19 August, 2011

Accepting my body

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.


  1. body hatred is such a strange thing, isn't it? I went through periods of this when I was younger, but I got through it. I agree, our bodies do a lot of amazing things for us. Sure, they do fail us sometimes but for the most part it is a pretty amazing and integral part of who we are.

  2. My body and I argue a lot (I think it should automatically be thinner, it thinks I should stop feeding it ice cream) but even during the middle of infertility and loss, I couldn't hate it either.

  3. I started out hating only my ovaries when I was unable to get pregnant. After the miscarriage, my focus changed to my uterus. It took a lot of work to forgive both. Nowadays I try to be grateful because the rest of my body works well enough for me to enjoy a healthy and happy life, even if I keep forgetting.

  4. I had a great yoga teacher that helped me put my body worship into prospective. As we were in poses, he would say breathe and say..." we are doing this so we can know how to fall, be able to carry our groceries and walk up and down stairs"
    When we are treating our bodies well, we feel better. Now and as we age.
    Thank you body for allowing me to carry you thru the day and get me to where I need to be.

  5. what a beautiful post - inspiring and something I want to try to do more