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.




Jean said...

You went in, huh? =D
Keep up the good work..


M dot said...

why do i feel as if i'm invading a very personal and private space? maybe because i am... but you invited me, so...

you have inspired in me the curiosity to wonder what would my letter be like...

i'm too afraid to find out. thank you for your strength.

m dot

Natassa said...

wow trish! i'm so proud of you for this.