This post is dedicated to someone I have ignored, mistreated, and on occasion abused; my body. Let’s talk about body love.
and i said to my body. softly.
‘i want to be your friend.’
it took a long breath. and replied
‘i have been waiting my whole life for this.’
– Nayyirah Waheed
Body image – ooph. BIG TOPIC for women. I feel the extra heavy weight of being a positive body image role model for my three young daughters.
When my daughters have the inevitable experience of self-doubt (and potentially self-loathing) of their body, I would like to give them the gift of looking at me and thinking, “At least it gets better when I’m older.”
A Love Letter to My Body:
Well, we are not a 20-something anymore, so the goal of having less fat and more toned muscle has given way to the great goal of moving free of pain. I know some mornings you wake up feeling creakier than others. I have learned stretching does a world of good when you feel like your 80 years old.
Body, you enjoy moving outside and not enjoy going to a gym with fluorescent lights. Together, we ended our relationship with the treadmill indefinitely and cardio kick-boxing (no offense, childbirth has made bouncing a bad idea for your bladder). If temperatures are above single digits, you are game for a nature walk and so am I.
I enjoy making you happy and flexible, so I try to find ways to keep you moving. In turn, you do me a solid by keeping up and doing so without injury, soreness, becoming entirely immobile, or reaching for pain killing pills. In fact, you impress me by doing things you couldn’t do 15 years ago. There are some crazy new yoga and balancing poses in your practice now!
Body, we have ventured to far off lands and explored countries where English is far from the spoken language. We found our way back home every time.
I’m sorry for ever expecting you to suddenly grow model-long legs and treat you with less respect than you deserve.
I have not listened to you; instead I have starved you, and then overstuffed you. I have abused you and made you squeeze into clothes which do not fit. You’ve had been pinched, pulled and hurt because I tried to force you to be something you simply are not. I have scrutinized every inch of you unfairly. I’m really sorry about this.
Despite my sometimes cruel treatment, you have always been constant in your patience, waiting for me to realize how lucky I am. Body, you are what created and carried my babies with love and warmth. You suffered through a hellish twin pregnancy waiting until the right moment to let my babies emerge into the world as happy and healthy pink little cherubs. You provided milk for my three children and let me pump milk when I needed to until my babies decided they were done nursing.
You are my babies’ first home and where they long to be more than anywhere else. This will change when they are teenagers (we should prepare ourselves). Take heart, they will return at some point.
You are constantly being touched by small, wanting hands and limbs. Right now, my daughters wrap themselves around you like vines clinging to a tree. I amazed at how well we fit together, like long lost puzzle pieces finally finding their place in the world.
I have not always let you know this, but I appreciate you so much. You have made my life possible and I hope I can repay your kindness. Most importantly, you make it possible to show my children what a healthy woman looks like and this is the best gift I could give them. Thank you. I love you.