37. Trees don't try to fit in
A few weeks ago I couldn’t do it anymore, so I stepped out the front door and walked in no particular direction for no particular purpose.
And then I noticed the trees.
Spilling out of the ground. Tearing up the pavement. Fighting roads.
Growing up I had a ropey relationship with my body. I thought I was doing pretty good for an eleven year-old, and then we moved to Vancouver and all my relatives called me “fat boy”.
You know what’s messed up? Adults calling a kid fat.
London is home to some majestic trees. Tall. Sturdy. Noble. These are good trees. You’ll find them all over the city, minding their own business, getting papped by tourists.
And then you’ll spot a tree just casually eating a metal fence.
This tree is pushing over your wall. What’re you going to do about it? That’s right, nothing. You built a wall next to the tree like you’re the Macbeth of brick laying, and now guess who’s at the door? Ding dong, it’s hubris calling. Your wall’s falling over.
Have you ever laughed and in the middle of your personal joy had someone comment that you have a loud laugh? Wow, they might have said, in a manner that suggested they were witnessing something truly outside their regular existence, wow, you have a really loud laugh.
And did you then and there decide to laugh more quietly?
When I was in my mid-20s I went on a diet to improve my cycling. The chart in the magazine said that a 5 pound weight reduction would equal a 30 second bonus on a 6-mile ride over a 3-percent grade.
On my bike I imagined the weight leaving my body as little numbers with each breath.
I wanted to tell you to ignore them. That other people don’t get to decide how we feel. That our bodies are spaceships and the fact they’re afloat in the cosmos, powering us towards the sun, is a miracle in and of itself. That every body is a good body.
I wanted to tell you this but I couldn’t, because I didn’t believe it.
Next time I’ll be a tree. I’ll let my roots grow wherever they want. I’ll let squirrels chill in my branches. And when I get too close to other trees, I’ll shyly withdraw my crown.