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I look at myself in the mirror and hate what I see. I don’t fit into the cookie-cutter ideal of being lean and little, and I pick and prod at the areas I want to change. But when I take a step back and consider all that my body has done for me, I’m thankful.

I’m thankful for my body telling me when enough is enough and it’s time to rest, with physical fatigue and sweat kissing my skin after a workout.

I’m thankful for her movement, the clumsy and the graceful, to do things in life. She allows me to climb hills, dance and adventure to places near and far.

She supports me when the going gets tough, and the tough really gets going. Muscle memory is essential to go through the motions when I don’t have the mental energy to do basic tasks

I have such love for my arms and hands. They make it possible for me to caress and hold all that I love: friends, family, books, cats and so much more. I can gather as much as I can hold and keep it close to my heart, or I can use them to spread joy to everyone around me. 

As weird as it sounds, I’m thankful for my skin. I love the discoloration and the many shades that I am. It’s annoying to cover up and “fix” tan lines, yes, but I love that my skin darkens to protect itself. The imperfections are what make me distinct, and I should embrace them.

My body does so much for me and though I get upset with myself, I have to remember the little things. To say thank you, I let her rest. I give her nutrients and goods and treats. I pamper her with long showers, luxurious lotions and silky clothes. She does so much and deserves everything and more in terms of thanks for taking care of me.

Paige Pennebaker

Chapel Hill '21

Paige Pennebaker is an aspiring writer who attends UNC-Chapel Hill as a Senior during the day. She enjoys writing fiction and has been published on shortfictionbreak.com. While fiction is where her heart is, Paige also has a lot to say about the real world and how to get by.