Living in an Enemy

Soccer playing me. 

Soccer playing me. 

When did my body become the enemy? I remember it was my best friend as a kid. Scraped knees from running, climbing, playing tag. The wind in my hair as I rode my bike as fast as I could. Swimming in my grandparents pool, for hours. The taste of fresh berries from my grandparents garden. The smell of tomatoes growing on the vine. Sometimes when I am shopping, I will pick up a bunch of the Vine Grown Hothouse Tomatoes and deeply breathe in the scent of my childhood, while standing in King Soopers.

Crawling, climbing, playing hide-and-seek and dodgeball and foursquare and tag. There was the day I realized that being a girl meant my favorite activities weren't technically supposed to be my favorites. Or the day the boys I played pirates with talked about boobs (of which I had none) and looked at me in a way that told me I didn't belong or I wouldn't belong. I definitely didn't understand what was going on for them. And it felt dangerous, like the future.

Delight in ice cream sundaes and the richly bitter taste of chocolate has become calories and cholestoral and diabetes. The images of women who are 'hot'- fair skinned, brunette or blonde, tall, thin- they are definitely not me. The women who seem to care - about make-up and matching and seem to be able to wear things like high heels without feeling like they are going to die from pain or twist something if they move too quickly. 

I tried at different times. But even when I was wearing a skirt, I couldn't resist the call to join a game of soccer. So I wore long flowy skirts that I could easily tie up like shorts and played all the games, whenever I could.  

My body gave me my children, and the chance to be a mother to them. Which continues to be one of the most joyful, exciting, difficult jobs I have ever done. I have hands that can cook or play guitar or make fun costumes. I have ears to listen to music and silence and the laughter of my family and friends. Eyes that can see, with some help from modern medicine, sunsets and sunrises and silly cat pictures and the faces of the people I love.

My body became the enemy when how it looked seemed important, instead of what it does. What people see when they see me, how they perceive my size, style, gender, race, ability, clothing choices -- somehow it has come to matter in a way that feels like shame and fear.