‘Okay, I just need to weigh you and take your blood pressure, would that be okay?’
‘Sure, no problem…’ I replied. I know the drill- quick, quick…do all the normal checks, get handed a prescription and I’ll be back again in three months time to see how it’s going.
‘Did you know Mrs Langner, we have the same weight for you since you were seventeen years old?’
I knew, it’s not the first time that they have mentioned it. Surely the fact that I am at my natural weight can’t be that baffling to science really, can it? Plus, I’m not that sure how I’m supposed to answer that question, I’m not sure if I’m being scolded, congratulated, questioned… If i’m honest, I don’t know why they bring it up every time. I know for my height I’m classed as ‘under weight’ but I know as well as they do that I am healthy. I would rather we didn’t talk about it. It’s not the reason that I came.
I kind of grunted and said a meek ‘oh!’, I grabbed my prescription and left.
It got me thinking about my body and what I think of it.
I grew up hating it in some ways and loving it in others.
I always hated being tall, I was bullied for being lanky, I never felt in proportion…especially not to how invisible I wished I was in secondary school anyway. My limbs were long and skinny… You couldn’t miss me and I was an easy target. In secondary school I hated being me.
I walked a little crooked just trying to be shorter, I never looked up incase people were staring. I had an unhealthy obsession with food… I just wanted to ‘fit’ somewhere, be like the other girls…. be and look like someone else that wasn’t me, even for a little while.
People were mean to me. People were mean about my body. Being a teenager was hard for me, it’s hard to think about.
Of course, it wasn’t all bad.
I could dance. And those limbs that I had grown to despise helped me to fly. I felt like I had wings as I leapt through the air and moved so gracefully. The neck that I would crane over so that nobody would see my eyes would elongate and I felt so high up, like I could really breathe from up there…like I could love my body forever because it allowed me to fly, to breathe, to see and to be me… away from the opinions and horrible things that people said.
I could run too, really far and really fast. My body let me push it, further and further and I got better and better. I got stronger and stronger and as I held the medals in my hand that basically told me to love my body, I still couldn’t bring myself to give it much credit. I told myself it was all in the mind.
And in the wake of the school years, away from the toxic people that had broken my confidence, I realised that I was wrong. I started on a journey to truly love my body and be happy in my skin.
Of course, early adulthood wouldn’t be the same without drinking a little too much, partying a little too often and eating the wrong foods with your friends as you talked into the the following day. Early adulthood wouldn’t be the same if you had enough sleep and didn’t abuse your body in some ways. It’s part of growing up and a part of life.
And then I reached the age of twenty two and I learned that I was going to become a mother for the first time. At first it was daunting. I was worried how I would look and feel after having a child, I had come so far in my journey of self-acceptance… I didn’t feel ready to deal with more body issues.
And then I felt that flutter like little butterflies. My son.
From that moment, it wasn’t just my body… it was a home. The first home that I lived in with my little boy. It’s where I grew him, fed and watered him and where I kept him safe… and later on, my beautiful daughter too.
I watched my body change in front of my eyes. I watched it push its limits, further and further, life felt better and better and my body was the reason that my baby grew stronger and stronger. And then, I started to give my body the credit that it deserved all of those years ago and especially in that moment when I was growing a child, the first and second time.
I realised that my body is capable of such incredible things. And I loved it a little more.
Of course, my body changed. Yes, three days after having both children, I was back in my jeans and if you didn’t know me, you wouldn’t ever have guessed that I had just had children.
It was almost like Noah and Ellenah had carved their names into the walls of their first bedroom and in it’s place, left me with a couple of faint stretch marks to mark the occasion. Over time, they have become almost invisible but they will be there forever. And, I will treasure them until my dying day.
I don’t hate them like once upon a time I thought that I would. How could I ever?
And that brings me to now, approaching thirty this year and more in love with my body than I ever have been. It has been a journey, one I won’t ever forget.
My body is more than ‘a weight’.
My body is more than a statistic.
My body is more than a comparison to anyone else.
My body is mine and there isn’t another one out there like it.
And I do, I absolutely love it and everything that comes with the privilege of ageing it.
With Love, Ria x