is going to kill me, and it won’t be pretty. Creativity is a finite resource, so I have to take breaks and respect my limits. Health is a finite resource, so I have to nourish and protect myself from over-exertion. Energy is a finite resource, so I have to learn to say no, and take breaks. Most important: Time is a finite resource. I only have so much of it left in this day, this week, this month, this year, and possibly this life. I don’t have time for anything that doesn’t bring me joy. I deserve joy. I really do. My body and I deserve peace, happiness, delight, and joy. Everything else is officially off the calendar.
Here I stand before you, with this soul and in this body. I am finally happy here. I will be delighted to inhabit this carriage until it’s time to turn it in. Body fat, curves, sometimes challenging health and hair concerns: it’s my body. And in writing this, I’ve realized I don’t just like my body…. I love it. I love myself. I really do.
These are my photos. This is my body.