Kristen R has inspired me with her awesomeness check (a reblog of this “Waking Up Full of Awesome” post) , so I’m going to look for some of my own awesomeness right now. I hope you will do the same. Sometimes it takes us a while to find the awesome, but if we look hard enough, it’s always there.
I picked Free up from school on Friday afternoon; the plan was to jet up to Vermont early to avoid traffic. We hit a couple of snags. First, my car wouldn’t start, and we killed an hour before Newman wiggled the wires going into the car battery and got it started again. Next, we missed our highway exit because I was playing the alphabet game with Free and was busier looking for letters than I was for exits. That put us into 5 miles of heavy traffic as we looped back. Finally, when we got out of the major traffic and figured we were safe to find a fast-food joint to curb our appetites, we took no fewer than 4 exits only to drive several miles on each and never find any food.
None of this is awesome…in case you were wondering. But I didn’t let it get to me; I just kept on truckin’, modeled my deep breathing for Free, and about an hour and a half after I first thought of it, had the best Big Mac I’ve had in, well, forever, since I don’t really ever eat them.
Yesterday morning, I woke up at my mother’s house in Vermont. My nose was cold, as it often is when I wake up in Vermont, but I stretched out my legs and arms to find Free, who was curled up next to me, dug into the heaped-up blankets and her sheepskin. I pulled her close, feeling her warmth as she snuggled in. I watched her wake up and slowly emerge from her dreamy relaxed state. We both had terrible, stinky breath, and I had to pee, but neither of us was in a hurry to get out of the warm spot we’d made, so we stayed close, giggling and teasing each other, challenging the other to get up first.
Just like that, the awesome started to creep in.
When Free and I finally got up and made our way downstairs, I did my exercises on the floor, an excellent way to warm up. As I was doing them, I thought about all the ways I love my body. I’m not kidding; I really did. There I was, with Free dancing around me and on top of me, occasionally, as I tried to hammer out the pushups and squats and crunches, and I was just so happy to be able to do it. It felt good, and it had nothing to do with how much weight I’ve lost (0 lbs, as far as I know), or how svelte my body is (same as always, pretty much), or how graceful I was (not so very); rather, it had everything to do with the simple fact that I could do all these things. I was watching my daughter, noticing how strong and lovely she is, and I was watching my mother, whose remains very active at 73 years of age (despite having had 8 babies, arthritis, and a broken back, among other things), and I was just struck with how grateful I should feel, all the time, for the body I was given and all it allows me to do.
I love my body because of its round curves and smooth skin; it makes soft places for my child and lover to rest their heads and their hearts. I love my hands that can hold theirs, that can give secret handshakes, pinch cheeks, and rub backs. I love my fingers that type and touch, my arms that spread wide and close again to hug and hold. I love my feet that stroke the country roads, one step after another after another. I love my legs that take me places, stretching out to greet the paths I choose, leading me along whether I’m unsure or eager to follow. I love my heart and lungs that allow, even encourage me to take them for granted, lending life with each beat, each pulse, each swallow of air, each exhale that keeps me going, laughing, living. I love my other parts too, of course: my hips that I can lean into and still carry my big girl on, my back and shoulders that carry tension and turmoil, yet never let it show. I love my round parts and my firm parts, my saggy parts and my still spirited parts.
I love the way my body responds: my ears that listen, my tongue that tastes, and my eyes that take in great gulps of beauty every day. I love the way my partner can wake up parts of me I thought were asleep and remind me that my body, heart, and mind should all be alive together. I love that my body is a machine, and that it will usually do what I ask it to when I ask it to. I love that it will often tell me when to slow down and when to settle, too. I love that my body relishes itself and its world. I love that it shows me my limits and that, just when I think I’ve learned them, it nudges me to try something new or not to give up so easily. I love the lessons my body has taught me about myself: that I’m stronger than I think I am, yet I’m not indestructible. That exercise feels good and that a Big Mac tastes great–and eating one every once in a while is a forgivable offense.
I love my scars: the tiny ones around my knees from hurdle-falls and razor-cuts–they are reminders of the girl I used to be, happy and in a hurry to become. I love my silver sliver that lines my lower abdomen, the one that marks Free’s entrance into the world and mine into motherhood and the place of never looking back. I love my ridiculous tattoo and the unsightly bubble from my naval piercing gone wrong. They remind me not to take myself too seriously and that sometimes, it’s ok to be spontaneous. They tell me that we are all bound to be marked by life, and sometimes, we are lucky enough to choose how.
What are the things you love about your body?
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