I want abs.
I. Want. Abs.
The core. The abdominals. The stomach. I want it.
Have I been persuaded by the Instagram personalities on the interwebs, slyly smiling a coy grin while holding up their shirts for the world to see their perfectly tanned midsections, to invest in a waist trainer, to purchase colon cleanses, to shrink my waist to nothing?
Have I forgotten the years of battle, the checking in and out of eating disorder units because my quest to eliminate the little-to-non-existent roundness of my stomach forced me to restrict my daily meals to one Subway sandwich a day?
Let me reassure you that I could care less if my midsection doubles as a cheese grater. I take off my shirt at the beach, not caring that when I sit I get the inevitable rolls of stomach because, well, I’m human and eat and that’s what happens to skin. What I mean when I say “I want abs!” is that I want to be able to function, to move, to twist and turn and bend forward and back. I want to be a human being. I want a body. I want a life.
In reality, abs are a muscle. Everyone has them, so it’s pretty ridiculous to say one “wants abs.” They are there. We are born with them. We will die with them. It is a part of the body, a necessary part of the body, that without would cause one to literally keel over.
So yes, I want a body. I want to feel the security of bending down to pick up my toddler son, knowing that I can carry him up flights of stairs.
I want a body. I want to be able to heft four bags of groceries up the stairs without stopping because I can’t keep an upright torso.
I want a body. I want to be able to walk around my classroom, to turn to talk with students, to engage in games and activities with them without trepidation.
There was a time when I was scared to move. Literally, scared to do anything besides lie down. I wasn’t sure that my frail skeleton-like body could support the weight of me doing anything other than be horizontal on the sofa. Ironically, my quest to “have abs” left me with “no abs.” I had little muscle. I had little strength. I had, well, little of nothing.
It was then, during that time when I was laying on the cushioned pillows, wondering, pondering, praying that I would be able to one day have the energy to live and move and breathe and live, that I decided I wanted abs. But not of the six-pack variety. I wanted strength. I wanted a body. I wanted a core, a solid feeling of being that could one day house a child, that could one day become a home to another human.
I wanted abs.
And many years later, almost two decades later, I was able to have the child, and then another. My abs were able to be their protection, their shield.
And yet I still want abs. Because as time goes on and the wrinkles around my eyes get more distinct, I realize that abs are still necessary, if not even more important. The body is slowly breaking down. Sadly, the ability to move, to function how I once did as a kid and young adult becomes more of a challenge. With every year and decade that passes, it is that much more vital that I have abs. I want a body that will sustain me to do God’s work. I want a body that can be a light to others.
I want to have abs when I’m fifty. When I’m sixty. When I’m seventy. And beyond.
So, yes, I want abs.
I. Want. Abs.