An Appreciation Post for My Able-Body


How wonderful is this body that gives me no pain, no concern as it carries out its thousands of processes, without me having to even think twice about having to breathe, being able to eat or sleep? How wonderful it is, that I get to feel the sun with goosebumps on my skin. How wonderful it is, to have to be able to wake up every morning and carry through the day without any discomfort and simply recess into the thoughts in my head. The other day I took my body for a spontaneous swim in the ocean, and then this day I wanted to climb a whole hill for a beautiful view and my body just served me when I ventured into the world on a whim. Able-bodied people don't think twice about it. But one should always, always feel grateful.

II And yet I don't always feel like this every day. The other day, I went shopping and tried on a dress, and I'm not sure if it was the general disposition of the day, but as soon as the lights in the room went on, and I could see all of me in the mirror, I felt very put-off. Was it the cellulite? Was it the discovery of new stretch marks that never existed before? Was it the tummy rolls, that I never had time to pay attention to? Or the pores of my skin, that seem elaborately enlarged after the constant barrage of botox ads on Instagram? Or the slim beautiful airbrushed size 4 model's poster on the wall, that was supposed to be a representative of the bigger bodies? Was it just the month of September that somewhat become a gross reminder of what's my age again by all the wallowers around me, even though I'm happier than ever? Was it the sales representative's general dismissiveness of my request for better colours in my size? (Side-note to rant on these market researchers who somehow omit even a standard-sized woman like me) Whatever it was, I didn't feel very good about it.

III The other day, I felt like shit. Usually, a hormone imbalance as that podcast educates me about why it usually happens when eggs get no babies (PMS). Or when your dopamine high from alcohol, sugar, social media, coffee, or job starts to hit a low. I was drained of energy and emotionally exhausted with my day. So shitty, that I couldn't help but cry over a 7-year old itch that barely affects my life anymore. I really had nothing to cry about that day, but my mood was all over the place. Even my best attempts, wouldn't let me enjoy the tea, the weather, or the company.


I stumbled across the pictures of myself from 16 (a very awkward teen), who very much scanned all of the newspapers on getting abs and avoided dollops of butter on paranthas even on a Sunday. And hated the fact that mom wouldn't let me wax even though school was always bad for my self-esteem.  It's 2007, my body was changing, Facebook was rating girls on their desirability and my school's social hierarchy was very much based on the perceived sexiness of short skirts or basketball biceps.


The conversations in the bathrooms follow a script --

"I hate my boobs","I hate my butt", "My mom thinks I should get a nose-job" (Stuff I heard over the years)

It's my turn now to say something hateful about my body, so  I chime in 

"I hate that my eyebrows are bushy". 

The girls agree and then I pass the parcel to someone else. It felt hypocritical, because at that time, to a large extent I really didn't care about my eyebrows, but I guess you need a little self-loathing to fit in cliques. Eventually, all of it starts to become an actual monologue in your head -- "Oh no, eyebrows are not done, can't be happy today".  And that's the shift of the narrative in my head. From being happy in my skin to perpetual dissatisfaction. 


But then it shifted again, from being too tired of trying to fit in, trying to refrain, I just let go. At 23, I tell myself, I'm never going to be a model, but at least this mac and cheese is tasty.  Instead of treating this body with kindness, I dump it with alcohol, sugar, and carbs. I convince myself that even Kate Moss is not satisfied, and at least I won't be objectified. I may not be just my body, but this eating pattern was as toxic as the others in the past.

VII Last year, my dad had an accident, that almost put everyone's lives to a halt. This year, someone I know died an early death. In another post, a paraplegic person tries on a new lease on life. The goal is to be happy, healthy alive. Every day is a gift, you know, and to age is to be alive.


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