Can We Talk about Bodies?

Specifically, being in a woman’s body? For a quick minute?

Growing up is a confusing process, even just physically. One day you know how big you are, and the next your pants are too short and your shoes are pinching at your toes. You begin bumping into stationary things like door frames. It’s easy to take this in stride as a child because, well, it’s happening to everyone else too. I think there’s a misconception that our bodies are static after age 22 or so, or that they should be. No more growing so we’re done, right? There are some obvious cosmetic changes to aging, like graying hair and acquiring wrinkles, but I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about strength and softness, stretching and snapping back, the weird shock of suddenly realizing your thighs feel like sausage inside the casing of your skinny jeans. (Darn skinny jeans! I’m convinced, I’ll admit, that if the world were rid of skinny jeans, every woman over the age of 19 would be a little bit happier with herself.)

Some of these trendy clothes are just not made for a woman’s body. We have hips (“they need space to/ move around in”) and waists, thighs and bellies. Whose idea were low-cut pants?! The seam crosses the midsection of our bellies, a constant cutting reminder – you have this belly. Since beginning yoga, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been able to catch myself sucking in my stomach, just walking around, running errands, anything. Yoga has helped me tune into that unconscious movement and tightness, drawing up and in. How are we supposed to breathe fully, to fully be ourselves when some part of our brain is going, “Suck in your tummy”?

Even women’s clothing seems to be telling us, “Don’t take up space; be small. Be little and dainty and delicate,” like the paper wings of a moth, disintegrating into powder at the light touch of a finger. It makes me so sad when I hear women say things like, “I just want to fit into size x,” or, “I need to get ready for bikini season.” Why let inanimate objects like bikinis and wedding dresses tell you how you should eat and move and live? A bikini won’t celebrate with you; a dress that fits isn’t going to make you an amazing person. You make yourself amazing. You, your mind, your body, your passions, your speech, and your actions.

I don’t want to be small! I’m proud of my climber’s shoulders for pulling me up mountains. I’m proud of the circumference of my thighs for carrying me and my belongings through this wide world. I’m proud of my gut for its astonishing ability to turn CLIF bars and kale and macaroni and cheese and chai tea lattes into fuel. Our bodies tell our stories – not just in scars and stretchmarks, but in muscle and tendon and bone, in white blood cell count and posture and stance.

Now, if only I could find some jeans to fit this awesome body of mine! Your loss, jeans – your loss.

Love to all.

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4 thoughts on “Can We Talk about Bodies?

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