One Woman’s Simple Request for Health

One Woman’s Simple Request for Health

I’m not asking for the impossible. I’d just like to have a healthy body. That’s all.

Just a body that doesn’t freak out if I enjoy a pint of salted-caramel ice cream after a sensible meal, or break out in hives if I indulge in a king-size bag of M&M’s after a workout. A healthy body that doesn’t get a splitting headache only sometimes when I drink boxed red wine, so who knows when it’s safe to ever have any red wine. If that means I have to eat broccoli, fine. I’m not unreasonable.

All I want is a healthy body that’s toned. I’m not asking to be a Gisele Bündchen or an Angela Bassett. Just in shape enough that when I break into a light jog to keep up with my husband’s walking pace I don’t feel immediate mortification at the sensation of my belly rippling through time and space. Toned in such a way that the department store’s fun-house-mirror-and-fluorescent-lighting combo doesn’t send me into a butt-dimple spiral. Toned enough that getting out of a sweaty sports bra is like easing a delicious popsicle out of its plastic sleeve and not like escaping a medieval limb-stretching torture rack. Though a body sort of has to be perfectly toned to be considered “toned,” right? It’s kind of like being pregnant—you can’t be half-toned. So, yeah, I’ll just take one of those.

It’s simple, really. I want a good work-life balance. Like one of those women who get so engrossed in making earrings for their Etsy site that they forget to eat lunch. That’s healthy, right?

While we’re at it, I don’t think it’s too much to ask for mental health. Complete mental health. I’ll leave it at that, since there are no examples from any gender of what complete mental health looks like.

And, excuse me, but why shouldn’t I have emotional health? Just enough that I don’t sob uncontrollably when my librarian tells me that she likes my top? So that, when a co-worker asks me how it’s going, I say, “I’m fine, and how are you?” instead of staring into the distance and whispering that “it all started in 1987.” Maybe eventually I could be so emotionally healthy that I laugh on a park bench while eating a salad.

I don’t think it’s too much to ask to be so totally healthy that, after just two minutes, I recognize that scrolling through social media for fitness inspo is a trap, instead of after two hours. To know that my precious time here on earth is better spent writing a gratitude list—for that one time my hair wasn’t frizzy, for that weekend in 2018 I didn’t feel bloated, or for that walk I took last August, free of thigh chafe. I’m asking for basic things here. I’m not some confused tween TikTok-ing my Saran-wrapped thigh gap.

Is spiritual health different from emotional health? I grew up going to a Catholic church, so I actually sort of think of them as opposites. Anyway, I just want total inner peace. For my thoughts and emotions to be like calm waves lapping at the shore of a beach at dawn, and not like a Whole Foods on Day One of a pandemic lockdown. I’m willing to meditate or whatever to achieve this. If necessary, for up to three minutes a month.

Let me be clear: this is about holistic health. Not outward appearances. Because once my emotional and spiritual needs are met I’m pretty sure that I’ll have boobs like Salma Hayek, a waist like Betty Boop, and a mind like the love child of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Greta Thunberg.

Also, shouldn’t I be a billionaire?

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