I love my body. Since I live in a world that polices women’s bodies, one that tells us we are disgusting or imperfect no matter what we do, I make that statement with full feminist and political intent as well with all the passion that the word “love” implies.
I love my hips and my butt, both their shape and their power. I love being tall and large, a physical presence. I love my muscled legs and my perfect-sized (to me) breasts and my nose that juts out a little bit. And I really love my hair in all its abundance and chaos.
I’m comfortable in this body. I’m glad I learned how to be physical in it, glad I know how it moves and what it does.
It’s the perfect body for me, but it’s not a perfect body by cultural definitions. I’m happier about that as I get older, because I don’t find myself mourning the loss of the prettiness that substitutes for real beauty in my culture. I never figured out how to look that kind of pretty and now I don’t care about it. My face remains my face just as my self remains myself.
I was born biologically female. My body reflects that and I’m fine with it. I may be about the height of the average U.S. man and I have a deep voice, but no one assumes I am male. I cannot wear men’s clothes — they fit wrong around my hips and breasts. Even if I shaved my head, I doubt anyone would assume I was not a woman.
(I have been tempted to try my hand at male drag to gain an understanding of the experiences of men in this society, but I think the physical effort to do so would be highly uncomfortable. Flattening my chest enough wouldn’t be too difficult, but I don’t know how to bind in my hips and butt.)
I claim this womaness, but it’s a political claim. In truth, I don’t have a strong sense of gender, in part because what I know of gender is a cultural construct and, as I’ve written before, I sucked at being a girl. But also, I never wanted to be a boy.
I have always wanted to be who I am, in this body — this definitely female biological body — and to live as I want to and do what I want regardless of what the gender coding dictates. And that, too, is a political statement in a world that says girls can’t do this and boys must act like that, not to mention one that still pushes back against trans and nonbinary people.
Would I change things about my body? Yes, but only if I got them in addition to the things I already have, not at the expense of giving up other things. It would be nice to be more flexible — I couldn’t do the splits or backbends when I was five, much less now. It would be nice if my joints didn’t ache, if my knees could still bend all the way, if my stomach didn’t occasionally rebel at the spicy food I’ve always loved.
And I’d like to be taller. I always wanted to be six feet tall.
But those things aren’t dealbreakers. I’m content to love my body as it is.
I look in the mirror these days and often see my grandmother. That’s not bad, either. If I can’t have her around anymore, I can at least see where I came from. I appreciate the genes that came from my ancestors.
And I appreciate the time I’ve spent learning how to be at home in my body. As with most things in life, my body is a combination of my family heritage and what I’ve done with it.
I love how that all worked out.