I measured myself the other day. Pull across widest part of your breasts, your hips. Bend to one side and find a crease — that’s your waist. The numbers were unfamiliar to me, someone who knows life off the rack, a former S, now generally an M.
I measured my height. 53 inches from collarbone to big toe. There I was, naked in front of the big mirror in my bedroom. The bedroom I share with my boyfriend, that is. Me learning to say “ours” and not “his.”
The dogs liked the measuring tape, maybe it could be a toy. If I didn’t think they’d choke on it I’d let them tote it around, the $1 package I’d ordered online, because I didn’t feel like finding one in a store. And $1. I mean, that’s great. That’s a great price to pay to know how big you are. How small. How flat, how round.
I’m going to be a bridesmaid in a February wedding. This is why I was measuring, seeing what size dress I need to buy. I wasn’t surprised by my chest, by my hips and butt. Those things I have come to terms with. My waist was more inches than I thought a waist should be. I sucked in, pulled the tape tighter.
I think about my body so often. I live in it and in yoga they tell us that we are not our bodies. Our bodies are a vessel, they carry our spirits. I like my spirit bigger breasted and flatter tumm-ied but maybe that’s just me still learning. I’m still in flux.
You know how it feels to be in flux in your mind. In your life. That is me every moment (you too, maybe). And in my body. I want parts of it to look different. Sometimes I think it looks great. Usually I think it’s fine. More often than I care to ponder, I despise parts of it. Or worse, I think about how I’ll be better off when those parts change.
My body changes every day. I step on the scale sometimes. I tell myself not to, but I do. Dripping after a shower or after a workout, wondering how much of me is strong, how much of me is water, how much of me is that pasta I had two, well, three servings of. Fuckin carbs, I think.
The cool thing about my body is that I am in control of it. I am healthy and for this I am generally unaware and sometimes blisfully grateful. Thank you, body.
There is the soft swell of my stomach. I will never have abs. There is the spiky black hair that sprouts from my legs, under my arms. I have to shave. Or rather, I choose to shave. There’s my big-ish nose. I remember the time a boy I’d met at a bar texted me, “You have a flat chest and a big nose.” I thought, “Yes, yes I do.”
I think I have two warts on my right foot and much to the horror of most people I can imagine, I chew my fingernails off rather than clip them. Well, I guess that’s hygiene.
My thighs rub together and the top parts of my arms jiggle when I wave them wildly which is actually a thing I do a lot.
That’s good, though, to wave one’s arms wildly. That’s happiness.
I am happy, every day. I am other things too. Mostly anxious, always planning, very rarely, but enough so that it can hurt, depressed. My body revolts, my stomach pushing against my jeans when I’d rather it curve into my backbone. My knees hurt after a long day of sitting cross-legged. I sit cross-legged in dresses, at fancy restaurants. I wind into myself because that’s how I find comfort.
I think one of my hips is higher than the other. No, I know it is. The funny and impossible thing is that I always forget which one.
My dog is constantly licking me and in the summer when I wear a permanent sheen of sweat she is the lickiest dog in the world. She likes lotion on my legs or ketchup on my fingers. My body is a vessel of sorts for her, too. I like that.
To exist in this world we’d do well to accept our bodies. We certainly don’t have to (sometimes I haven’t, others times I am content with the capabilities of my form) but it helps a lot. Recently my sister pointed to a mole on my back, “Have you always had that?” My boyfriend peered at said mole, touched it lightly. “She has for as long as I’ve known her.”
I don’t think I’d ever heard anything so romantic.
To love your own body, that’s good, so very good. It’s an added bonus to have someone else peer at it, lovingly, knowing every spot on your skin. I sit in this moment, 100 percent love and nothing else, and feel OK in my body. This will pass, I will and I won’t be OK. But for now, I am more than measurements and I am more than the clothes I wear and I am more than comparisons to others. I am closed-eyes-known-to-the-touch-skin to someone else. Oh, that feels good.