Increasingly, I'm reaching the "I used to" phase of life as it relates to my body: "I used to have softer hair," "I used to have whiter teeth," "I used to have fuller eyebrows," "I used to be able to lose weight more easily." I'll be 32 in a few months, which only feels old when I think about it. For the most part I still feel pretty young - & I mostly look it, too, or at least I don't look any older than I am.
Still, the older I get, the more my body changes, & it's dawning on me that I'm never going back to the way I used to be. My hair has grown coarse from years of dyeing & from a substantial amount of greys. My teeth are yellowed from the coffee addiction I picked up when I began working from home half a decade ago. My eyebrows are thin now, one of them sliced in half by a scar, & I haven't received a compliment on their shape in years. And whether I ever lost weight easily is up for serious debate, but it seems even more difficult these days - & it's probably only going to get worse.
There's other stuff, too, like, where'd my lipline go? And is my nose getting bigger? And since when are my feet so creepily veiny, my butt so dimpled? I never used to have cellulite, even at my heaviest!
But I want to be at peace with my body.
In some ways, I feel better now than I ever have before, even with this straw-like hair & these not-sparkly-white teeth & these penciled-in eyebrows & this probably-always-gonna-have-a-few-extra-pounds figure & all the rest of it. But I still get stuck, sometimes, thinking of what used to be, what will never be again, & what else I'll lose with time. It's scary, really, a punch in the face to a woman's vanity, to realize that, yes, you, too, will grow old, & it will indeed affect your youthful good looks.
So today, I'm focusing on a few things I like about my body. Let me admit that it was damn hard to make this list without caveats, I realized, because in almost every case, I wanted to say, "Except when..." or "But..." For the most part, though, I tried to cut out those caveats & am presenting this list in the spirit of full body positivity.
- When its at its maximum waviness, I have mermaid hair.
- I really like my dark brown eyes (& weirdly, I'm the only one in my family who has them).
- In fact, I actually like the scar that slices through my left eyebrow. It gives my face a little bit of extra character, like I'm a cartoon villain!
- I'm surprisingly strong, especially for someone whose muscles have all but atrophied. Need me to lift something heavy? I can probably do that. I've got good hard-labor hustle, when needed.
- At 5'4", I'm a pretty good height. When I was young I dreamed of being taller, & when I got older, I wanted to be more petite. These days, though, I think 5'4" is ideal - still "tall" in flats, & not too tall in heels (as though I wear heels!).
- My teeth are very straight despite the fact that I never had braces.
- I have an elegant neck & collarbone. My mom always told me this when I was younger, & I thought it was such a weird compliment, but the older I get, the more I appreciate the truth in it. They're just nice.
- I'm built proportionally. Even when I'm not happy with my weight, I'm appreciative of my curves & the proportionality that allows me to carry extra weight without necessarily looking like I am.
- I have pretty good skin these days - even tone & rare breakouts, & it's super pale but healthy & unwrinkly because I prioritize wearing SPF & also basically never go outside.
- I'm not particularly hairy. I don't have to wax a mustache or tweeze my eyebrows much, & my leg hair grows in lightly. All of this is a time-saver, a money-saver, & an embarrassment-saver.
- I've got a quirky, crooked mouth & sort-of-cartoony (in a good way) apple cheeks, which I think makes for a nice, friendly smile.
- I have a really expressive face. Though this sometimes makes for terrible candid photos, I like that I wear my feelings openly & obviously, & my rubber features make for funny storytelling.
- I have very thin wrists & not-chubby fingers. My fingers are thick, for sure, from years of cracking my knuckles, but overall, I think my hands are nice.
- I have really good posture. And sure, that's from having back surgery, but it doesn't make it any less true, right?
*Please tell me you guys get the title reference...?