I approach movement as something my body needs. (Obviously, I can do so because I haven’t had to think about fatness due to being lean my entire life). Like we need to breathe, eat, sleep… we need to move.

But it is hard for me to connect to my body, which is weird to say because don’t I literally exist in it? What I mean, I guess, is that I don’t perceive or acknowledge it. Because whenever I do, I am reminded that it is far from perfect. I grew up being bullied a lot for my skin colour, to the point where I genuinely believed I was the ugliest person in the world. Although my definitions of ugliness and understanding of beauty have evolved a lot, I still haven’t managed to heal that part of me.

Whenever I am made aware of my body, I feel disgusting. What this does, apart from making me sad, is it also prevents me from connecting to it when I move. Or exercise if we have to be less poetic.

Anthony Bourdain once called his body an amusement park, and for many years, I tried to treat mine like a temple. But I believe we both were wrong. I think of it as a house now. Some homes are cluttered, some are neat, some have leaky taps, and some have mosquito problems. But home is home. And it keeps its owner comfortable. And one tries to do their best, within their means, to keep their home functional and warm.

And that’s what I want to do within my constraints and bandwidth. For example, my house is frequently cluttered but never unclean, which my mother would hate, but I love it nonetheless. Similarly, a body is what the person wants it to be for them to be safe and at home. I want to move because I feel age taking its toll. I didn’t expect it to start at 24, but here we are. I cannot bend or stretch the way I used to. One wrong move, and I feel a muscle pull. My back hurts more easily, and I dislike these changes.

I want to be flexible and agile. That is what makes me feel at home and in tune with myself. However, when your home has been made fun of for ages, it can be challenging to build your life in it.

In many ways, exercise or movement helps me shift that narrative. Building strength makes me feel better about not being traditionally feminine, for example. But that is not a good lens because I am trying to find utility, like an economist, where my body is supposed to exist. Because someday, even with all the exercise in the world, it will cease to move the way I want it to. What will I do then?

Building a healthy relationship in this home means I will have to be okay with it just existing. And failure in movement really helps with that. When I am trying to master a complicated dance routine or pull off a pull-up, I fail. But it still feels good to sweat and move. And even though my body can’t do certain things, I want to fall in love with its existence, trying even if that will sometimes lead to failure.

So, this year, my resolution is to connect with my home. To take care of it and see it in the eye. I wish to plant trees in neglected gardens and do my best to keep mosquitos away. I want to cook, clean, hang some postcards, repaint its walls, tend to it to the best of my abilities and embrace my body as my home.