I have a perfect body.
My two legs are long, with knees in the middle that bend when I tell them to (albeit a little creaky sometimes thanks to an ill-fated moving incident my freshman year of college). My arms are freckled, with elbows that are a little knobby and shoulders that sometimes feel like they are being over-stretched like in high school Physics class, right before the rubber band in those pulleys broke. My face has tiny spots all over it, from summers spent at the Jersey shore and sitting shotgun in my friend Theresa’s new convertible on her 18th birthday.
I’ve struggled my entire life with how I look. I was a little pudgy as a child (as most of us are at one point). I had braces for 6 years. I’ve been 5’6” since I was 16 and have weighed everywhere from 123 lbs to 165 lbs. At all points on my sliding scale of… battling with a scale. I’ve always found something to dislike about myself. At my thinnest, it was how I had a bump on the bridge of my nose. At my heaviest, I hated that my butt was so much flatter than my best friends is (she is beautiful in every sense of the word, and is Puerto Rican and Black so naturally has the greatest butt ever). I’ve never been any larger than a B cup and I’m fairly positive I never will be.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to be more positive about my physical appearance. Learn to appreciate what I’ve got. Today, I hit a turning point. I tell my best friend how stunning she is all the time. I tell my grandmother that she looks just as beautiful as she did in high school. My mom is a yoga teacher and amazes me every day with her dedication to being fit and gorgeous inside and out.
Why do I tell all of these women in my life that I think they are perfect, but I can’t seem to tell myself the same thing? Amy Poehler said that when we talk to ourselves or about ourselves, we need to imagine talking to our daughter or little sister. When we tell them that they’re beautiful, we’re not lying, because they are beautiful. But so are we.
While I will never be a size 2, or a C cup, or a model, I have a body that gets me out of bed every morning, allows me to bend and stretch it in any and all ways that I ask it to. It has been with me through every moment of my life and it is the only one I will ever have. The bump in my nose? It comes from my grandmother. My small chest? From my gorgeous, loving mother. That coffee-with-cream skin tone that my best friend has? I have it too, just in smaller spots that dot my body.
I got out of the shower this evening and stared at myself in the mirror and realized that I have so much to love about myself, like my bright green eyes that change with the weather. My curvy hips and waist that make me look like a woman, especially when I strut around in nothing but my underwear. My red hair and pale skin because it is who I am and where I come from.
My body is perfect because it is mine.