At War

I am at war with my body. That realization hit me just a few days ago. But it is a different war than the one we have fought for almost 40 years. I remember how our body used to look in the mirror, especially at the height of our decades-long battle. Ribs protruded, easily countable. Our collarbones could have been used as handles, they stuck out so far. Laying in bed our pelvic bones seemed almost to come through our skin, barely a layer of protection between bone and air. I think I could easily feel my ovaries just by laying my fingers in the right spots on my lower abdomen. The gap between our thighs, large enough to see straight through. Our skin slacked loosely where muscles had atrophied, and yet it was never enough. That war, fought as a child, was about disappearing. That war, fought as an adult, was about punishment.

But the war I wage now came clearly through a glance in the mirror. I am not just fighting the weight I’ve gained this year, the padding around the middle or the size of clothing I’m wearing (only ever having been this size postpartum.) I am fighting the fact that as I age, my weight and my body have begun to look like my mother. And she is the last person I want to look like. Not because she was ugly, but because I don’t want to be anything like her. I want to be just the opposite. I don’t want to be at war with my body, but I am because I refuse to look in the mirror and see her staring back at me. 

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