Let us suppose that you own a slave. You would be responsible for his/her food, exercise, education, everything. If you were not allowed to give him freedom, how would you treat him?
I really hope you said something like, “I would give him the best life possible.” You would try not to work him into the ground. You would let him have his own way whenever you could. Adequate sleep, good nutritious food. (If you said anything worse than that, go sit in the corner and rethink your ethics. )
Well, guess what? You do own a slave. A hopelessly devoted, flawlessly obedient slave. It is your own body.
Do you take good care of your slave?
Do you make it drink until it’s sick, even though it begs you to let it stop? Do you make it stay up late, doing your homework because you didn’t get it done earlier? Have you ever worked your poor slave until it fell asleep, despite its best efforts? Do you feed your slave good food, or is it forced to survive off of gummy bears and Cheetos?
Your body tells you when it needs something, but it’s always a gentle nudge. You get the final word every time. It is fully bound to your insane demands.
Ask it to run. Like a faithful horse, it will run until you say otherwise or it collapses. Ask it to stay up so you can watch one more episode, and it’ll put its own needs off to please you.
It timidly requests water, so quiet you might not hear if you aren’t paying attention. Do you give it enough?
It pulls lightly on the corner of your mind and whispers, I’m happy to keep working but can we please take a bathroom break. Do you force it to work until the need is on the verge of disaster?
It’s been doing your reading for four hours straight and its eyes are fatigued. Do you tell it to squeeze its eyes shut for two seconds then keep on?
So many people seem to be waging war with their bodies. They are disconnected from themselves. Hannah and I always joke about magazine covers: “Wear a new body for summer!” “Find your bikini body!” “Get abs!” They seem to think a body is a fashion accessory which can be shaped and molded like clay, or maybe they think we’re made of interchangeable Lego pieces. It’s a weird way of looking at your own body. People talk about building it up, breaking it down, burning it, whipping it into shape.
Poor body. It never rebelled. It just gets tired sometimes. You were the one who got it addicted to television and donuts. It would love to break those habits but it can’t do it alone.
Make sure and give your body plenty of outside play time, fresh water, nutritious food, quality sleep. Keep it clean and listen to its spare, unselfish requests. Check that it has clear skin, bright eyes, and strong nails. If you’re treating it well, it will be happy to greet you in the morning and excited to start a new day with you.
Now you have a new weird way of looking at your body.