I’m going to come right out and say it: I love my body.
I love that I am physically stronger than many women and always have been. I’m proud of what this lets me do. It took me years to acknowledge this, but it’s true.
I love having powerful legs that have allowed me to jump higher than people five inches taller than I and grab rebounds off the backboard.
I like having a strong backside. It gives me power, even if it does make finding jeans a nuisance.
I love being able to run fast. It makes me feel immortal, like a kid running downhill and not worrying if they’ll be able to stop.
I love having breasts that are small but still existant, functional for whatever one needs breasts for.
I love my weirdly-misshapened right foot. It may look funny, but it’s strong and propels me powerfully.
I even love my crazy messed-up ears and the hearing disability that cripped me for so many years, more than I realized. Because of this I now understand the beauty of sounds and the importance of nuance in communication.
Mostly I love that, whenever I ask my body to do something reasonable and give it the training it needs, it can do it.
Even when out of shape, I have still liked my body. When I look in the mirror and see things with which I’m not happy, I don’t blame my body. My body doesn’t control what food it eats or whether it goes to the gym and what it does there. My mind and self are the custodians of that body, so when I see things that need work, that’s who gets flagged for falling down on the job.
The only part of my body that I am at all self-conscious about are the stretch-marks and scars from pregnancy and childbirth and I’ve been thinking all morning about how silly that really is. Like my odd right foot or the right quad muscle that still carries the scar of going down a mountainside face-first, there’s no taking that one back and I wouldn’t if I could. It’s a part of who I am. Masking it, while possible, would require surgery and would actually change the story of my life that I carry around on my body. Because that’s what your body really is, right? The collective story of your life, accumulated through triumphs and failures, is written in your muscle, sinew and skin. It’s beautifully flawed, totally unique and keeps growing as you add to it.
When many people pass significant milestones in life, they get tattoos; permanent markers on their body of events, people or accomplishments. I’ve never really understood the appeal of that until now, but I think I finally understand. Those stretch marks are a “tattoo” of sorts and tribute to all three. I made a person with this body, a fact that constantly amazes me as I see the young woman that person is becoming. If pregnancy left its mark on me, so be it. The results are leaving their mark on the world and I couldn’t be prouder.
Sure I could have those marks removed. But really, why? They are the tattoo of that accomplishment and the scars of that battle.
I think I’ll stop worrying about them.