Your body is not an apology.
I’m finally reading one of the trail blazing books on self love and body acceptance, The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor. There have already been so many moments while reading that I’m like, “Yes, yes, yes.” I highly recommend reading it.
I mostly think the title is absolute perfection. Often when I’m thinking about the struggle of going against beauty standards, diet culture, weight bias, etc., I come back to that phrase. I don’t owe anyone an apology for my body. Once you grasp the concept, it’s powerful. I thought while reading this book, it would just be affirmations of how I already felt about myself, but I was surprised to be challenged with something new. The revelation that I don’t owe anyone, including myself, a healthy body.
In 5th grade, I was diagnosed with scoliosis. It’s a curvature of the spine that can be mild to severe. My spine and back issues has drastically declined over the past 2-3 years. Just in the past year, I’ve gotten to wear I can barely stand or walk for an hour without screaming out loud from pain when I go to sit down. I keep thinking that I’ve got to get my back healthy. But how? I’ve tried yoga, physical therapy multiple times and seeing several different doctors. In the end, I’m left with being chronically on muscle relaxers (which I don’t take), surgery, or spinal injections. But in all this, I keep thinking that I have to be healthy.
When I’m shopping or simply just getting dressed in the mornings, I am humiliated and embarrassed that my back hurts so bad just from small activity. I’ve gotten in the car and just broke down crying from pain and fear that I may one day lose my mobility. It’s a really frightening thought. But when I read in the book that I don’t owe anyone a healthy body, I had a realization. Am I wanting to heal my back out of prideful thoughts of how others perceive me, or do I actually just not want to be in pain?
It’s heavy. I think about how young I am and that someone of my age shouldn’t have this kind of health issue. That’s pride. I sit in the car and cry just wanting relief from the pain. That’s healthy thinking. When it comes to my body, the only person I should care about their opinion on it is me. But, I don’t owe the world a healthy body. I don’t owe the world a body without pain. And that’s ok. What matters is how I want to live.
So just here to say, you don’t owe anyone health. It’s ok.