“I Wish I Had Your Body”

If you are easily upset by body descriptions, however generalized, you may want to continue at your own discretion!

“I wish I had your body,” one of the girls from the cardio class with a ponytail as enthusiastic as her comment said to me one evening

I smiled at her with my unusually bare face and slung my drawstring bag over my shoulder

And told her, “Thank you; but you have a wonderful body already.”

Then I jogged down two flights of stairs to dart into the bathroom I so preferred because it was more dimly lit, and better yet, was for one person only

Dried what little sweat clung to my skin and then hastily applied a layer of foundation and then concealer

Spent an agonizing few minutes examining my body from all angles, noting the toned arms and faint beginnings of visible abdominals with mild pleasure

Before I departed the gym for the fifth time that week

It was Friday, and I didn’t have my scars yet.

“I wish I had your body,” one of the daughters from the family that was also in the dressing room told me as I gently pirouetted in front of the giant mirror in the hall

To watch as the fabric of the dress clung to my upper half and then spun out around me

I grinned, somewhat abashedly, and responded, “Thank you so much, but you look great in that skirt.”

Later that day I went home and marveled at how a couple weeks of barely being able to eat from wisdom teeth surgery

Managed to make my appearance so infinitely more desirable 

And then I had a slice of leftover pizza, because I hadn’t yet been beguiled by the certainty that food was bad

It’s been over three years since then, and I can seldom stand putting on that dress.

“I wish I had your body,” the young woman who graciously took my stereotypical picture at the beach commented

As the ocean lapped against my ankles, far below where my jean shorts hugged the very tops of my thighs

My reply was, “Thank you! You look amazing in that bikini.”

While I walked away, I continued to breathe shallowly so that my stomach appeared flatter than it really was

Made sure that the sting of the salt water hadn’t caused my mascara to run

And blithely ignored the snacks in the cooler next to me on the towel

It was summer, and there was no time to be grazing.

“I wish I had your body,” a random drunken junior shouted at me from where we stood outside a frat house

Gesturing to me with arms flung wide open as if she were showing me off to the audience of my group of friends

Some what flustered but also flattered, I answered with far greater articulation, “Thank you, but that dress looks incredible on you.”

She didn’t see the tall guy who grabbed my ass while walking past me, and neither did I

I yelled a somewhat defeated fuck you at his retreating back

Then dragged down the hem of my dress a bit as if I had somehow invited his disgusting act

It was my freshman year, and the confidence of wearing something form-fitting ebbed away.

“I wish I had your body,” yet another cardio junkie like myself told me as we spritzed the mats with cleaning fluid

And as I straightened up, the clothes that had used to fit me sagged baggily where there was no longer the same shape

So I put on a rehearsed look of happiness that hung just as defeated off my frame and murmured, “Thank you. You look fantastic though.”

I pulled on my sweatpants, sweatshirt, and then tugged a jacket over it 

Yes, it was cold, but I shivered even in heated buildings and could no longer sleep at night

My bones ached as I ascended the four flights of stairs up to my room, but I still ran up them

It was the day before I called home in hysterics, and my back was bleeding through my shirt.

“I wish I had your body,” the saleswoman at the first clothing store I’d braved in months complimented me

I glanced up from the rack of clothes with tags I had been scrutinizing for the digit denoting their sizes

As I let a top fall from my grasp because the number hurt to look at, I said, “Thanks! I could never rock that shirt like you, though.”

Moments later I left the store with no bags in my hand, not because I was feeling frugal

But because I was positive everything would be absolutely hideous on this figure which was now supposedly back to a healthy weight

It was summer again, but I hid under clothes far too warm.

“I wish I had your body,” a girl a bit younger than me typed in a direct message to me on social media, followed by a conglomeration of exclamation points and smileys

After I had summoned the unusual bravery to post a picture of more than just my face

I stared at the screen for a moment, and then sent, “Thank you! But I’m sure you’re absolutely beautiful.”

I knew I had spent at least an hour scouring that photo for imperfections I could use to tear myself to shreds

Yet there was a small, quiet piece of me, that was learning how to be okay with myself

Overshadowed by an overwhelming desire to tell her that no, no, no, you do not wish you had this body

It’s still a time in my life where I am picking up the pieces and gluing them back together.

You do not wish you had my body.

It has been the recipient of scorching hatred and the victim of years of abuse

It has been the lithe, straight shape of a girl who hasn’t yet hit her teens, and then the subject of many tears as it began to change

It has been worn with pride far fewer times than it has shame and disgust

You do not wish you had my body.

It has been nourished less and less until it became nothing

It has spent nights shivering under layers and layers of blankets because I was unable to keep warm or comfortable with my jutting bones

It has been through wars it did not ask nor know how to fight.

You do not wish you had my body.

You should not wish you had any body other than the miracle that is the one you possess

No matter its size, shape, scars, blemishes, curves, edges, wobbles, definition, strength, age, expression, or story

I am learning how to love my body despite its story

And I hope and pray that you love yours with the knowledge that it is wonderful because the person wearing it has a beautiful heart and soul.

(photo is my own)

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