I have been cruel to my new body, berating it, resenting it, and comparing it to my “old” body. Which I yearn for every time my husband looks at me, every time I catch a glimpse of my own reflection. I tend to forget the level of contempt I held for my “old” body when it was the one I lived in. I want to change the way I view my body now, I want to appreciate the experiences which have shaped it and proudly proclaim adoration for it.
My hands which were once polished and smooth, filed and unblemished, are now chipped and calloused.But they still paint and caress, type, clap and sketch. They are just fuller now, full of laundry, dishes, tiny fingers, toys, blankies, binkies and graham crackers. At first glance, my hands are undistinguished, they don’t ooze of femininity, decorated and bejeweled, but my hands are important, they wipe and wash, they heal and cheer, they guide and protect. I love my new hands.
My arms are no longer slender and tan. They are plump and pale, frequently hidden by long sleeved shirts. But they have the power to fix things, to make everything better with an enveloping hug. They have the power to express love beyond compare, to ignite intimacy and create solidarity. I love my new arms.
My stomach is no longer flat or smooth. Its convex curves spill over my jeans, causing me constant frustration. But it is where my daughters grew, where I kept them safe until they were ready to enter the world. It is where they love to snuggle. The shallow pink ridges along the surface are a reminder of my greatest accomplishment. My stomach is soft to touch, a place my husband’s hand often sweeps across, a reminder of his love, a show of appreciation for the gifts my body given us. I love my new stomach.
My legs are no longer slender, they touch when I walk and are dimpled in places I wish were smooth. But my legs allow me to walk beside my husband, to run and play. My legs are strong, they allow me to lift both of my girls, to carry them, to jump with them, to chase them. I love my new legs.
My body is not perfect. It is no longer perky, or tan and or slender. But my body is strong, my body lives, my body gives life. I love my new body.