This thirty-something-year-old body of mine is 25 pounds heavier than my twenty-something-year-old body of the past. That is not hyperbole.
This body of mine sags where it used to be perky and ripples where it used to be taut. It is crisscrossed with scars and stretchmarks. It has been cut open and sewn back together. Electricity crackles through its bones and settles in joints with a malicious hum.
It has hiked Irish hills and explored the British countryside and once it got lost in a sleepy Italian town because maps are confusing and north always feels like it should be right in front of me, no matter which direction I'm facing. It has danced and swam and loved and wandered. It has endured.
This body of mine has become bulbous both with new life and with cancer, stretched beyond what I thought was possible. It's grown and birthed two babies, and grown tumours that overtook an embryo that never stood a chance.
My babies and my cancer have fed off this body of mine.
This body of mine is not perfect but it is full. Full with baby giggles and shared jokes and mountain air. Full of 3am pizza and sloppy kisses and travel dreams and homemade birthday cake. This body of mine is not perfect but it has lived. It lives. Twenty-five pounds heavier than ten years ago, self-conscious but not self-loathing, stronger(ish), this body of mine lives. I won't take it for granted.