November 13, 2020
What about your body are you grateful for?
For all of its faults, I must say that I’m impressed that my body still carries me at all. I have beaten this thing to oblivion and rode back in the same night. I was not particularly careful with my physical actions when I was young.
I attribute this repetitive abuse to a sort of betrayal punishment. You see, I never much cared for my body – or rather, that my body was such a hot topic of conversation. And I abused myself in efforts to somehow prove that my body was just fine the way it was given to me by God – that my thick legs were powerful enough to lift other large humans, or move pianos by myself, or carry things that I had no business carrying without help.
A therapist once called it ‘body dysmorphia’ but I can pinpoint exactly the moment when I realized that people were judging my body, and holding their opinions against my value as a human. That moment never leaves me completely. And it used to paralyze me.
I was a “chunky” kid. All the other kids in my family & peer groups were “normal” size, with perfectly behaving hair. Or at least, that’s what my mother would have me believe. I don’t think she intended to, or realized she was planting seeds of her own self-hatred into me, but they grew like wildflowers. From that moment of awakening, I never again went a single day without stressing out over something my body wasn’t – in comparison to someone else.
These days, I am mostly at peace with my physical body. Maybe it came with age. Perhaps it was a collateral gift from therapy. It might have been the wakeup call of rehab after a fall down a flight of stairs. Maybe it was nothing more than the ability to show myself some grace. These days, my favorite part of my body is that it still works, even when it groans…and pops, cracks and snaps.