My 43 year old body.
That has grown two humans.
That has had a few broken bones.
That had a broken heart, literally, that needed repaired early on.
A body that has changed and morphed so much in these years.
I'm not too keen on my parts these days.
It's my own fault, really.
I don't exercise anymore.
And I should.
I do farm chores and walk a lot.
I should walk more.
I should strength train.
But I've always found regular exercise boring.
I was a dancer once, you see.
I thrived exercising in a group setting.
Where music and sweat mingled.
I used to have a strong body.
A thin body.
A body of muscle.
I didn't weigh over 115 pounds during college.
Or after college.
When I still danced, but also was too poor to eat much.
I adored my body then.
I took it for granted that it would always be there for me.
Externally, I am different now.
My thighs are bigger.
They aren't large from muscle like in the past.
They are large from carrying children on my hips.
My arms have some sag.
I lost the muscle there, too.
My neck has started to sag.
I have no idea when or how that happened.
It seems to have appeared overnight.
My waist has expanded and is very unflattering.
I like to wear large underpants that I can pull up over all offenses I see.
My waist stretched and ballooned out from growing two children.
My breasts droop.
They used to be so pert and taut.
They swelled with milk after my children were born.
They fed one for 12 continuous months.
My body is different now.
I could change it.
And I probably should.
Or does it matter?
That's a question I've yet to answer for myself.
On a more superficial level, there are things about my face I don't like.
Never have liked.
I doubt I ever will like them.
It's too wide.
I don't like it.
Don't tell me I should.
I've lived with it and it's mine to dislike.
As I dislike my skin.
It's never cooperated with me.
I've tried all sorts of products, went to the dermatologists as a teen, and it just doesn't like me.
I would say it profoundly hates me.
I envy women with blemish free skin.
I really, truly, deeply envy them.
I have two daughters.
Two daughters who will be judged on how they look from their peers.
Girls can be so damaging towards one another.
I don't this is a streak that can ever be stopped.
There will always be mean girls who will tell you that you look bad.
So, all that I can do, as a mother, is to remind them that they are beautiful.
Inside and out.
And to not let them hear me when I complain about my nose or my skin or my waist.
Or should I let them hear?
To know that it's okay to like or not like something about themself?
Because no matter what is said, over and over and over, you will always find something to dislike about yourself.
Every man I know does it.
Every woman I know does it.
It's part of being human, I think.
To want to be different.
To yearn for something you used to have.
Or for something you've always hoped you had.
Be it a new set of feet.
Or the exquisite shoulders you had when you were 20.
I see myself in both of my daughters, though.
And I look at them and see nothing but beauty.
And I don't know how to feel about myself.
My body has changed in it's 43 years.
The skinny legs from my childhood evolved into dancer legs.
And now they are facing middle age.
What the future holds for them is up to me.
As they hold me up...