A Letter to My Body

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Dear Body,

We've been together for 55 years. 

It hasn't always been easy, and I haven't always been kind to you.

But today, I'm committing to change.

I grew up with a mom who hated her body. She was embarrassed by her saggy boobs. She berated herself for her squishy tummy. She talked about her big thighs. She was constantly looking for a magic solution to eliminate her stretch marks. In one of our last conversations before she died, she lamented her weight and told me she probably needed to go on a diet. She was 85 years old. 

Recently, I had an epiphany about my mom. As I was getting ready for bed, I glanced up and saw You in the full-length mirror hanging on my wall. You were completely naked, but for a split second, I didn't see You at all. I saw my mom! Same saggy boobs. Same squishy tummy. Same big thighs. Same stretch marks. And instantly, a wave of grief washed over me because I miss my mom. I wanted her arms around me, as I leaned into her softness and felt the warmth of an enormous hug. 

That's when I realized I loved my mom exactly as she was. I didn't need her to lose weight. I didn't need her to have a boob job. I didn't need her to look any different. Her body was part of what made her who she was, but it had nothing to do with what made her important to me. I'd give anything to feel her presence just one more day without a single change to her body!

And then the illusion dropped, and I realized she lives on in you. You look like her. You feel like her. And there are many people in my life who don't care one bit about your saggy boobs, squishy tummy, or big thighs. They love us just as we are.

I've had a lot of negative thoughts about you through the years, and many of them were projected onto me by people who hated their own bodies. I learned that you were evil. Angry feelings were to be pushed away. Sexual feelings had to be ignored. Feelings of sadness and grief were signs of weakness. And fear...well, fear was just something we pushed through so we could survive. I didn't realize all of those emotions were designed to convey messages about things that needed attention. So rather than allow myself to feel, I cut myself off from you, built a wall around my heart, and refused to listen to what you were saying. 

Meanwhile, you were always there for me. We loved swinging toward the sky at the park when we were young, running around the bases of a softball field as a teenager, and allowing me to feel romantic love as a young adult. Later on, you carried my children and miraculously brought them into the world. You healed from cancer and endured the most horrific accident. I may have given up on you, but you never gave up on me. I'm so grateful for all the ways you've supported me, even when I wasn't doing much to support you.

Today, I'm saying the things I should have been voicing you all along.

You are not evil.

You are good.

Your feelings are not bad. 

They are the conduit to life.

There is nothing wrong with you. In fact, you are beautiful, inside and out.

And you have incredible power to create and experience life. 

I'm just beginning to figure out this relationship with you. I hope you'll forgive me for the things I've said and done that weren't in your best interest. It has taken five and a half decades to get here, but I want to tear down that wall so I can learn to love you exactly as you are. Be patient with me...it's sure to be a process.

Thank you for sticking with me through good and bad, thick and thin. I couldn't do life without you!




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