We act like we have a couple different bodies. There’s the one you’re in now, and then there’s the one that’s your real body.
It might be from the past or the future. It’s mysterious, but thoroughly detailed. The real body gets obscured by the obnoxious, floppy, hungry, unflattering current one. The real body is like a place you really, really want to go. Where life makes more sense. Where it’s sunnier and you can wear a bathing suit without even thinking about it.
I caught myself thinking like that when I gained 20 pounds in college. My new body wasn’t really me. It was a costume I was trying on for a while. A slightly scary costume. A slightly daring costume. With an unfamiliar soft little belly and squishy thighs. Sometimes I caught myself staring at my new thighs. They took up so much space! They felt nice. They weren’t my real thighs. But they were OK.
My body never regressed gracefully into its precollege state. My weight went up and down, and my shape shifted, so that I tucked fat into new, creative spots. My face changed. My hair changed. And eventually I cut my hair off completely.
But sometimes I feel like I am looking through someone else’s eyes at myself. This isn’t me. There is a different, better, streamlined me in there, somewhere, but I can’t quite get to her.
And when I decided to get a nose job, it was the same. My nose wasn’t right. Even though it had always been on my face, it wasn’t supposed to be. There was a better nose under it. The right nose. The nose my face deserved. The real me had a slender, sculpted nose. Not this gawky, arrogant thing.
It’s easy sometimes to imagine flicking the imperfections off, like flies, like splotches of dried mud. That’s not supposed to be there! Get rid of it! I can recite a list of my body’s mistakes as long as my unfortunate body itself. I think I think that if I could just correct them, then I would be exactly right. Then I would be better and more like the real me.
But let’s get real. This is the real me. It’s all real. This body I have right now, it’s my body. It’s not just a temp, keeping things going until my better body gets back from that vacation in the Bahamas (she’s always wearing this ridiculous little white bikini…).
Enough apologizing. All of us. Enough of that.
Enough waiting. For thinspiration to strike or the weight to go to the boobs or the surgery to correct the nose or the desire for dessert to flake away and vanish. So that you can finally wear those jeans you’re meant to wear or that low cut dress you’ve been saving or that shirt or those sunglasses that only look good on a thinner bridge. Enough looking in the mirror and seeing the ghost of that other, more perfect body, taunting you. Enough ascribing success and happiness and good taste in wall art and the ability to make hilarious jokes to the type of look you think you should but don’t have.
There is only one real body. It’s this one. With the fuzzy eyebrows and splotchy skin. With the still-arrogant nose and the adorable lips. With whatever it is that makes your body itself.
Screw waiting. I’m gonna run around all over the place, wearing whatever I want, being the real me.
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Do you ever feel like you’re waiting for a better body?
Unroast: Today I love the way I look in a long necklace. I just broke one, and it was really, really sad. I tried to fix it for like forty minutes and then decided it was a metaphor for all of my struggles and gave up. And then decided that giving up was a bad metaphor, and tried again. And then gave up. Not sure what that says about me. Can’t be good. But maybe I just have the wrong pliers?