My Body Isn’t 17 Anymore

Woman.

A simple word with such a complex meaning. There is a plain structure to a females life; infant – toddler – girl – teenager – woman.

But how does one define what a woman is, or the journey that it takes to get there?

Suddenly my thighs are replicating a tigers stripes, my hips are widening, my once petite frame is filling out against my will, below my eyes are luggage that display the pressures of early twenties life. A gradual change that once noticed hits like a tonne of bricks, it’s difficult not to fall victim to pining after what once was. My youthful self prodded and picked at her body, but we do not criticise a flower that has not yet bloomed. Therefore why do young women do it to themselves?

Each stage results in dissatisfaction. The media offers a half hearted comfort in how to tackle these hurdles; for example, the application of bio oil to tackle those stretch marks, to hide the journey that you and your body are currently on. It’s taboo. We must not discuss the changes our bodies go through; from mother nature’s first cry to the budding busts blooming on our chest.

Then comes the post pubescent stage where we are somewhat settling into what is, essentially, our home for life – our bones belong to us, so we may as well get comfortable while we’re here, surely. But how can one be at comfort in a place with so much scrutiny? A political playground beaten black and blue to the extent it pains us to look in the mirror, our harsh and somewhat unwanted progress staring back at us.

But why isn’t progress a positive concept, usually? Why does weight change and gain have to be a negative ideology – from an underweight teen to a healthy 23 year old – shouldn’t I be celebrating that my body is functioning the way it should be, looking the way it should be. Yet, we cringe. We cringe at change, at the sight of love handles. But why don’t we do just that – love the body that we have been given?

I am of high privilege when it comes to my body. I hold no disability, I have all four limbs, my skin, what once was a blotched canvas of acne is now a clear array of freckles. My bones may crack and my shoulders may tense, but my soul rests in a habitat of comfort and life. My heart pumps blood around my body, my moles a constellation on my arms. When did we stop appreciating the basic functionality of where we live for life?

My body isn’t 17 years old anymore. And that’s fine.

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