This body

My body is growing strong, as I recently wrote in “Substantial.”

It’s thrilling, but I’ve been frustrated with my body, too. Once it could fall asleep in any position and awaken without a hint of stiffness, and endure without complaint just about any hardship I opted to put it through.

The last several months, I’ve dealt with extreme sensitivities. If there’s a hint of new plastic in a room or if someone on the elevator before me was wearing perfume, my body tells me so by swelling up. It’s hard to breathe, or to swallow, effects that persist long after a given trigger does. The worse the exposure, the more my body treats everything and anything in the environment as toxic, and the longer it takes to heal.

Days like today, I’m angry with my body for failing me. How could it do this to me? How could it make me dread every trip into the outside world as I struggle to find the magical formula to leave me inflammation free?

But then, there aren’t many days like today.

I awakened to tragic news related to a dear family friend. That news sprang to my mind as I cursed my body for not being as indestructible as I want it to be. I thought, too, of one blogger’s sentiment that some of us have more minutes than others.

My body has given me many minutes. If it breathed its last breath tonight, that final gasp wouldn’t diminish in any way those glorious moments preceding.

We walk around thinking our bodies are too short or too tall, too fat or too thin, too pale or too dark, too too too, or not enough. I hear and see dozens of signs of this every day. Much more rarely do I hear, “Damn, body, you done me good today!”

Why do we do this to our bodies, seeing what isn’t instead of what is?

I want to see what is.

This body was born from life.This body gave birth to life.

thank you, Li'l D, for making a mom of me

This body gives its son a lap to sit on.

This body’s nose smells his hair.

This body’s lips kiss his perfect forehead.

This body’s hands hold his smaller ones.

This body’s back carries his weight when he is sleepy.

This body ran two marathons and, barefoot, a half-marathon.

Summited K2! Oh, wait.

This body swam in near-freezing waters to stand atop a rock of ice.

This body has dived from great heights, trusting the water below to yield to it.

This body’s arms hug the people I love, the connection reminding me how real and substantial they are.

This body’s toes revel in the feel of the ocean’s sand, and its ears in the sound of the waves.

everything's safer with mommy

This body’s mouth has spoken difficult words with shaking voice and savored the shape of loving ones.

This body’s fingertips have typed out hundreds of thousands of words that have connected me with friends around the world. Its eyes have read many friends’ words.

This body has housed me, been me, carried me, lifted me, rocked me and rolled me.

This body’s heart will someday stop, but will do so having beaten–if I am so lucky–a couple billion times.

Until then, this body, my body, deserves not my curses but my sincerest thanks.

I am thankful for this body.

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  1. June 25, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Great perspective! I am thankful for you–and your body.

  2. June 25, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    This is really beautiful. I know how you feel, I’ve been dealing with inflammation for the past 13 years as it progressively gets worse. I have to be so strict about what I eat and be vigilant with supplements. The weather affects me the worst though so I need to move to a dry climate. It’s painful too which makes it harder to stay positive. You are right though, gratitude for all the good things is the best way to deal with it. Thanks for the life affirming post.

    • June 30, 2013 at 5:46 am

      It’s funny, because the word “inflammation” doesn’t sound like it would be so awful . . . but it is. It really is–so many terrible, varied impacts from it. How does the weather impact you, if you don’t mind sharing a little on that?

      • June 30, 2013 at 11:59 am

        Humidity, either hot or cold, causes inflammation in my tendons, which can be achy or downright painful. We get a lot of rain in spring/summer and snow in winter where I live, so it’s a constant battle to keep moving and stay positive on the bad days. Then vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sunlight in winter causes muscle weakness and more pain. I take vitamin D year round but it’s not that straightforward of a fix since everything is interrelated, including age and my thyroid problem. So the bottom line is that it takes a lot of mental & physical work to stay healthy and active, and the weather conditions do not support increased activity in my case.

  3. June 25, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    What an awesome post…thank you 🙂

    • June 30, 2013 at 5:49 am

      It helped me immensely to write it! I was sitting feeling grumpy one morning when I found myself wondering, “If I started saying ‘thanks’ instead of grumbling, how’d that feel?” The answer was: much better! I wanted to write it all out to help solidify the understanding I gained from that. 🙂

  4. June 26, 2013 at 3:48 am

    As I hopped up the stairs this morning, stiff and sore I thought to myself ouch. You have reset my perspective on all the things I am still able to do! Thank you.

  5. June 26, 2013 at 4:25 am

    Beautiful, Deb–AMEN!

    • June 30, 2013 at 5:49 am

      I just reread this and, hoo-boy, does it make me glad I wrote this. I’ll definitely be revisiting it ahead!

  6. June 26, 2013 at 6:40 am

    I love this. xoxo

  7. June 26, 2013 at 6:48 am

    Our bodies, our temples :-).

  8. June 26, 2013 at 7:18 am

    Great reminder to “love the one you’re with.”

  9. June 26, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Earlier this year I watched my last remaining grandparent fade away. She was bedridden for the year before she died. It makes you very conscious of the simple things your body can still do – and thankful too.

    • June 30, 2013 at 5:52 am

      I’m sorry for your loss, but thankful for your sharing this. Even reading your comment makes me stop and reassess all the little things my body is doing well right now: seeing, taking in sounds, typing, holding me upright, breathing. There’s a lot of beauty in these things.

  10. Koa
    December 8, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    I love this! I found it through the newer body piece you just posted. I’d say that after I had breast cancer so young, I just stopped in my tracks any bit of “I wish my thighs were smaller” or “I wish I didn’t have that freckle just there.” I just stopped. It is too bad that women ever start that nonsense, but I am so glad that I stopped.

    • January 8, 2014 at 8:44 pm

      I did not know about the breast cancer, so even just reading about it . . . gives me another glimpse of gratitude into everything I have, even in the midst of pregnancy weirdness. Every day this body enables me to be here is precious. I’m glad for this comment, and for you, and the thought of more brunches to come.

  1. December 8, 2013 at 8:12 am
  2. February 16, 2014 at 8:12 am

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