It’s Celebrate The Body You’re In Day!
let’s consider the body, yours and mine, the same way we once considered food.
Before there was inorganic food everything grown was organic.
Similarly, before we started “working” on our bodies, there was a natural body that we simply lived in.
Just as it occurred to someone to infuse crops with chemicals to make them bigger and pest resistant, it occurred to someone to alter their natural body in order to make some parts of it bigger and other parts smaller.
These “bigger” and “smaller” parts were then infused with meaning to create value.
You may have to go pretty far back in your memory to remember the natural body you inhabited before you started believing in having a “good” or a “bad” body, but that inner knowing remains, buried under an avalanche of habits, beliefs and repetitive affirmations, some positive, most negative.
There exists a body that’s always just being itself, okay with reality.
It was there during your first diet.
It was there when you felt a flush of pride in it being noticed, or shame when other bodies were noticed instead of yours.
It was there when you took measures to stay being noticed, or chose to hide out of self-loathing.
Though the natural body is there every time we look in the mirror what we usually see is a body of ideas and values, none of which have ever been true.
The true body is always there, just like fruits growing naturally off of trees have always been there. It’s the body that’s unlabeled and unfettered and unadorned. It’s priceless because it exists beyond artificial value.
It’s the body that’s free and independent. A body in which the thought of its improvement or belief in its lack never arises.
Today, by coincidence, is Celebrate the Body You’re In Day!
In fact, every day is Celebrate the Body You’re In Day.
Those other bodies the mind creates — lets call them anti-bodies — are the imaginary bodies overlaid on top of the one true body that has no shape yet contains all shapes.
In the back of the comic books I devoured as a kid there was always an ad for the Charles Atlas body-building system.
It showed a skinny young man being mocked by a “he-man” who punches him and takes away his girl.
The skinny man slinks away, discovers the Charles Atlas man & muscle-building system, works at it, then returns triumphantly to avenge his humiliation and win back the female prize that historically goes to the strongest male beast in the jungle.
I’m very young. I don’t know I have a body. I don’t know I’m skinny. I don’t know I have curly hair. While I see differences among bodies, I don’t know what they mean.
I save my newspaper route money and order an isometric contraption called a bullworker. I put the chart of exercises on my wall and do them every day.
When I look in the mirror I see, or believe I see, incremental changes to my physique. I believe these changes create a better version of me.
I begin not to feel “right” when I”m not adding to my body. Also, though some days the changes make me feel good, the feeling is short-lived because invariably I meet other people who inhabit bodies far “better” then my own.
I spend the first 30 years of my precious human life constructing a body I hope others find attractive while at the same time, unbeknownst to me, protects me against a world I believe is out to hurt and ridicule me.
I spend the next 30 years deconstructing the body I spent the first 30 constructing.
The $2.75 question: how do I want to spend the next 30 years?