25 Things I Love About Myself

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It’s my birthday today, so I’m all about that self-love good good right now. After years of intense longing and yearning to the point of self-abuse for a differently shaped body as a teenager, I now see my body more clearly for what it actually is: real, beautiful, powerful, healthy, and strong. Here’s a love letter I wrote to it in honor of my 25th year. I hope it inspires you to see the good in your own.

  1. My hair. It’s dark and soft and will air dry in under an hour, if I let it. It’s curly when it’s humid, lightens in the sun, and ties neatly into a knot at the top of my head when I’m too lazy to do much else with it.
  2. My brain. It’s got to be a heavy creature with all the different curiosities it holds, the ideas it generates at a mile a minute, and the easy sure way it knows exactly what it believes.
  3. My forehead. It’s starting to crease from the way I furrow my brow when I’m focused, confused, upset. I don’t sweat it. I’ll pat coconut oil shea butter lotion on it before bed and rock it back in forth on my yoga mat while I rest in child’s pose now and then, so I know it’ll be okay.
  4. My eyes, which try to see the beauty in even the most broken of things.
  5. My ears. They find melody in chaos, hear unspoken things in the spaces between words, and provide fine vessels through which to enjoy live music, which I haven’t done in longer than I care to admit.
  6. My nose. I wanted the doctors to break it and rebuild it again when I was in high school. Now I admire the freckles that emerge on the bumpy bridge of it when I’ve been in the sun too long.
  7. My lips. They plant kisses generously, speak kind words as often as they can, sip milkshakes and fresh squeezed juices on the reg, and dole out sound advice.
  8. My smile. I’m generous with it, flashing it early and often, at people I’ve known my whole life or strangers I pass in the street. It opens doors, transfers energy, and helps me fake it until I make it if I’m the one feelin’ down.
  9. My chin. I keep it lifted, even when I’m sad. Wouldn’t want my crown to slide off.
  10. My voice. I’ve freed it. It’s stopped caring what other people think, unless those people are well-meaning and their criticism is thoughtful and constructive. I’m cringing less when I hear it played back to me on a recording than I have in the past. I’ve stopped hating my twangy Michigan “As,” wide “Ahs,” and I’ll never stop saying the word “pop” where others use “soda.” Pop is cooler. Onomatopoeia is my thing.
  11. My neck. A long and graceful stem that holds up my flower of a face.
  12. My shoulders. The part of me that gets kissed most often by the sun, twin muscle bulges sculpted by thousands of chattarungas. They slide easily down my back when I’m at my best, to frame and make room for…
  13. My heart. It’s a good one with ample room to hold love for the many people I adore and have yet to adore. It’s vibrant, open, and well-meaning, never running out of second chances for the ones who’ve broken it before.
  14. My soul. What a soul. Headstrong and movable by endless tiny miracles: a song, a movie, a string of words, a living creature, the look of the sky on a beautiful morning. It pours a little bit into everything I do (have you had my red wine chocolate cake?). It’s a compatible one, finding a mate at every turn, each one special for different reasons.
  15. My arms. These arms are strong enough to support the weight of my entire body in arm balances. They’re a natural extension of my heart. They’ve rocked crying babies to the shores of a calm sea, opened doors for the elderly, and dropped glasses and plates to a broken oblivion more times than is normal for a person my age.
  16. My hands. They’ve written a ridiculous number of poems, cooked countless soulful meals for the people I care about, played piano for ten years, and memorized the shape of their favorite face in the dark. They’ve kneaded the soft dough of other people’s shoulders and necks—those of my students as they rest heavy in restorative postures at the end of a challenging yoga sequence.
  17. My chest. The rise and fall of it: constant, dependable. Two small full moons of fat, just the right size for me, smattered sparsely with a constellation of coffee-colored beauty marks.
  18. My ribs. They show when I stretch, protect my heart from the elements, and house the lungs that keep me breathing.
  19. My belly. Taut at the top before yielding to a softer lower section that kept me warm this Wisconsin winter. I waged a war on this piece of myself for years, but no matter how much of myself I made disappear, this part always stayed. I might as well love it now. I never could take a hard line, anyway.
  20. My hips. The way they swell out from my center, just a touch, the openness of them readily apparent when I’m able to find my steady breathing in a pose like king pigeon or hanumanasana. Look how far we’ve come, they say to me smugly as I find the balance of effort and ease in a deep hold.
  21. My low back. That arch holds a hundred joyful, pleasurable moments. Finishing a race, loving somebody, dancing unselfconsciously at many a college bar.
  22. My haunches. Unmistakable in the patterned pencil skirt I picked up from my favorite store the other day, a skirt I might have been embarrassed to wear a couple years ago, but that now I put on and think: damn. I won’t be shy about it in my next 25 years. I’ve got nothing for which to apologize. I’m just well-rounded if you know what I mean. This body’s not for looking at, it’s for living in.
  23. My legs. They’ve run more miles at a time than my gym-class-mile-day-dreading-twelve-year-old self could have ever dreamed.
  24. My feet. They’ve got a full range of personalities: barefoot in the kitchen, cozy in wool socks by the fire, running errands in moccasins, clicking down a patch of tile while rushing around in pumps at work, or dancing to a good song in a pair of leopard print platform wedges at play. They pragmatically keep this dreamer firmly rooted in the rich ground of her earth.
  25. My spirit. A happy and free one that flies sweetly and aims true to be a force for good in its little time on earth.

So yes, I’ll have that chocolate donut. Thank you.

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About Christina

Milwaukee-based bon vivant. Lover of food, yoga, design, good words & loving kindness.
This entry was posted in Essays, Feminism. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to 25 Things I Love About Myself

  1. rachel collins says:

    i love reading your posts, christina! this is one of my favs! i hope your next year is full of happiness, laughter, and love!

  2. Fawwaz Hamati says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your post. I hope the next 25 will outcome the first because the next 25 will be the mold of improvement & empowerment. Good luck.
    For me I am ongoing my third one.

    • Christina says:

      Uncle Fawwaz, I am so glad you enjoyed it. The first 25 were charmed and pretty tough to beat, but I seem to get happier and happier with every year. Life has been good to me, for sure. Much love,

      Christina

  3. Deb says:

    Happy Birthday Christina – I hope it is a wonderful year!

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