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First, my knee started acting like a jerk. Then I got the chest infection to top all chest infections. Then while I was sick I picked up a rash that proceeded to cover my entire body in leopard-like spots. I’ve never really been that into animal print, I’m not keen on wearing it on my skin forever. But that wasn’t all, then I coughed so hard I put my back out. I ended up crying bent over at a 45-degree angle to the floor like a wounded animal of some description. It’s been a long month, to say the least.

I’m falling apart over here, people!

It’s frustrating as hell. I miss my body when it was well. Not thinking about it and feeling capable of doing whatever I needed to do. I miss a time when the only thing ‘wrong’ with it was that other people felt weird about its fatness. This isn’t what I want for myself. I want my body back to the way it USED to feel because not having it is making life a struggle. And I say that, with all the privilege that comes with a body that has always been healthy and under my control. Which is remarkably arrogant of me, I know. Yet, here we are.

I’ve never had the kind of body people longed for. Healthy and strong as it was, that’s a bit of a wonder to me. But still, super tall, super broad and practically always fat, there wasn’t much in the way of inspo, apparently. More fool them. Though I’m sure some people wished they had my boobs.

My body is normally the picture of health and determination.

Maybe not the picture you would see in a magazine or on tv, but a picture none-the-less. It is capable and has always toed the line no matter what I have asked of it. In fact, it has only seen fit to refuse me on one specific, baby-related occasion. And in the end, that all worked out for the best. So, why then, was it so hard for me to show it appreciation before now?

Why did I not see all that it has done and will do for me until it was a spotted, sore, painful mess? Why are we as women so determined to withhold appreciate or praise for our bodies until they meet a very specific set of demands?

I mean, it’s bullshit.

Scrolling through Instagram I saw a post where I woman was describing her shock at how comfortable she was in her post-baby body. It was heavier than normal and understandably different from what it had been before. But she was good, she said, impressed by what her body had DONE, not by how it looked for once. And it hit me.

That, right there, is the problem that women face when it comes to our bodies. We are taught to value how they look over how they function. In fact, we are taught to value you them so highly as a part of who we are, that it becomes impossible to see them as the vehicle they are.

I see it everywhere! (and now I’m sure you will too).

It is in the books I read by authors who refer to fatness vaguely and always in the negative. It’s there in the stories we tell each other about what is happening for us in our lives. Measured somehow by a number on the scale or in the back of our jeans.

It’s even there in the women and men of the body positive movement when they determine a cut-off, a point of no return, for what represents an acceptable body or not. Or in who gets to be heard on the topic. How is it that we are being represented by the “same” people over and over when what we really need is for them to step aside so someone else can be heard.

Think about it for a moment.

My body is having a tough time right now, and I’ll support it in whatever ways I can to get it back to the place of reliability and health. But it’s no less effective at keeping me alive than it was before. It’s no less worthy of attention or care than it was before. In a lot of ways, now is the time to commit more of my focus to it.

Not to make it conform to some ideal or to punish it for not performing for me the way I wanted it to. But because I owe it for my time here, for this opportunity to be alive. Now is my chance to be grateful and show it some love. To be loving and kind when right now I feel perfectly justified in beating it up and shaming it into line.

Now is the time to practice what I preach. It’s now or never.

Images that are not of me by AllGo and  Alex Avalos via Unsplash