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How Am I Supposed to Love a Body Like This?

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How am I supposed to love a body like this?

I don’t mean “like this” as in too big or too small or not pretty enough. Having a chronic illness that makes my weight fluctuate, changes my skin, and keeps me from being able to exercise the way I want brings plenty of issues about the way I physically look. But I’m talking about something different.

How am I supposed to love a body that doesn’t love me back? How can I say thank you to a body that wakes me up with a headache in the mornings and puts me to sleep with pain at night? How am I supposed to love a body that requires 10 pills a day to stay upright? How am I supposed to love a body that doesn’t feel like it wants to be alive? It’s like my whole life is a fight between the cage that I’m stuck in and the person I want to be.

My body may not be able to keep my eyes open all day because of the sheer exhaustion and fatigue my diseases bring, but these eyes can read books and look at the stars. These eyes can stare at art, and see sunsets, and look into the faces of those I love.

This heart may beat wildly and out of control, my breath may be labored and quick, but this heart knows how to feel. This heart knows how it feels to be in love, how it feels to lose someone, how it feels to be proud.

This heart knows how to be alive.

These arms may never be muscled and their joints may always hurt, but these arms know how to hold a crying friend. These hands will brush the hair of my daughter, or play catch with my son. These arms will be raised high in hallelujah.

These legs may be swollen and oddly colored and painful to touch, but these legs know how to run into the arms of a lover. These legs have carried me up mountains, have felt the cold of the sea, have walked all over the world. These legs may never run marathons, but these legs will walk me down the aisle someday.

This body may be broken, diseased and tired. But this body knows how to fight. It knows how to get up every morning, how to face days harder than I’ve ever imagined. It knows of the most excruciating pains, but also of the most insurmountable joys. And maybe, just maybe, my body and I are on the same team.

Maybe if I can learn to appreciate all of the things it can do, the way it can feel the sunshine on a beautiful day, or the wind in my face, or hold the hands of a friend, maybe then I can remember. I can remember all it has done for me, all it has survived and overcome. It may be sick, it may be weak and it may be tired. But it is mine. And today I am choosing to believe, despite all the things it cannot do, that my body is beautiful, and strong, and enough.

Getty image by Patronestaff.

Originally published: March 5, 2019
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