I do, it must be said, take my body for granted. I live far more in my head than in my skin, perhaps part of being such a verbal thinker, that I don’t always notice my body until something goes wrong. I’m incredibly grateful that it gets me from A to B, is getting stronger and fitter as I go to the gym, looks good in clothes (so I’ve been told) and carries my brain around. Mostly though, it’s an afterthought. I don’t personally consider myself attractive, though apparently I am, just because that really doesn’t matter to my image of me too much most of the time. I am fat, and that sometimes bothers me, but mostly because my body is telling me about it through mild sleep apnoea, foot cramping (now fixed with orthotics), a small range of other mild annoyances. I’d like to lose the 10 kgs I’ve put on this year through illness and starting a new job, and I will in time, and then my body will be happier with me.
I cut my finger badly on Saturday night while cooking dinner and every time I injure myself I’m brought back into my body and what it does, how it works and how I use it. I discover that I use bits of my body that I don’t think about in ways that I never considered before. I didn’t realise until Saturday night how much I use the side of my fingers, or how they are used as I move through the world.
I do love my hands, I suppose I spend more time admiring them than other parts of my body, but then again I do have a thing for hands. And eyes… and I certainly love my eyes. I will stare quite happily at them in a mirror for minutes at a time, provided I’m not caught doing so. I like to touch things and feel them against my skin (well some things), and I’m currently intrigued with my body being as hairy as it is right now for the first time since puberty, as I’ve stopped waxing while dealing with a case of recurring hives (and wanting less triggers for itches than I already have), and feeling the wind interacting with my leg hair is certainly a sensation I’d completely forgotten.
I do have self image crises from time to time, worry that I’m not attractive enough (whatever that really means – I’m not even sure now – but its a crisis when it happens), or that I’m not able to fit into that corset I bought 4 years ago when I weighed less. Generally though I’ve reached a point where I know that this is the only body I’m going to have and that I should start appreciating it and stop hating it (I reached that about 5 years ago). I’m at that point where if someone else has a problem with the way I look or am shaped, then that’s their problem and certainly not mine. It’s made my life easier, but also means that since I’m not stressing about how I look or what others think, that I tend not stress or think about my body very much – which may or may not be a good thing. I dress professionally (though usually comfortably) for work, comfortably and whatever works for home, and when I go out, if I feel like dressing up I do, but if I don’t, then I don’t.
I’m incredibly grateful I’m surrounded by people who love me for who I am, enjoy spending time with me, love my brain and my body and that they are the ones who matter most to me. Random people who know nothing about me can say all they like about my physical appearance, and I won’t care – those that love me, know me and care about me – their opinion matters when I ask (which I don’t), “does my arse look big in this?) or when I actually ask, “How’m I lookin’?”