Stand

A good night’s sleep has been hard to come by recently. Parenthood isn’t restful. Who knew? Life feels overwhelming, and a well-worn neural pathway makes me want to take it out on my body.

As I stand in front of the bathroom mirror my physical self is suddenly excessive. Too soft, too uneven, too loose, too much. I’m deeply exhausted, and for a moment, the correct response seems to be grabbing handfuls of my flesh and kneading them like loathsome bread dough, watching the skin and fat squish into and fold over itself.

“Disgusting.”

The thought yanks me onto a familiar path. If I walk down it, berating myself for eating dessert with lunch or needing an extra snack is just a few steps away. A short ways after that…darkness.

I let go of my belly and turn slightly away from the mirror. I can still see the reflection of my general shape in my peripheral vision, but I can’t find details to nitpick.

This is my body, I think firmly. It is not disgusting. It just is.

I roll my shoulders back and straighten my spine. It feels good to stand up for myself.

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