Right now, my body is doing what it should. It hasn’t always. That’s clear. I’d have children by now. I’d be slimmer. I’d have been a star athlete and a Silver Fern rather than just a talented but rather out-of-breath athlete. I wouldn’t be quite so pale and vulnerable to the unprotected New Zealand sun. My feet would be smaller. And my bum. I’d have 20-20 vision. Oh, and my hair wouldn’t be going grey. Still, I put those moans aside, because they’re part and parcel of normal life.
I have often heard women say “I hate my body.” They hate their body because it has let them down, they feel it has let their partners down, and not least their unborn children. I can understand those thoughts. But they make me sad. The anger I hear women direct towards their bodies seems so toxic. I’m not sure I ever felt that way – I never saw my body as something separate from me, something that should be blamed, or hated. I did feel broken though.
Right now, however, I’m not trying to conceive, or carry a child, so my body doesn’t feel broken. Right now, my body gets me up in the morning, carries me around during the day, is strong enough that I can work out regularly at the gym, or walk around the hills of my suburb. I am strong enough that I can cook, lift the garage door (until it’s fixed), lift a heavy suitcase, reach things on the top of a shelf. Unlike my darling niece, I can digest my food without medication, unlike a nephew the only gasping I do is after a hard workout, not because I need my asthma inhaler. I’m having physiotherapy on my knee, but in doing that I am revelling in the strength I am developing in sadly neglected muscles. My knee isn’t failing me. I failed it – but I’m fixing that.
My body is amazing. It’s ordinary; it’s not The Body by any means. But it could be a lot worse. And it deserves my respect, and my gratitude.