No, I don’t hate my body! Do you?

"Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases - As ...
“Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases – As Dangerous as Poison Gas Shells”. U.S. Public Health ad on dangers of Spanish Flu epidemic during World War I. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s the blog post that prompted this:

  • Love my breasts/Hate my thighs
  • Love my hair except when it’s frizzy and the gray is showing/wish my nose was straighter
  • Midsection could be better/but at least I have slender ankles and calves
  • Despise my  hips but my butt isn’t bad
  • Copacetic with teeth & skin (except for the increasing number of age spots!)
  • Happy with my feet/but what happened to my hands?! They look like my grandma’s hands used to look!
  • ….and so on.
I’m putting this out there not for reassurance or to ask for compliments (an annoying habit) but to get the words down on paper, see how dumb it all looks and say: I WANT TO STOP THIS.
I find this post sad as hell. The writer has one of the best jobs in American magazine journalism, a terrific husband, and is a great-looking woman. If you have a decent income, a loving partner and health, you are blessed in ways that millions of people — Syrians fleeing Aleppo, African babies dying of malnutrition, American grads desperate for their first job — are not.
Why, seriously, would you hate your body? It’s the only one you’ve got. It’s not like “Oh, I hate those shoes!” and you can slip into another pair. This is it, kids. You can’t leave it, so you better find a way to love it.
Yes, I struggle with my weight. I weigh about 40 pounds more than I should and 60 (?!) more than one doctor insisted was ideal. I could cut off an arm or two…So I don’t look in the mirror thrilled every single day, but nor do I berate or chastise myself for being…human. I’m fighting hard to lose the weight, watching my jawline and eyelids head south (shriek!) and still in love with my strong hands and pretty feet.
Since the year 2000, when I had my first orthopedic surgery — of four since then — my relationship to my body has radically changed. I had two arthroscopies, one on each knee, within two years. In 2007, I landed in a hospital bed with pneumonia, caused from working through illness, with a 104 degree temperature and a spot on my lung X-ray so large that the ER doctor who admitted me drew a curtain around the bed and told me it might be lung cancer.
As I lay in that bed, coughing uncontrollably for hours to clear my congested lungs, drenched in fever sweat, I realized the precious fragility of my body — all our bodies. I’ve been a nationally-ranked saber fencer, so I’m hardly frail, petite or weak. But the body has limits.
And so, standing that hospital shower, I apologized aloud to my poor, sore, cough-wracked corpus. Never again would I — nor have I since — take it for granted or abuse it like some machine whose batteries are easily replaced. They are not.
In February of this year, I was given a new left hip, the ceramic head made in France, the socket made in Warsaw, Indiana. Thanks to it, I am now once more able to dance, climb stairs, cycle, walk. I hope, soon, to get into the batting cage and regain my skills enough to rejoin my co-ed softball team after a two-year absence.
Your body, no matter what its size or shape or color, is a gift.
You will not have it forever, and may not even have it tomorrow.
Love it now.

23 thoughts on “No, I don’t hate my body! Do you?

  1. “I’m sexy and I know it…” 😀

    I think I look pretty good for my age and all the things I’ve already put my body through. I like this body. It’s been darn good to me. And I feel darn good, and I think that’s what’s important. So I’m going to keep taking care of it. Cuz the other day, I was with some friends in a bar and I got carded. And I’m in my 40s. Heh.

  2. jose lopez

    I am the husband of this blogger/author/journalist and I can honestly say, I love her body as it houses one of the biggest hearts, smartest brains and largest spirit that I have ever had the honor to know in this lifetime. (This is an unsolicited response.)

  3. “You will not have it forever, and may not even have it tomorrow.” So true; I will think on this for quite some time. As to my body, I’m not a huge fan. There have been times when I’ve eaten well and exercised daily and I’ve thought, you know, I’m not doing so bad. But recently I’ve felt like a sack of old spuds. Best eat well tonight and walk well tomorrow. Thanks, as always, for the thoughtful post.

  4. Amen. Could not agree more. Somedays every ounce of my being wants to scream this out, and then on my lesser, more weak days, I worry about my thighs. Thanks for helping me remember that every piece of my body is a gift.

    1. Once your body fails you — and if you are able to regain its strength and power — you never see it the same way again. I wouldn’t wish that sort of tragedy on anyone, but we often completely fail to appreciate what we do have and focus so much wasted energy on what we (think) we do not.

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