Once upon a time I lived in a body so uncomfortable with maturing that it wore a skin-tight undershirt to bed for more than two years after outgrowing it. It held that body close and together.
Once upon a time I lived in a body so skinny that it could be at the very top of cheerleading mounts and pyramids, the “light” body everyone could lift or hold. Back when cheerleaders were allowed to climb on each other without liability issues or injury worries.
Once upon a time I lived in a body that found out that losing its virginity as a teen would cause passion, possession, and obligation. Like sex always does.
Once upon a time I lived in a body that looked amazing after gaining the “freshman fifteen.” It finally had curves in some really smart places.
Once upon a time I lived in a body that wanted to give birth too early, so doctors intervened. That body let medicine help keep the baby inside another four weeks, thankfully.
Once upon a time I lived in a body delivering a second baby for the second time, when the man doctor told the body it was pushing from the wrong place. “Your body can’t do this, so fuck you,” it wanted to tell him mid-contraction.
Once upon a time I lived in a body that didn’t want to carry another baby. Two was enough. But that no longer mattered, and when the time came, the body pushed twice, and there he was: a beautiful teeny baby boy born an eensy bit early.
Once upon a time I also lived in a body that wanted to try breastfeeding that third time, since it hadn’t for the others. But it wasn’t allowed to, and stupidly, that body complied. Damnit.
Once upon a time I lived in a body that walked and jogged and rode bicycles and rollerbladed to lose the baby weight, and it looked goooooooood. But that body didn’t appreciate it the way that it should have.
Once upon a time I lived in a body that wanted a tattoo. Just one. For fun. A sunflower.
Once upon a time I lived in a body that craved attention. It came to understand that something was missing. Or that it was in mid-life crisis.
Once upon a time I lived in a body that had never broken a bone until it was 40 years old. Then one summer night, running through a thunderstorm, it tripped and slipped in flip-flops. After two margaritas. Damn chip fracture, anyway.
Once upon a time I lived in a body abused by stress, perhaps over a lengthy period of time, causing a heart attack. That body—and heart—was only 41 years old. Or maybe it was just Broken Heart Syndrome.
Once upon a time I lived in a body that attended cardio rehab and thrived. It was the youngest body there, and it showed those therapists what a comeback looked like. Until three weeks later.
Once upon a time I lived in a body destroyed by an under the influence driver. So much blood loss, it had to be resuscitated. A front tooth gone, spleen removed, and kidneys, liver, colon lacerations. Punctured lungs from eight broken ribs and a broken sternum. Plus a fractured humerus, vertebrae, pelvis, ankle, and foot.
Once upon a time I lived in a body so resilient, it recovered from all of the above, for the most part. Its orthopedic doctor told that body he’d get it back to 90 % normal, and he made good on that promise.
Once upon a time I lived in a body that desired plastic surgery to correct the wrongs that were someone else’s fault. A scar revision for the unsightly ugliness running the length of its abdomen.
Once upon a time I lived in a body whose boobs a plastic surgeon said were already “perfect.” Music to the ears of that body, since so much trauma had made it feel more like a huge lump of tangled bone fat and skin.
Once upon a time I lived in a body that had a tattoo. Just one. A sunflower. It was removed, along with the body’s belly button, during the surgery to mend the ugly scar. Ironic, isn’t it? Tattoos and belly buttons are supposed to be things of permanency. So are scars.
And now, I live in a body that has stopped exercising, aches from arthritis, longs for its recliner, has added thirty pounds, and keeps a barrel for a belly. But I also live in a body that can tell many stories and among them is survival.
Note: This piece was written during an exercise we did for Abigail Thomas’s class this summer.
One thought on “The Body I Once Lived In”
So loved that blog Aimee – what a testament to your strength and love of life. I think when you tire of teaching, you should get into motivational speaking (you would not lonely be an inspiration but also entertaining while doing it). Your love of the recliner is me. This knee replacement and work to correct the curve of my femur has had me thinking of you and your accident and how you survived. The cutting of pain meds by the govt. today, thanks to all the druggies, has been a bitch. Keep up the good work Aimee. Love you!
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