Monday, 9 April 2007

This Is My Body

This is my body.

It has housed me since I left the comfort of my mother's womb, my skin has protected me as her body protected me while I developed. It has grown with me, alerted me to my sickness, rewarded my good health. It has carried me through the most painful of sensations and the most blissful of pleasures. With every movement I make my body works for me, with me. This body is perfectly created for its purpose; the legs and feet are stronger with every step I take forward, the arms grow to carry more every day with all extra loads impacted on them. My body renews itself when it is injured, the skin and bones healing themselves in an amazing way that no machine ever will.

My body is shaped like nobody else's body; we are all different and no-one in the world has a body exactly like mine. My body has curves and dips and dimples, my stomach, thighs and buttocks are large and round and soft, my hands slightly worn, my skin scarred by the experiences of my life. My body is the creator of life, and it bears the battle scars of that creation which I wear proudly like a warrior. Like all women's bodies, it grows hair which is also worn proudly, for it is a symbol of my womanhood and my femininity. My body's shape is uniquely beautiful, like every other body in the world.

This is my body.

This body is the only one I was born with, and will be the only one with me when I die. I will be kind to my body; I will never starve it or intentionally harm it, I will cherish it and care for it as well as I can. Because I will never have another body, I will treat this body with the love and respect it deserves, I will never hate it or abuse it. Human beings are not gingerbread people, we are not intended to be identical in every way, and we should not feel like damaged stock if our shape deviates from the accepted norm. My body is the size and shape it is intended to be, and I will embrace it and nourish it without worry or fear of non-accceptance.

When I feel desire I will yield, for we have such a short time on this earth and in these bodies given to us, and at the end of our lives we are proud not of those things we denied ourselves, but those pleasures we experienced. Abstinence and moderation have no place in a short life, and a life full of self-denial is a waste of a life indeed. I will feel no guilt for my indulgences, for I have nobody to answer to but myself, and I have allowed myself a life of pleasure.

This is my body.

It is nobody else's but mine, and for no-one's pleasure but my own. It is not here to be pretty, I do not exist to be a decoration for other people. I will not conform to beauty standards which would cause me to abuse and contort my body into something other than its natural state. Nobody has the right to make comment on my body for it is not theirs to make comment on, nobody has the right to touch my body because it is not theirs to touch. I will share my body with whom I choose, and only whom I choose. I, and only I, will make decisions about my body and its actions and capabilities.

Until its death I will love my body because of the pleasures it offers me, because its capacity for tastes and sensations forms the basis of my enjoyment of life. My body is large and I take up space, space I am proud of occupying. When my body is present, you will know it, and it will not fade into the background. Though it is not conventionally attractive, I will not make it disappear simply because I am told to by billboards and glossy magazines. I will not pull at it, pluck it, starve it and paint it to fit into a world where women are small and take up no more space than allowed. I am proud of my body because it is mine, because it is large, because it is beautiful.

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