This morning I weighed myself. 151.8 pounds. The heaviest I have ever weighed while not growing a human inside me. I guess that explains why I can no longer button my pants.
I’m heavier than my husband now, for the first time in 25 years. The son of a jockey, he was bred to be lean. He drinks soda all day. Did I mention that? His blood type is corn syrup and caramel coloring, but he can button his pants just fine.
I don’t typically keep score like that. I don’t care what the number is. I care how I feel in my own skin. My skin feels stretched.
My lowest weight as an adult came after my surgery. A surgery that came after the norovirus. A couple of weeks prior to having a desmoid tumor and part of my leg muscle surgically removed I was hospitalized for three days after the norovirus swept through our home.
It hit everybody in my family to a certain degree, but the only one taken away in an ambulance was me. I spent a few days in the hospital hooked up to IVs, swallowing two kinds of antibiotics twice a day, and undergoing a battery of tests before the mystery was solved.
It was just days before my surgery when I began to feel human. Then, as you could imagine, the wind left my sails quickly again. After my surgery I weighed less than 120 pounds. And that was with the cane. For me, that was practically skeletal.
“You look great!” They’d say.
Thank you, but I’m not well.
It was strange to be oohed and aahed in a body that had never been before. This body, my body had always been average, quite plain. To be congratulated for a frame born of affliction and distress felt vile. I’m thin, but I’m not well. Don’t you see?
As you’ve now deduced I’ve settled back into my weight. Settled a little too comfortably, perhaps. If I knock ten pounds off I’ll be happy, but I’ll settle for five. Just enough to button my pants again. Just enough to be one under my spouse.
It’s not about a number. It’s about my skin. Fitting into it, being able to breathe. I have to keep an eye on it. I don’t have the luxury of letting the pounds stack up. I have less leg to haul myself around. And I’m older, so much older, than I used to be.
Our bodies are our homes, our castles. They house our organs and protect our souls. They bleed and ache and break to remind us that we’re human. They heal. They bring forth life. They let us touch and feel, taste, smell and hear. They make us believe we can fly. They connect me to you and me to I.
I live in this body, but it is not a house. This is not some temporary dwelling to move in of and out. This is my home. My forever home. The only one I’ve got. My castle. My sanctuary. My gift, for all its flaws.
I can’t button my pants now, but I will. Eventually. I’ll get out there, do what it takes. I need to. I have to. This body gave me no luxuries. My body is my home. It is neither perfect nor pleasant. It is not simple. It’s rarely kind. It is where I live, though. And only for now it is mine.
*Inspired by Gin & Lemonade’s writing prompt HOME