Lately, when I look at my body, I notice it’s the road map of my life. I see the scar on my right arm from when a swing collapsed with me on it. I notice the poison oak scars on my left forearm and the discoloration under my chin from car accident number one.
Normally I’d recoil from these marks, do my best to diminish them, cover them up, but at the moment, I’m looking at my body with fondness. It shows the story of my life, literally. My body demonstrates events that happened to me, memories I will always keep.
In our youth-obsessed culture, we strive to be unblemished and wrinkle-free. We see that as a sign of beauty, something to aspire to. But right now, I’m appreciating the evidence I’ve lived. Tomorrow I may wake up and scrunch my nose in protest of my scars. I might smear on creams and lotions to give myself a more youthful appearance, but today, I’m marveling at how I wear the story of my life. And if you’ve lived long enough, you are wearing yours too.
Your body is a vessel not to be controlled but cherished. I know, for some that’s easier said than done. I get it – I’m subjected to the same messaging as anyone else, but for today, there’s something sweet about tracing the lines of my body and recalling this experience and that. In some ways I feel like a soldier recently returned from war, recounting what happened. You can do that with scars. There is often a story to tell.
There’s an honor to be in this body, to show the evidence of a life with trials and tribulations. There’s physical evidence that I’ve been through things and I’m still here. I’m proud of that.
At 37, I’m still young, but I’m not that young. No one would mistake me for a metaphorical spring chicken. And yet, instead of hiding my age, I’d like to approach each passing year not chasing my youth or lying about how old I am. I’d rather appreciate my age for the unique beauty it gives me. I didn’t think I would ever say that but here I am. Instead of fighting my body, I’m appreciating it for every scar, wrinkle, and fold. This body has been through so much and I don’t want to keep pretending otherwise.
Today anyway, I’m valuing this physical form for the way it currently looks and that to me is a miracle, one that I want for you too.
I dream of a world where we appreciate our bodies as they are. A world where we find our various scars exotic and beautiful because they reveal the road map of our lives. A world where instead of trying to reclaim our youth, we embrace the bodies we currently have with pride.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.