The Hour I First Believed

My body for so long was my secret shame, the taboo subject. I remember lying on the couch, looking at my seven-year-old legs and declaring to myself that they were too fat.

I had become a believer. In that specific moment, all the judgments I’d absorbed from the world around me just popped into my head, a full-grown bundle of beliefs that I’ve carried most of my life.

My religion had simple rules: it was good to be thinner. Which meant that my body, naturally a little rounder, never measured up. I compared it to my friends’ bodies. My mother offered help in the form of diet pills, which I took to lose weight in high school. My body changed shapes quickly, depending on how much I used food to manage my suffering. Or punished myself with exercise to maintain its shape. For many years, I was in a war with my body and with food.

I’ve given up on brutalizing myself about the shape of my body. However, as I have grown wiser, I’ve also grown older. My knees have been creaking a lot for a while now. My mind says they shouldn’t, but they do. Another opportunity to judge my body, find it failing. And to find the freedom on the other side of that.

As I’ve been experiencing injuries after a recent head-on collision, I’ve noticed more gratitude for my body. What an amazing servant it is! Loving the way it is, knowing it will likely continue to need more attention as it ages. I have begun to serve it, even as I live into a deep understanding of its impermanence.

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