2017, as it’s started so far, has been rocky. I know it can only get better from here, but when I look back over the first week, it just kind of… sucks.
Sometimes life throws you an illness, in the first week of the new year; strep throat, to be exact. So you find yourself nursing a vanilla ensure on the couch struggling to swallow, while everyone else is getting back to work after the holidays. I may not be one for resolutions, but I do appreciate a good symbol every once in awhile.
The first week of the new year is one in my head that is supposed to be strong; a week of embracing change, planning out goals, and hitting work hard to set the stage for the rest of the year. This week has been not about embracing the new year, but a fresh reminder about embracing our unfortunate bodily fragility. It’s not a fact I’m new to, far from it. I know the ins and outs of my body’s limitations more than most; I know how few calories I can eat without passing out, I know how far I can run without my hip completely giving out, I know exactly how far I can push myself unsafely to the edge and how to return without any major physical difficulties.
I know the ins and outs of being unable to coerce your body into ceasing being human despite the biggest need to do so. I know, that as much as you may want your body to take a back seat and disappear completely, it won’t. I know that returning to reality and having to relearn to care for your body is only increasingly harder each time you return from an edge. I’ve learned that no matter how much you may dislike it, you still need to care for that body that allows you to move about in the world.
It’s not easy to take care of yourself, especially when it feels that you drew the ‘shitty’ card and have to deal with the body you were given. When you find yourself struggling with the lump of human flesh and bones that you’re stuck in, take a breathe and try to re-frame. Write a list of the things your body allows you to do, the parts you like, the things you wouldn’t be able to do without it. By re-framing your view and cultivating some gratitude for your body, it often gives space to take care of it.
Like it or not, you need it, so give yourself the best chance at survival and take care of your body; it’s the only body you get.