Imagine…You wake up one morning and stretch, bemoaning the little aches that seem to have taken up residence overnight.
As you brush your teeth and frown into the mirror, you think, “I’m sick of this body. I’ll stop by the store today and get a new one.”
You drive up to the Body Store, and look in the front windows. Oooh. That one’s nice. And that one might be fun. You hurry through the doors.
Once inside you think, “Well, I definitely want thinner. And maybe stronger, too.” So you go to the size zero aisle and start to peruse the bodies there. “Maybe it is possible to be too thin,” you wonder to yourself. You’re not sure some of those bodies could support your busy life. You go up a few sizes, and take a couple of bodies into the dressing room to try on. They’re okay, but not quite what you were thinking.
You look through the store, trying on some bodies you never imagined possible. You like the arms on this one, and the thighs on this other one. This one has a nice belly, but you’re not so crazy about its proportions. This other one is hot, but it says right on the label that to maintain it you have to give up your job, renounce every type of food you like, and, weirdly, sacrifice the entirety of your self-esteem. Plus it says in big black letters, “Not guaranteed beyond warranty date.” You check the warranty date. Your eyes widen. It’s today. You put it back on the rack.
By the end, you’ve got two bodies that you kind of like, that you’re thinking about taking home with you. But you can only choose one. And you realize that if you take home one of these new bodies, you’ll have to leave yours there, at the store, for someone else to take home if they want. You’ll give up the little scar on your arm from the time you and your brother tried to invent a recipe for balloon cookies. And never again will you appreciate the hands that remind you of your mom.
You’ll give up your dad’s eyes, your grandma’s feet, and the strong shoulders that Uncle Tim says were inherited from the guys who painted the roof of the Sistine Chapel.
While you’re trying to decide which body to choose, there’s a knock at the dressing room door. “Hey, are you done in there?” you hear a woman’s voice through the door.
“Yeah, just a couple more minutes.”
“’Cause if you’re going to take one of those other bodies, can you hand me yours? I’d be happy to take it if you don’t want it.”
What?! As you wandered around the store, someone who came in looking for a body was eyeing yours the whole time? She was stalking you, waiting for you to leave your body unattended. Suddenly you’re feeling very proprietary.
The disembodied voice of your admirer floats over the divider.
“I’ll be here, just let me know.”
Her voice sounds nice, you think. Maybe she’d take good care of your body. Does she know that your body cramps up in cold water, but loves warm water like a tropical fish? What about your right knee that gets achy if you miss your weekly yoga class? Does she know that it’s allergic to penicillin, but loves echinacea? What about that cool hula-hooping trick you learned last summer? She couldn’t possibly treat this body the way it deserves. She couldn’t appreciate it the way you do, love it the way….
You place the other bodies back on their hangers, and open the door. You look at the woman standing there. Her body is fine, a great body, and you wonder for a moment why she would dream of trading it in for yours.
“I’ve made my decision. I choose this body. My body. The one I was born with.”
She looks a little disappointed, and then shrugs and wanders away into the aisles. You silently wish her good luck, that she finds the body of her dreams.
You wander back out into the sunlight, happy to have chosen this body above all other bodies as your own. You’re pretty attached to it, after all.
Choose your body. So many of us live our lives as if our body is an unfair burden that’s been foisted on us by a god with a demented sense of humor.
What if instead, you said yes to your body? Yes, Body, I choose you! Choose this body with all its beauty, all its flaws, all its memories, and all its wisdom. Choose to live your life in this body. As if you’d been to the body store and walked out without buying a thing, tell yourself:
I could have chosen any body to live in, but I choose this one, this amazing, glorious body that is mine.