By Aislinn De'Ath

By Aislinn De'Ath
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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Body business...

The thing is Reader, I am feeling quite large at the moment. And there is a reason for that. The reason is that I AM quite large at the moment. I didn't realise it till I didn't fit into a size 10 earlier today because my boobs almost broke the zip. Thing is, I've been dating this guy who loves food. I already love food, so being with him is like a dream-a ticket to feast, because he'll always eat more than me. The thing is, he is built of pure muscle and does lots of exercise and I am...well...I'm not really built, I'm more sort of casually moulded into a variety of curves.

The issue I have with this is that I do not like my body over a certain weight and that makes me sad. I don't want to not like my body. My body does really lovely things for me, like help me act, do yoga, dance and hopefully one day give birth to a small clan of children. My body is a nice thing. And I haven't always treated my body very nicely in the past; I smoked for four years, then another year. When I drink, I drink heavily. I don't exercise enough, or drink enough water. My poor body doesn't like wheat or dairy and I choose to ignore that fact and eat pizza and cheesy pasta on a regular basis. But my body still troops on. It has lived through asthma attacks, chest infections, ski collisions, being burnt by hot oil on a badly supervised Girl Guide's camping trip and even a scary two weeks where a doctor told me to deal with the fact that I might not be able to have children. Reader, I swore at my body a lot that week. I cried everywhere- bus stops, supermarket toilets, cafes, an ultrasound wing of a hospital and on the train to an audition (the audition didn't go terribly well). I didn't really tell anyone because it seemed like A Very Big Thing. And my heart didn't feel ready to face the reality of discussing A Very Big Thing. I lay in bed next to my partner every night and stared at the ceiling, cursing my body and making deals with greater powers. If my body could have children I'd treat it nicer. I'd go to the dentist more and do volunteer work. I'd buy more copies of the big issue and be nicer to my little brother. And after two weeks of worrying, I was told that there was no sign of cancer, twisted Fallopian tubes or any of the things that had been rattling round my brain since my first appointment. They still don't really know what's wrong with me, but at least I know I have a chance of getting pregnant. I feel terrible for those couple of weeks where I directed such vittrol and spite at my poor womb.

And the thing is, when something like that happens, when you think that your body has failed you in such a drastic way, you suddenly realise how bloody ridiculous getting cross with a few extra pounds is.

Which is why I don't want to be sad that I'm a little heavier than usual. In my lifetime, some amazing people have passed, some of them upsettingly young. Time spent looking in the mirror begrudging your shape is time utterly wasted.

Also, thinking you can't have kids makes you realise how much you want them (or for some people, how little they do-amazing clarity comes from the results of a medical test at times) and how you'd raise them. I never want my child to hear me say 'I'm too fat' or give the impression that being a different shape to the shapes in the magazines is an issue. I don't want him or her to see me frowning in the mirror as I clutch at my rounded hips and generous, Irish thighs, wishing I looked like a different woman entirely. I never want my child to think 'Mummy thinks she's ugly and I look like Mummy-so I must be ugly too'. My body has a history-the hips come from farmer's wives in Ireland carrying kids and baby animals, my strong thighs come from horse riders who travelled across the lands and my soft belly comes from a legacy of women who make incredible mothers, professionals and lovers. Who am I to scorn all that?

So although, yes, I will be eating a little less over the next few weeks and moving quite a bit more, I will not be doing it because I hate my body. I will be doing it because it's a lovely body. And it deserves some tlc.

Reader, give your body a hug today. And remember not to be too mean to it.


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