Dear My Body of 37 Years,
You should know I desperately loathe this letter as much as I love it. This is hard work, but I want you to know a few things about how I feel. Things I usually forget to mention. I have to start with one thing.
I’m so sorry.
I’m sorry for the times I’ve hated you. The times I’ve been disgusted by you and called you names. The times I’ve pinched places and cried about you and squeezed into clothes that left you feeling pain. I’m so very sorry.
It’s my heart that’s broken, not you.
I’ve spent my life thinking that it was all your fault, but it’s those pieces of me that cannot stop comparing, cannot stop trying to measure up, cannot stop wishing for anything but what I am. I’m trying. I really am. But sometimes it’s hard. So, I think you should know how very grateful I am.
You’re good to me. I mean it. Really, really good. You work around the clock for me, heart beating and lungs breathing, getting me all the places I need to go. But you’re so much more than a machine.
I love your eyes. They are ever-changing, like your moods, but they speak volumes and hold such light. Deep like the ocean and just as unpredictable, your eyes are my favorite thing about you.
Your pale skin and seasons of freckles used to bother me. I used to try to change that about you, but now I see it as a beautiful part of who you are. Not everyone is meant to have a tan, and those freckles remind me of my mom and my grandma, full of personality and stories and days spent laughing in the sunshine.
I love the story you tell.
There are so many parts that I used to hate, but I’m learning to love. The widows peak that reminds me of a past I often try to forget and that space in my teeth that I tried for so long to hide beneath tight-lipped smiles. I cannot erase who I came from and I don’t want to spend my life with lips pressed together in anger. So, I throw my head back and laugh full and deep, smiling wide because your differences are not imperfections, but the very things that make you mine.
You’re soft and curved, full of a life lived well. And that is all I could ever want from you. To live life well.
Remember to enjoy the chocolate. Wear the bathing suit. Happiness is about more than a number on a scale.
You’ve carried me well. And I am so very grateful for all you are. You make it possible for me to embrace those I love and enjoy the ocean breeze. My lips, covering those teeth I mentioned, they let me kiss the man I first kissed in an old car in my parents driveway. You let me hold my babies before and after they saw the sun, and your chest has always given them a place to rest their head and hear a mama’s heartbeat. You have carried me well.
If you hear negative words slip from my lips or thoughts entertained in my mind, remember, I do not mean them. Not really. It just means I forgot all that you are.
We will keep on experiencing this beautiful world together, living full and imperfect. Loving deep until we feel it in our whole self. Your thighs may always rub and your belly may always jiggle when you laugh but that means you have plenty and enjoy life.
Your scars are less maps of when you’ve been broken and more a testament to your power to heal, so I will not hide them from the world that needs to believe in healing.
Hair may begin to gray and wrinkles may carve paths on my face, but they will be paths full of memories of the beauty and tragedy and sorrow and hope of life lived. You may be just a vessel, but you’re my vessel and the first part of taking care of you is loving you.
I am so very grateful for you and love you fully, just as you are.