Why I Love My Body – Even When It Feels Like It's Falling Apart

I love my body! Despite the fact it’s falling apart on the inside and has been for a very long time…I still love it!

It’s not a model’s body, not by any stretch of the imagination, but my husband still finds it attractive after 24 years together. He took this photo back in 2011 when we went on our first cruise, and when I asked him if he could find it (because I wanted to show it to our daughter to prove I looked good in a two-piece back then), he looked at me almost in disbelief and said, “Of course I can find it.” He knew exactly where it was because it’s a favorite of his.

I was 49 when this photo was taken and I’m 56 now. I don’t look quite the same as back then, but I’m working on it. I’ve had a hip replacement since this was taken, plus another surgery, as well as many years of increased pain with my fibromyalgia and other illnesses. In fact, over half of the invisible illnesses I live with now didn’t even exist in my body when Ray snapped this photo. But I still love my body, just the way it is right now. My weight fluctuates, I have strong arms and legs, but my fingers and hands are weak.

In 2008 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, I walked a half marathon in -9 degree Fahrenheit temperatures (with a windchill of -30). The annual Running Room Hypothermic Half Marathon is quite famous and is now held in cities across North America. This was my very first time – I took a training program but hadn’t trained properly near race day because of my health and really, I probably shouldn’t have even done it. However, I finished in 3:30:22, and in fact it was such a good race time that Ray almost didn’t make it to the finish line in time to take photos of me crossing.

A picture of the writer facing the ocean while standing on a cruise ship, while wearing a bikini.

I love my body now, but there was a time when I mourned for the body I used to have. Back in the mid 2000s, I used to be in great shape. I went to the gym, I had a trainer, and I lifted weights – heavy weights. I was well muscled and toned, and in the best shape of my life. It was only because of three unexpected surgeries between 2006 and 2007 that my life derailed and I was unable to recuperate properly. The fact that I had barely done any proper training for the Hypothermic Half when the marathon actually took place was a real testament to the shape I’d been in previously. We really take our bodies for granted when they’re running well, don’t we?

I still love my body! Even after everything it’s put me through with surgeries, fibro, chronic pain, chronic fatigue and all the other invisible illnesses, it’s the only body I have, so I try to stay positive and treat it well. I like to try to keep my mind sharp as well so I enjoy doing things like word search puzzles and crosswords and I’ve always enjoyed those online hidden object games. Because I don’t get out of the house a lot, I do tend to spend a lot of time on the computer, but sometimes, I’m aware of being “housebound.” It’s an awful sensation and it makes me feel like an invalid. A shut-in if you will. How about you? Do you ever feel that way?

In order to try to take care of myself, I’ve recently taken on a 30 Day Challenge to do 20 squats, 20 wall push-ups and 20 bicep curls every day. I want to try and be as fit as I can in the body I have but I know I need to start slow so I don’t cause a fibro flare-up. This was my modified answer to an invitation from a friend for a 100 Squats a Day Challenge. So far, I’m on day four and I’ve done all days in good form! Go me! I set an alarm on my iPhone to remind me what to do and when, and I’m determined to follow through!

There was a time when I didn’t always feel this way. I felt like my body had betrayed me. It was hard to go from being so healthy to suddenly being bedridden half the time, or unable to go for a walk without using a cane or my walker. It was frightening to think that this was going to be my future, and chances were it wasn’t going to get better, only worse. And in a lot of ways, it’s been true. I’ve had to give up hobbies I loved because I don’t have the stamina to keep doing them.

Despite everything, I still love my body. I’ve forgiven it for what its gone through. I know it’s not it’s fault, it just is what it is. Overall, on the outside, I think I’m aging well. I have no wrinkles, lots of silver in my hair which I love, and the older I get, the more content I seem to be with life in general. I’m in love with my hubby, my kids are doing well in their lives and my three grandsons are all happy and healthy. Those are the things I like to focus on, not the parts of my body that are breaking down left, right and center. I try to remain positive and stay joyous. Contentment is achievable, but it takes fortitude and the right mental attitude. Our bodies are complex, but they’re all we have. Let’s all be strong and learn to love them again, just as they are.

I love my body.

Image Credits: Pamela Jessen

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