I know the curve of my upper lip. It points with just a little bit of lipstick. I know my foot – how its arch is just a little too high for normal heels. I know my hair, it’s thick. My waist, it can get thick too. I know my voice and my knees. I know my scent. At least to me.
I know the way I look and talk and think. I always have. Until I didn’t.
After I got sick, and then after I had children, I had to get reintroduced to my body. It was not a happy reunion. My face and my breasts and my neck sagged. My skin was ashy and my eyes were drawn. My belly was round and paunchy and sometimes people still asked me when I was due.
The sickness took my body from me in a way that was cruel and swift. I was thin and then I wasn’t. My thyroid out – twenty pounds came in. My energy sapped, my eyes, people told me, lost their glow. I think, if possible, I shrunk.
When my children took my body it was much less fast and much more beautiful. I grew as they grew, inside and outside. Like they had my youth by a string as as they grew away from me, they pulled the youth along with them.
So now as I reclaim my body – not the youth or the old curves, not the old hair (it’s thinner now) – it has become important for me to get to know it. I need to know how my skin reacts to a long day in the sun. I need to know what tequila does to the back of my throat – what an all-night-er with a man, my man, does to my eyelids.
Because as much as I used to know it, now this is all new to me, and I have two choices. I can deny it, fly screaming from my maturity on the wings of nostalgia, or I can hold on tight and try it all on. This new body may not be shiny and new, but its comfortable and practiced. It can feel more, because it’s felt more. It can stretch and it might not bounce back all the way, but maybe the new shape is beautiful enough.