Today I see my right arm.
I notice the muscle tension when I count pills over the Kirby counter, my arm hovering over the opening, moving back and forth ever so slightly. The movement is small, but just big enough to jiggle the flab under my arm. That’s what caught my attention, what brought my focus to my arm. I admire my tattoo peeking out from under my short sleeved shirt. I admire the stark contrast between the black ink and my smooth skin. I see a small stretch mark, a pale white lightning strike that hides when my arm is down. I like it, it’s proof that I’m doing something, using my arms, living. I look under and watch my arm flab sway back and forth as I count the pills. It’s small; my arms have been bigger, and softer, I’m not so concerned about them anymore. I don’t really care about how they flatten against my body, softly spreading out like dough. I even leave them by my sides in pictures, that’s how unconcerned I am now. I refuse to do the “hand-on-hip” pose I used to do as a teen, it’s too angular for my body. I like to be soft, smooth.
When I write, I notice the effort I put into the physical act of writing. I feel my entire arm, from my thumb to my wrist to my shoulder. I feel every muscle and every piece of cartilage all the way up. I feel how writing with a marker-pen is different from writing with a ball-point pen, how a wood pencil is different from a mechanical one.
When I look into the mirror, my shoulders are more square, but I also think I may be projecting. I stand up a little straighter, hold my head up a little higher. Even when I’m feeling confident with my body, I still notice things, like duh. My double chin never goes away, my skin is getting sensitive, and I still don’t have an hourglass shape. But day by day, I might grow to appreciate my body more. Like how I can lift and carry a box of prescription bags, how I can easily move in and out of down-dog, how energized I actually feel after exercising. So I love looking at my arms. I love rubbing my hands across my bicep, I love feeling every muscle flex while doing mundane activities.
My arms have grown since I was a teenage girl. They grew bigger, then smaller, then more muscular. I like to exercise my arms more, I like to see my biceps reach a little higher when I flex my arms. I like to feel my arms when I flex. I like the smooth rise of my bicep and the dip into my elbow. This is how I’ve been slowly loving my body, piece by piece.