I love my body. How unpopular a statement is that? I am lumpy and stretched and jiggly and slightly overweight. I know that is a bummer to the boys I used to know when I wasn’t all those things who friend me on Facebook and their first question is “do you still have that ass?” That makes me laugh.Of course I still have my ass. It’s not like I lost my ass somewhere over the last 15 years since I saw you!! . And when I get around my girlfriends I can bitch along with the best of them. But in my heart of hearts, I love my body. There is no logical reason for me to feel this way. I was a dancer and dancers have a notoriously mean attitude towards their bodies. I guess I am lucky that I was coming of age as the world of dance was changing. The idea of the skinny, anorexic dancer was outdated. Dancers were beginning to be received in all shapes and sizes. Dancers were being critiqued for their heart, their technique and their style rather than the narrowness of their hips or the non-existence of their breasts.
Again, this is not to say that I wasn’t touched by the Be Skinny bandwagon. I was.I tried really hard to have an eating disorder, but I really liked eating and really hated throwing up (see previous blogs). I was hard on my body for a few years. I drank diet soda and smoked cigarettes in an effort to not gain any weight.I danced every single day, most nights till 11 or 12 at night and then I would hit the clubs and keep going till 2 or 3 am. I was thin and in shape. Ask those boys who knew me when…apparently I had a killer pair of legs. I had no idea at the time…I was just having fun!
Getting pregnant was an incredible experience. It was scary because I lost total control of my body shape and size, yet incredible because I didn’t have to be in control. And I was one of those pregnant ladies who got HUGE! I was pregnant all over my body. I was pregnant coming and going. And with my first it was really extreme. I was 106 pounds of muscle just getting out of college, dancing 12 hours a day and within 3 months I had gained 20 pounds and had Dolly Parton’s boobs. It was like puberty had finally arrived!!!
How cool is the female body? We grow people inside of us. Our bodies can go from 0-60 in just a few months and then back again. And while our bodies undergo these changes, and while we advance the society, we also hold down jobs and take care of the people in our lives. Our minds, housed within our bodies, are also incredible. Because when it comes time to give birth to the next generation, it is our minds that keep us grounded and able to get the job done. If not for will power and strength of mind, our bodies would just give up. Because not one of us wants to be born, or if we did we sure didn’t take the easy way out.
That’s the fun and good parts of what our bodies do for us as women. Our bodies curve in all the right places. Our body curve so that we can bend to tie a shoe or lift a child or fill in the space where a man doesn’t curve. Arms jiggly still have strength to hold the ones we love and sometimes ourselves when we can’t get what we need from someone else. Our thighs that rub together as we walk give us a sway. Womens bodies are beautiful as they are. Mine, yours, your mothers, your next door neighbor. Their bodies are fine art in motion.
And when our bodies fail us, really fail us, after so much time and admiration spent on dressing our bodies and undressing them and using them to reproduce and to give pleasure, when they fail us with a disease, it’s like we immediately hate our body for the betrayal. We get angry at our body. And we work hard at getting rid of the disease. I think my body isn’t against me when I am sick. I think my body is just as bummed as I am. My body longs to walk and run and dance. My body wants to move. My body is my companion on this journey.
When I was in hard labor with baby #2 I had a chat with my baby and my body. I explained the easier we made this the faster it would happen. And then I went and pushed out a huge baby. I knew my body was incredible before this…now other people knew too. I know a woman who has been fighting a debilitating disease for years now. She had to fight with doctors and nurses and insurance companies and well meaning friends and family.Her body is incredible. It is no longer strong or perfect, but it is regaining it’s health and progressing. I know another woman who is battling breast cancer. I imagine how it would be to lose a breast to cancer. Or worse to have the cancer come back. Our bodies fight, our minds fight. It is instinctual. Because there is no way to take flight from our bodies.
Our bodies betray us when we don’t listen to them. There’s the fart let slide in yoga class, there’s the trickle of pee when you jump, there’s the smelly sweat that happens under stress. Part of being a human in a human body. We are organic, we are carbon, we are real. What’s not to love? Who’s to say that cellulite is the marker for being a bad person? Who’s to say that a flabby belly means we are not as special as the woman with the flat belly? We say. We judge and we are negative. We are the ones who hate our bodies. It’s so silly. I accept my body exactly the way it is. But I feel pressured when I am around other women to say things like “Oh God if I could just lose the last 30 pounds….” or “I HATE my arms and my fat thighs!!” and when I realize my daughters have heard these things come out of my mouth I am ashamed. Ashamed as I was when my mother or grandmother heard me say those things. Mainly because it’s mostly a lie.
I don’t want to be a skinny bitch. I am content with my body today. I would like to be healthier. I would like to be able to move again like I used to a few years ago. But I can’t today. And I don’t know if I ever will be able to. For me, there is so much more to life than pretty faces or flat bellies or toned arms. I’m not saying that I won’t try to accentuate the positives I have and downplay the negatives. I learned a few years ago that I have curves and they are beautiful and I can dress up my curves and feel great. I’m not less than just because I’m jiggly. I’ve got more depth in one of my jiggles than one would ever imagine.
I look at my daughters and I love them, in all their stages of growth. Their sway backed, little girl bellies, their big feet, their knobby knees, their Beyoncé butt, I love all of them. I think their bodies are incredible. I hope they understand how incredible their bodies are. I have heard them complain with their girlfriends about their butt being too big, or their fat or they have really long arms….and any of that may be true. Their bodies are growing and changing. They will find out that their bodies are the coolest thing on earth no matter what anyone else says about them.
So when you look in the mirror and you just want to cry because your body doesn’t look like you think it should, remember not to should on yourself. Remember all of the incredible things your body has done just today, without you asking it to. When you look in the mirror, love your body for what it is and for what it does for you daily. It carries you, it allows you to work, to sleep, to show love to your friends and family. And it is beautiful especially because of all its curves, and rolls and lumps and bumps. It is magnificent because it is yours. And we, your friends, love your body because you live in it. Enjoy the changes…if you haven’t noticed, your body has been changing since birth and it’s going to keep right on changing. A woman’s body is the most incredible machine ever made. Every single woman, in every stage of life, fake or real, stretched or smooth, scarred or not has an incredible body. Love it. It’s ok, we won’t tell…..