My Body

08/21/2013

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I reach down to tug the pants up over my hips and catch a glimpse of myself. I am bent halfway over, framed by the dressing room mirror. I stand motionless, eyes scanning over my body pausing to identify and dissect bits of naked skin before quickly standing upright. I drift effortlessly to thoughts of imperfection.

In elementary school, a boy loudly recited a poem about my body. It was poorly written and unoriginal but still, mean. His poem was unfortunately accurate; and I silently agreed with him. 

Though my family rarely fussed over my body, they often spoke of their own legs, thighs and hips with such remorse; and I unconsciously internalized their insecurities. 

When my daughter arrived, I promised myself I would never let her hear me speak negatively about my body (or ANY body). After all, she looks so much like me; and I have to admit, she is beautiful. 

I miraculously did not get any stretch marks on my belly but I remember clearly the day I discovered them on my ass. "When did my ass grow so fast that my skin couldn't keep up?" I asked my husband. "Um, when you were pregnant?" he said lightly. "Noooooooo.....", I said before realizing; yes, that sounds about right. 

I recently saw an image on facebook that depicted two women side by side. One was famous for being gorgeous and sexy. The other looked a lot like me. The caption clearly indicated that the woman my size was NOT sexy. Well, I suppose that is a matter of opinion. 

"So, what DO you weigh?" an old roommate inquired. "Eh...", I shift uncomfortably. "I won't tell anyone. Just tell me." she says. So I tell her. 

A few weeks later, I am stretched out on the floor amongst a few girlfriends when she turns to her friend and announces my weight. She speaks as if she were talking about someone who was not in the room. Only I was there, watching people do the math; comparing my weight to theirs regardless of height or build. 

Despite my body often being openly criticized, I eventually began to feel kind of good about me. I could start to see my body for its ability rather than only its appearance. And though I feel like I am breaking some unwritten rule by admitting this, there are things that I really do like about my appearance. I just don't see how me hating my body is going to help anyone hate their body less. 

Still, I sometimes find myself frowning at my reflection; my protruding hip and collar bones, the visible row of ribs framing my torso. I feel insecurities begin to rise over me until I stop and really see myself. Here I am in a healthy body. I need this body to just simply live my life. And how I feel about it, that is entirely up to me.  
 


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