Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Letter to My Body

So I came across this challenge on BlogHer and thought it'd be fun, and possibly therapeutic. Turns out, I was right.


Dear Body,

I'm so, so sorry for the things that I've put you through these 25 - almost 26! - years that we've been together. You've been good to me - and I try to reciprocate - but it's been difficult. You can't help but to be who you are, and yet I've had my issues accepting you and cherishing you the way I should be. I'm sorry and I just wanted to let you know that, from here on out, I will treat you better. So I write to you, my dear, as a way for you to gain an understanding of why my treatment of you has been sub-par and to make clear my intent towards you in the future.

Very early on, I was taught not to like you. You came to me slightly larger than other people's bodies, and as a child I was surrounded by people who told me something was wrong with you because you were bigger. These people influenced me so much that I believed what they said to be true, and began to think something was wrong with you. I resented the fact that I was stuck with you. I fed you to ignore the sadness that came with that resentment - especially as a child - and do you remember how you responded to that? You grew and grew, and scarred in ways I wouldn't have conceived of as a child. Most children's bodies didn't have stretch marks - but they first appeared on my arms when I was very young. Seeing those marks on you didn't help me feel any better about you.

I held on to that resentment of you for many many years, and felt less than others because of you, including the group of people who first told me that something was wrong with you because of your size. Even after I realized that the group of people who put this in my head were just judgmental bitches who had their own issues with their bodies, I held on to my resentment of you. I learned to disregard their opinions of my body - but because their opinion of you had been my opinion of you for so long, it was hard for me to let the opinion go. One thing that was funny - after I began to disregard those people's opinions of you, I began to get feedback about you that was much more positive from other groups of people - men mostly. I met people who actually liked how you looked - and a few who liked you so much that they wanted you for themselves. But their opinions were disregarded too - even those who seemed to like you so much they wanted to make use of you for their own selfish purposes.

I disregarded everyone's opinion of you and held on to my resentment of you stubbornly - except for when I allowed those particular people to make use of you for their own purposes. I allowed it though, because allowing them to use you actually made me feel good about you for the first time - even if that good feeling only lasted for a few minutes, it seemed to be worth it. I was still young then - just starting college - and didn't realize that treating you that way - letting others treat you that way - was a way of abusing you, ultimately. It didn't take me long to realize this though - and I would say that the first time I actually began to appreciate you was when I realized I should be more selective with whom I shared you.

Since that point, I have been learning, slowly, to love you. There was that summer between freshman and sophomore year of college though when I hated you so much! You had gotten so big so quickly! I'd treated you so badly during freshman year, with all the greasy food and drinking - you clearly didn't like it and stretched out bigger than you had ever been at that point. I was disgusted with you and decided to do something about it - remember? So I joined Weight Watchers and watched you slim down as I followed the program. Do you remember that? It was great. I never felt better about you. That feeling though, was short-lived too. I don't think I properly learned to take care of you given the circumstances I was in during my years in college. So I learned, slowly, just how to do that. And during that time, I began to truly appreciate you for the wonder you are.

And you are that, you know. A wonder. I remember clearly the very first time I saw you, on a whole, as this magnificent creature. It was in Jamaica - January 2006 - and I was visiting my sister - just so very happy to be there. I was getting ready to sleep and changing into my night clothes and I caught a glimpse of you unclothed. It was as if I was seeing you for the first time. Simply amazing. I think that was the day I fell in love with you - including your stretch marks, and love handles and all the other things most others would consider undesirable. I loved every bit in that moment and that feeling has never left me. You might think differently based on some of the things you've been subjected to since then - but believe me, I do love you.

It was that year that I think I treated you the worst ever. But my dear, you were the unfortunate and unavoidable scapegoat for the world of stress I lived in during that time. And I learned what can happen when you are neglected. Hair fell out. You gained 10 lbs in the space of a week - 10 lbs that you didn't let go of until this summer. The summer of 2006 I slowly began to treat you better - you didnt get any bigger, your hair grew, your skin cleared. I began to match my treatment of you with my love for you - despite whatever else was going on in my life.

Last year though, I learned of the devastating effect my treatment of you over the years has had. PCOS. It's reversible - but will only be reversed when I treat you better. And despite learning about PCOS I haven't been doing THAT much better in my treatment of you, I know. I'm even back on Weight Watchers and I'm not doing THAT much better. It's hard though - my interest in treating you well competes with school and my job. This past year you have been sick more often than in many years past - and I know it has a lot to do with my poor treatment of you.

And you definitely do not deserve the treatment! I'm writing this to you as a pledge to treat you better. If I continue on the way I have been, PCOS will be the least of my troubles with you. Beyond that - I long for the days when you felt full of life. You and I haven't been together THAT long - we can still feel good together - but my treatment of you has worn you down before your time, I believe. So, from here on out, I will eat and drink more of the things you respond to and digest the best - I will exercise you more and most importantly, I will value you and treat you as my most important possession - because that is exactly what you are. Without you, I wouldn't be able to write this and do all that I want to do in life.

Once again, I apologize for past mistreatment, my dear. But, if you are patient with me, you will see how much things will change for the better.



Tuesday, March 11, 2008

An exercise on reality.

We make things more complicated than they need to be and it's usually the result of our thoughts. I know I am guilty of this - but I strive to break away from it. Recently I've had a number of conversations with friends, acquaintances and the like, about things that wouldn't be so complicated if they just stopped thinking about it - or overthinking - or worrying about whatever it was we discussed. I think I needed to have these conversations because I needed to be shown how I do the same from time to time - and how to do it less.

We all need to "think" in a sense - as I write this, I'm engaging in a thought process - but we, as human beings don't spend enough time just "being" - living in the now, being aware of our presence and reality, and acting accordingly. It gets to the point where our thoughts distract us from our reality - and it is when we reach this point we make things more complicated than they are. You may believe that your thoughts reflect your reality - but not quite. Once you move beyond a point of acknowledgment and understanding of present circumstances, every other thought you think of your situation is a distraction from your reality. It's not always a bad thing to be distracted from present circumstances - you might need the distraction from time to time. It just seems that we live in a constant stream of thought that can carry us away from reality and bring us to places like worry, fear, anxiety, delusion, hubris, sadness, obsession, etc - abstractions of reality. It then takes something or someone to provide a reality check - to bring us "back to earth." And sometimes those reality checks come with unfortunate circumstances.

If you need an example, consider Eliot Spitzer - who has spent his career as Attorney General, and then Governor of New York as a politician who prided himself on eliminating fraud and corruption. The reality is that he was as corrupt as the entities he targeted - and it took a mundane tax inquiry by the IRS to set his reality check in motion. I don't know him (of course) but I'm sure that he was always aware that was he was doing was as salacious as the activities he sought to end - and who couldn't see the hypocrisy in that? But he continued, likely motivated by some stream of thoughts that led him to justify what he was doing (my guess is that he suffers from a deal of hubris) - and in continuing to do so, probably thought he wouldn't get caught. The reality on February 13, and still is now, is that everything we do, even if you are the Governor of New York is traceable, especially in this day and age - ESPECIALLY when it involves monetary transactions and ESPECIALLY(!!) when it involves the account of the Governor of New York. At the point when he decided to withdraw that $2000 from his account for the prostitute's services, was he acting as someone aware of reality?

I think the world would be a better place if we did a little less thinking and a lot more "being" - not mindlessness, but being mindful of our presence in this world, and the reality in which we exist.

(And I intend to write something a bit more creative about this topic - but I needed to work out my thoughts first. Hence the exercise.)

Friday, March 7, 2008


you're a star -
i'm a star -
we're all stars
in the same
we burn brightly
by ourselves -
but we light
the night's sky
only when we're
seen together.

© 2008 Patricia B.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

about my dreams:

i find that as i go along in my life in pursuit of my dreams, there are many days when the going along gets rough. and there are days when the word "rough" doesn't begin to describe how bad it is. it gets so bad that sometimes i wonder if the pursuit is really worth it at all. i think a part of the problem is, for me, that i'm not going after my dream in pursuit of happiness. i'm happy. i'm blessed and i am relatively healthy and God gave me the ability to do great things and i'm already doing great things. i'm content - i have many things that bring me joy. my dreams are not worth pursuing because attaining it will make me so much more happier than i am now - maybe it will, maybe it won't. i pursue my dreams mainly because i believe i was put here for a purpose, and it's my mission to fulfill that purpose. because my dream is not so much one i created but one that was given to me, it's hard for me to justify pursuing my dreams in the typical sense. it's as if it was literally another person that said, "Tricia, this is what you are here to do. So now, go do it." that's not exactly how that happened. i do know i was five or six years old - i was definitely in kindergarten and i may have actually been in kindergarten class when it happened. no one said anything to me and i don't really believe that at that age i even had the wherewithal to consider my life's purpose (even though i was an unusually bright kid.). but, there it was. what i was here to do. it was definitely given to me. and since it's not something i came up with on my own, i've had some issues figuring out how it was going to get done, and whether it's really worth my time at all. i think when you own something, anything, including a dream, it's easy to think about what you will do and won't do with it - because it's yours, either by creation or some other means of ownership. but when something is given to you, especially when you didn't ask for it, it's harder to just know what should be done with it, and if you should even bother to keep it. but i've kept it. even when i tried to throw it away, it always came back to me. and since the age of five or six i've been fortunate to discover just how it was i am to fulfill these purposes - the method too has been something given to me - not exactly something i thought about and made a decision to do. it might seem mindless - and it is mindless. i have not attached a tremendous amount of thought to keeping the dream or to the decision on how it should be pursued. so here i am in the midst of pursuing my dreams - and it's not easy. and i wonder, if my dream was given to me so easily, why is it that i can't pursue the dream as easily? i never told life what i wanted to do, and i never asked life what it wanted from me - life just told me what it was that i had to do without any effort on my part. so why is it that now that i'm actually doing what life wants me to do, life is making it so difficult? what's the point in all this? as i've written this, i've drawn the conclusion that life or whatever it is that gave me the dream isn't what makes things so difficult - it's me. it's me questioning it, it's me doing things that clearly go against the pursuit of the dream, it's my lack of faith that i am doing what i'm supposed to be doing that makes minor complications into huge difficulties. i need to trust, and i need to believe in it and be consistent in the trust and belief. the dream has always been trusting and faithful to me and things will likely get easier once i reciprocate.

© 2008 Patricia B.