Something interesting happened to me recently… I fell in love with my body.
When I was growing up I was an awkward, lanky preteen with bony knees. I felt like my long limbs were out of place, constantly getting in the way, bones sticking out in all kinds of random places. For the most part I had a decent diet and played sports fairly actively, so I blame my DNA. I remember looking in the mirror and thinking I had no unique features, that my face could belong to a person of any gender. I was rather disassociated, absentmindedly, and thought that me - my consciousness, my soul - was completely separate from my human form. I had no feelings of love or hate or anything else towards my body.
Then boobs started to erupt from my bony chest. My relationship with my body started to change and not in a positive way. It was a painful experience both physically and emotionally. I hated this in-between stage of not quite being a woman yet, but no longer being a child. I wasn’t sure who I was exactly, I looked sad and confused in most pictures from that time of my life. I remember feeling that the whole world was against me and didn’t understand me, just like I didn’t understand myself.
My relationship with my body started to change again when I discovered masturbation. Quite a discovery, I have to tell you! For a while, running home from school and getting my hands in my pants was all I could concentrate on. I was one horny teenager! My body now had this whole new function — pleasure. I still wasn’t too fond of my long limbs that I would trip over from time to time, or the bony shoulder blades sticking out of my back, but I was definitely getting more and more excited about finding new ways to touch myself to intensify the pleasure.
Eventually I decided it was time to have sex with someone other than myself. There was a boy in my class that I liked. It turned out he liked me too. We lost our virginities to each other on a squeaky dorm bed with his roommates sleeping in the beds next to us. That experience contributed to one of my arousal triggers — the risk of being caught. Neither of us paid much attention to my body then, we were mainly interested in the pleasure aspect of sex. I was shy too, so we mainly did it in the dark.
The next major milestone in my relationship with my body was giving birth to my first child. That was such a powerful experience that helped me respect my body in ways I’d never felt before. I produced another human being! Not without my husband’s help of course… but still, I incubated and birthed a human! Not everyone has the privilege to put that on their resume…
After discovering sex and having kids I didn’t think anything else could significantly change how I felt about my body. Yet something else did just that…
A few years ago I realized I was polyamorous. I felt the need for freedom to explore any relationship to the depth it could go to without applying social norms or feeling like I was betraying someone. My husband and I decided to open up our marriage. This change allowed me to get to know my body through experiencing it with others. I started to gain more appreciation of what my body was capable of and found it to be an amazing vessel for connecting with others on a very deep, vulnerable, and personal level. I found that at times my body expressed my emotions better than my brain could.
With the help of the loving energy around me, my emotional and spiritual journey, and by opening myself more and more to reality I started to really appreciate my fleshy, bony human home. Over time I came to terms with my long limbs, that don’t feel as awkward anymore, with the shoulder blades, that aren’t sticking that far out of my back, with the breasts that were the primary source of nutrition for a couple of humans for a significant period of time, and with the rest of it that can give me so much pleasure, joy, and happiness.
Not too long ago something interesting happened. I was standing in front of the mirror after taking a long hot bath. My skin was warm and glowing. My eyes were sparkly and full of excitement. My hair was finally getting long. And for the first time in my life I thought to myself: “Damn! I’m HOT! What an awesome body I have!”
I finally feel at home in my own skin. I love all of my birthmarks, nooks, and wrinkles. I love the soreness in the muscles after a good workout. I love letting my body move freely and following its direction when I hear music. I love the look in my eyes when I see myself in the mirror. I finally love my body.
This article is originally published on Medium.com