Have a daughter.
Or a son. Or borrow someone else’s (but not in a kidnappy way).
Watch her body shift and morph. See how beautiful she is at each stage. See how proud she is of her body. How un-self-conscious. See your own infant and toddler and child self cradled deep inside of her.
Realize you have always been perfect, you have always been right.
Know that our bodies change constantly, imperceptibly.
They start as microscopic, a flicker of cells. They weave bones and blood, the essential blossom of the heart. They grow and grow, muscle and fat, hair and bones, eyes and fingers. They grow until they are done growing, and even then they continue to replace themselves. Our bodies are miracles in motion.
Learn from the brawny confidence of trees.
Study their trunks, thick and sun-warmed, each shaped slightly different from each other. Understand that we never decided to make only one specific shape of tree beautiful, declaring all others subpar. There is wisdom in the beauty of difference, in the fickleness of forests.
Soak it in.
Get lost in the map of veins on your foot.
Count the triangles on the palm of your hand. Imagine the long stalks of bone beneath your skin. Take that microscope you’ve been putting your body under and turn it on its side. There is still so much to be noticed, so much to be thanked.
Do something you loved when you were six.
Climb a tree or do a somersault. Make up a ridiculous dance, be terrifically out of rhythm. Hide beneath a small spiral of trees and watch sunlight dribble across them. Make dirt angels. Remember.
Do something you might not be able to do when you’re 90.
Hike into a moss-muddled forest. Skip down the street. Float in the ocean, your eyelids closed to the shock of sun above. Say thank you, thank you, thank you to this body you have right now. To the heart that pumps and pumps, to your lungs that whoosh out air over and over and over again. To all the machinery within you, the secret hum of organs and blood, cells and symphony, that goes on just beneath your skin.
Realize that when you leave this earth, you won’t give a singular f*ck about what your thighs looked like when you were 12 or 26 or 49. Let your older, dying self remind you that it meant less than nothing.
Decide that maybe it doesn’t matter so much now, either.
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