Peter 's Story

Body noun ~the structure of bones, flesh, etc of a human.

Growing up I've had a pretty mixed view of bodies in general. In my dad's case, his body killed him. When I was seven years old he had a large portion of his shoulder removed to try and rid him of a cancerous growth. His body suffered pain as the cancer engulfed his body and eventually took his life one night as he slept.

My sister was born without eyes and was mentally handicapped – her disabilities were the result of the unknown effects of exposure to x-ray radiation on unborn pregnancies while my mum was nursing. My sister is now thirty eight and has a full-time carer.

Then there was me – I was born with a normal body, no defects, no sickness, just normal. And yet for so much of my adolescent years I wished for parts of me to change. I was always skinny. I was so skinny my watch would slip half way up my arm, even on the smallest notch! I tried to eat to put on weight but to no avail, I stayed the same weight for years. I so much wanted to have bigger legs, bigger arms, bigger chest. I played the “if only” game, “If only I could look like this” or, “if only I could be more muscular”. I even had a ranking of which parts I would change and in what order (chest, arms and shoulders first, then legs… in case you wanted to know).

Funny how we have different perceptions of bodies!

Although cancer took my dad's life, I believe he is in a better place now. His body was only a short-term encasement of who he really is. My sister loves life, she sings, plays music and loves to swim. Her body is only an obstacle for others – not for her.

I've come to see that our bodies are stories of who we are. Bodies are a unique “lifeprint” – there is no one is like me in the world. There is no one like you. I am created specially by God – he took the time to think about me as he crafted how I would look (however that all works). That blows my mind!!