My Body, the Ocean

I’ve become familiar with my body. The features I notice are like old friends. The way my shoulders slowly tense up throughout the day, reaching up towards my ears in resistance to the weight of the world. How an exhale eases them down with the rinsing of my consistent lungs. My lungs protected by my ribs who are too big for my body, whose heaviness I’ve carried and tried to hide for as long as I can remember. The left always more confidently forward than the shy right. On my back you can see their subtle shape under my skin, like little ripples of sand on the shore of the sea. My torso width dips between those ribs and my hips, a shallow ground for belts and high-waisted jeans and embracing arms to settle. Below my belly button lays a small foothill, a feature of my body I have conflict with often. Most of the time this extra cushiony section of my stomach causes me to question my beauty, but sometimes I can appreciate its softness. I am always dancing between softness and strength. My lengthy legs carry me through this dance - and through fields, through forests, up and down mountains, and around coastlines and cities. They cycle from fierce to gentle, and back again. My feet, meanwhile, are petite and cold. My toes spread wide and curl tightly, finessing the movements of my lower limbs as I learned to do in ballet as a child.

These are the things I know to be me. But I wonder, if I ever have a partner and children, what will be distinctly me to them? Will they see me in my pinecone necklace that always hangs delicately on a thin gold chain? Maybe the way I tuck my uncombed mane behind my right ear, or how my nose twitches ever so slightly each time I blink will be movements that become my signature. The warmth of my brown eyes and how I can fall asleep anywhere and hate to wake up early unless it’s for movement could be those details that make me who I am to them, to the people I am closest to. It’s a funny thought, that what I see as me might not be me to those I love, at all.

The features I am most familiar with are the trails I have repeatedly followed. But others might not explore those trails - they might not even see the trailhead. So I think I would like to see the larger landscape, and love it wildly. My body the ocean, the meadow, the forest.