The Human Condition: Strong Arms
She pulled her tiny human closer, her strong arms encompassing the small torso, so close she could feel her babe’s breath moving slowly in and out of her little body. Asleep at last.
In that moment she noticed her strong arms. She noticed the almost magical ability her arms possessed to hold her little one gently, yet firmly in place for long enough to impose sleep.
They were the same arms that had held her babe for the first time, that twisted and contorted to guide the same child to the breast for sustenance in the early days. Those arms had an important, a critical role in her family and if she wanted to be really weird about it she would have, could have become truly excited in a celebration of these strong arms.
The babe let out a gentle snore and she noticed her arms had done the job. The babe was soundly, safely asleep. She gently crept out of the bed ensuring she didn’t wake the sleeping infant.
Her eyes met her arms in the harsh light of the bathroom mirror.
“Fat.” Was the first word that came to mind as she examined her arms with particular emphasis on the fatty tissue connecting her arms to her torso in the mirror. She lifted her right arm and shook it just a little. The fat underneath her arm wobbled and she tried to flex the muscle reminiscing younger days.
In the place of bulging muscle was something that seemed foreign each time she witnessed it. Her skin wrapped around a jiggly, dimpled substance that now appeared to be called her upper arm.
“Tuck shop lady arms” she recalled some celebrity berating a reality TV star.
Her eyeballs met the mirror “I have tuck shop lady arms” she silently told herself.
She was no dummy. She knew this stuff was born of magazines, celebrity culture, Instagram, modern expectations gone wild. She knew that real women had parts that wiggled and jiggled and she knew, without doubt that her trusty arms were the things that had made her children feel safe, were the limbs that carried vital food supplies into her house and if she was to be completely honest she rather loved the look of her tanned shoulders in summer which set the tone of yet another luscious holiday scene.
Yet she couldn’t help but feel insecure as the fat jiggled and her once slim body defied her expectations of appearance. She had become ‘one of them’ — the middle-aged mums — “refrigerators” as her own father had once described them.
She wondered what she would do about it. A middle finger salute? Or perhaps starve herself for enough days to dissolve the offending flab??
She decided on this one thing. Her strength. The ability of her arms to provide safe refuge for those she cared for most deeply. She decided in that moment that her arms would be defined as strong — not flabby, dimpled nor fat.
And her strong arms obeyed and moved beside her as she lived to conquer another day.
Kerry Grace is a mum of three school aged children, a CEO and company director. Kerry’s work focuses on leading a life that really matters and further writing can be found via www.kerrygrace.com.au and www.evolvenetwork.com.au