I prooomised myself I wasn’t going to blog today. I have too much stuff to do- homework, packing, cleaning, organizing. Not like those things ever end?? I’m looking at a completely insane two weeks coming up, posting might be down during that time anyways. I can feel stress approaching, even though we can attempt to do everything in our power to prevent it from hitting you like a ton of bricks. Anyways, for another time.
Her Campus published an article the other day titled “9 Reasons to Love Your Body.” Articles like this are coming at the perfect time, as hopefully many are aware it’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDA). Her Campus has even started a #LovingMe project, which involves sharing something you love about yourself and posting it on social media. After this Her Campus is going to create a #LovingMe college using our photos! So I clicked on the “9 Reasons” link, hoping to find some glorious insight into letting go of my insecurities and relating to what I love about myself. And what did I find? I found body parts. I found a list of nine body parts- your eyes, nose, arms, chest, stomach, hips, butt, legs, skin. I get what the article was trying to say, when in each paragraph it details the muscles and the nerves and how these parts of body work and our beneficial to us. “Show yourself some love by appreciating your body’s strength, beauty, and functionality!” Uh, okay. I can love my body because it’s functional, and healthy, and protects me from harm, but I can hardly justify naming various parts of my body and explaining how they work as reasons to love my body. I love my body for so many other reasons than understanding how it functions. My life goes beyond just being able to function- I want to thrive, grow, change, and love the process.
So why do I love my body? Outside of the fact that, you know, it has parts.
- Like mentioned- It functions. My body is healthy, has never tried to hurt itself, or fallen victim to serious disease. And I completely understand how serious of a love this is- I am so thankful for my health and am not in the slightest trying to take it for granted.
- It tells me when to slow down. Thanks to coffee, carbs, and power naps, college students have the ability to function on minimal rest. Is that good my body? No. It’s systems slow down and all of that functionality loses power. I love my body because it can tell me when enough is enough- I’ll get a lump in my throat, my eye lids drooping at the computer screen, an ache in my lower back. It has it’s ways to encourage me to take breath, and get some rest.
- It allows me to set goals. Who hasn’t set a goal related to their body? Run a 5km, run a marathon. Learn to ride a bike, reach the top of the rock wall. Learn to walk again. Learn to swim, or swim competitively. Your body allows you to want to achieve something, and will work with you in order to achieve that! Your body can be a vessel for goals and hopes and dreams, and I love my body for everything it did today that it couldn’t do a year ago.
- It lets me be expressive. My body is an art form. Someone once described diving as “words written on air,” and sometimes that’s exactly how it feels. I love my body because it lets me perform. Your body can be your dancers body, your canvas for tattoos, your performance in a race. Your facial expressions and body language express more than an written word ever will.
- It can relieve me of my stress. I can go for a three mile run to feel free from the tensions of college life, or I can walk around the block. I love my body because of how it responds to yoga- fulfilled, calm, and satisfied. Even without being active, your body can lift the weight of the world off your shoulders simply from being mindful of your breathing.
- I can reinvent myself. Fact: I do not know what I will be after diving. Maybe I will be a runner, a cyclist, a weight lifter. Maybe I’ll do triathlons or CrossFit. Maybe I’ll be a couch potato. Your guess is as good as mine. My body can help me form my identity during the period of my life after being a college athlete. My body allows for change. My body welcomes change.
- It lets me try again. I love my body because it heals itself, not leaving evidence enough to make me afraid to try again. I have crashed my bike countless times. I have broken my hand, my face, nearly destroyed my back. I’ve gotten shin splints and pulled muscles. And 100% of the time, my body lets me come back. My body lets me try again.
- It lets me explore the world. My body lets me dive, the sole reason I ended up in Iowa. My own two feet have carried through cities all over the world, and side streets of my own hometown. Hiking and backpacking has shown my body that the road may be tough, but maybe the view is worth it. My shoulders have allowed me to paddle canoes down rivers, and hold handstands at countless monuments.
- My body loves me back. I take good care of it. I eat healthy, most of the time. I don’t abuse it with drugs or binge on alcohol. I have never been a smoker, I have never trained on a serious injury. I give it ice baths and hot showers and multivitamins and water. And as it turns out, after giving my body a rest day, my body will wake up ready to tackle six hours of training even my brain is reluctant.