On this the eve of my 38th summer, I really think the most helpful way to prepare for a drinks-al-fresco season is to remember that if someone were to tabulate my value on this, our earth, they'd have a checklist of stuff like:
- tries to be generous
- practices compassion
- apologizes when she cuts people off in traffic
- always kept her eyes on her own work
- stuck up for kids who were getting bullied
- respects people's time and is really punctual
- let someone go ahead of her in line at Whole Foods, once
- isn't the best at not holding grudges but also isn't the worst
Nowhere on that list would you see anything about my body. (Though if entry to heaven is controlled by someone super image-conscious and hypercritical, joke's on me.)
I guess what I am saying — and bear with me, I know it's cliche — is that we're all so much more than this dumb earthly vessel. After all, it's just the container for all the things about me that really matter: my thoughts and feelings, killer one-liners, unpopular opinions, memories of childhood, photographic recall of Buffy the Vampire Slayer dialogue, preference for salty vs. sweet, my loyalty to friends, my distinct penmanship, etc., etc.
These qualities and idiosyncrasies are everything because they're what make me me and not you or some other rando. They're what other people value about me, and if I'm being honest they're also what I value about me. So then why am I spending all this time and energy stressing about my body during bike-rides-to-Coney-Island season?
Honestly, I don't know. But I'm trying to stop.