I’ve never been a big fan of my eyebrows. They’re seriously spiky customers, they totally give away that my hair’s dyed (spoiler alert) and they seem absolutely determined to join together as one, if only my tweezers would let them. But they let me express myself. They go up when I see something that surprises me, like a free seat on the tube, or a Buy One Get Two Free offer (seriously, they happen). And they furrow when I’m confused, like when anybody tries to make conversation with me before 9am or after 9pm, or when people don’t understand how to queue. And I’m grateful for that.
I’ve never really liked my nose. Right there in the middle of my face, like a pink slide for flies. If I’m embarrassed or I laugh too much it goes as red as a flustered tomato, and I could swear it also flashes. But having a nose means that I can smell things. I can enjoy the scent of a well-chosen fabric conditioner or a frying piece of bacon. And I love bacon. And fabric conditioner (though not together) so being able to smell them both makes me very happy indeed.
Sometimes my eyes just DO. MY. HEAD. IN. They cry when I laugh, when I yawn, and when it’s windy, and reduce even the most waterproof of mascaras to a charcoal spread. They well up at the smallest sign of kindness. Try me – offer me a crisp. But having eyes means that I can see you. That I can read back through my own tweets. And that I can look in the washing basket and see that yes, now would be a good time to do a pink wash. Having eyes really is rather handy.
I’ve always thought my arms were a bit weird. I’ve got double jointed elbows, you see. Sure, they’re handy for grabbing things that have dropped behind a radiator but that’s a party trick people only really want to see once – at best. When I try to do press-ups (which – OK, fine – is almost never), I have to think really hard about which way my arms should bend, so I’m forced through embarrassment (and perhaps just a smidge of laziness) not to bother. But with arms and hands I can put together a mean bag of Pick ‘n’ Mix. I can hug you real tight. And I can cook up a poached egg which I can guarantee will be runny in the middle. And for that I am definitely grateful, as would you be, should you wish to pop round.
When I stood in front of the mirror this morning I realised how quickly my brain automatically turns to negative thoughts. To noticing all the hairs that are out of place, the teenage skin that should surely have GROWN UP by now, the constant quandary over whether each part of me is the size and shape that it should be. It’s so boring. The time has come to stop this and just accept what’s right there in front of us – sure, wash it, moisturise it, hell, even use one of those little exfoliating sponges every now and then if you like, but let’s not waste so much time scrutinizing.
A touch of gratitude for what we’ve got, what it let’s us do, and how it makes us who we are, can only do us good. And think of all the time we’ll win back – more hours in the day to marvel at our ability to see a blue sky, to spot an opportunity for a bargain, or even to hone our press-up skills, should we suddenly find the energy.
Though, to be honest, I don’t think any amount of free time could ever make me fancy that.