If I had remained 12 years old, I would never have thought about my body at all. Well, I would have picked at scabs, pulled off plasters, rubbed doc leaves on nettle stings. But I wouldn’t have noticed it. Not like I notice it now, at 33. Or how I’ve noticed it every single day for probably 18 years.
But age brings with it an awareness of everyone else around us. Teenage envy at her hair, her flat stomach, her tanned legs. How has she remained so slender after discovering beer at uni?! Why am I filling out in my late twenties? Is everyone else doing the same? Do I have to change my habits/eat more salad/go running on weekends? Should I try the 5:2 diet? Is all this normal, am I healthy, what should I REALLY look like?
I find sense, and sanity, at the communal changing rooms at my local swimming pool.
There, I see so many different bodies. Long and slender; round and curvaceous; tiny boobs and huge breasts; powerful thighs and skinny pins. Muscles, and baby weight, and post-Christmas bulges, and tight abs, and sagging skin, and sunburn, and difference, difference, difference – all of them, totally different.
Different and totally awesome, in their variety.
I remember that as I try to fit my own body into the rest of the world.