Thursday, December 3, 2009

Love Your Body

I am in a lot of pain today. More than maybe ever before. My hips are hurting no matter what position I am in. But they hurt the most when I am sitting up and I still need to spend hours at a desk today getting ready for law school exams next week. My right wrist is throbbing, despite the brace I've been wearing for almost two weeks now. It hurts just to move it, let alone type or use a mouse, and I have to spend hours today finishing my outlines. There's a slightly duller pain in all my other joints and a feeling of fatigue pushing down like a million pounds on my head. I literally had vicodin for breakfast.

So, considering all that, this next sentence probably won't make a lot of sense to most of you: I love my body and I am very thankful for how hard it works to keep me going every day.

I've been thinking a lot lately about pain. I think its funny that we don't usually appreciate everything our bodies can do until they can't. Our bodies are actually quite amazing. Each and every little part works really hard, every day, to keep us going. But, most of the time, I don't think we bother to be thankful for that. Most of the time we don't even notice how our bodies work every day - we take it for granted. And when our bodies suddenly can't do something - whether temporarily or permanently - we tend to get angry, upset, or frustrated. Instead, I think we should take it as a chance to be thankful for everything our bodies can do.

Take your hips, for example. The different positions your hips can be in help you get through your day, every single day. They help you stand in the shower and shave your legs. They help you walk and climb up and down stairs. They help you sit in chairs and on buses and in the car. They let you stretch out on the couch to watch TV. They let you sit cross-legged on the floor to play with your puppy. They let you lay stretched out in your bed at night. But when was the last time you thought about what your hips do for you? Maybe you've never thought about your hips at all. For me it wasn't until it felt like there was a knife in them. And then my first reaction was to be annoyed at the pain, rather than grateful for all the hundreds of days where my hips work properly and there isn't any pain.

Another good example is your non-dominant hand. If you are right handed, the assumption is usually that your left hand isn't very useful (or vice versa if you are left handed.) I'm left handed, and until my right wrist started hurting I never realized how many things I actually do with my right hand every day. Aside from the obvious right hand things (i.e. a mouse is usually used with the right hand, you shake hands with your right hand) and both-handed things (like typing) I've been surprised at how many things I do on a regular basis with my right hand. Turns out I open the fridge with my right hand. I usually pick up my ridiculously heavy backpack with my right hand. I open jars and water bottles with my right hand. I drive primarily with my right hand. I may be left handed, but my right had does a lot of work every day!!

It's really frustrating to have so much pain in my body that makes it difficult to do things - or keeps me from doing things all together. And I'm not saying that it's easy to deal with this pain. It isn't. In fact, it's the hardest thing I've ever done. Sometimes the pain makes me burst into tears and, by the time I stop crying, it's all I can do to drag myself to bed.

But, instead of getting upset and angry at my body for all this pain, I am going to try to be more grateful for all the things I can do and all the days I spend without pain, or even with less pain. My body may not be perfect but it is still amazing and I really should try to treat it that way. I am going to try, every day, to love my body and be thankful for it. I'm sure it won't be easy, but I'm going to try.

I encourage you to do the same.

1 comment:

Itsy Bitsy Spider said...

You said it lady! When life gives you lemons, it's time to go look for the vodka ;-)

Big hug (achy, but big)