On I Love My Body

Yesterday in the slipstream of what runs down my Twitter stream like so much I have idea what, so many words and thoughts and witticisms, was this: yesterday NOW was calling a day in the blogosphere to love our bodies. I think I’m a day late, possibly a dollar short.

I thought: But I don’t exactly love my body.

Then I thought: I love my body for going to yoga now.

And then I stopped thinking about the whole I love my body thing and went on with my day.

Late at night, lying in bed, I thought: I love my body for carrying three babies into the world and holding another through all those endless nights of infancy (and last night was one of those parenting-teen-endurance-sport ones, so I guess I loved our overtired bodies for that, too).

I mean I love my body. I so, so do.

I’m conflicted about it all the time. That it’s “imperfect.” That it isn’t faster or stronger or more flexible or less tired or ageless forever or set on larger feet with larger toenails I would want to paint (not black and not pink and not red; I’m not sure actually what color I’d paint ‘em, but the little ones are so silly I just can’t see the worth of painting them).

I’m grateful for my body every single day. I walk. I make a lap. I touch the floor with my hands. I whirl around the elliptical. I smile. I hug. I sneak time with my dear hubby (no mean feat with so many other humans in the house awake at so many hours). I think. I help other people. I write. I love my body for the gazillion things it does and feels.


Bodies, in my family of origin, are complicated and not always such happy entities. I love my body for enduring all that and continuing onward, like emerging from river that rushes so fast it could take you where you did not want to go.

Bodies, in our society, female bodies, are under siege, and I think even more so than ever. Our ideals have gotten impossible for how females should look. A slew—and I mean like a whole arena in pop culture—of narratives exist that pretty much tell you how you look is achievement enough in itself. I read yesterday a story in People Magazine about how Kirstie Alley again lost 100 pounds. She brings a professional dancer on holiday with her to keep in shape. That’s her indulgence. No, her indulgence and her work are one: that keeping her 60 year-old-body a certain size and shape is her main focus. Without that she could not consider pilots or Broadway or book deals or romance. Really? And more importantly, not only is abortion’s legality and access eroding faster than the ice floes, we are really frighteningly close to seeing access—even to real information about—to birth control do that same melt. As my three year-old would say I’m just joking. Except, I am not joking.

I want a world for my daughter and sons that encourages us to love and to live in our bodies so much more healthfully and happily than all that.

For that reason, we talk a lot about pretty much everything and we try to live healthfully and happily and I will keep at my imperfect love for my body. I get that as parents we have to love ourselves in order to model this for our kids. It’s so simple an equation.

I love my body. Period.

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Author: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser's work has appeared on the New York Times, Salon, and the Manifest Station amongst other places. Find her on Twitter @standshadows

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