A Letter to My Body

Suzanne Reisman over at BlogHer challenged women bloggers to write a letter to their bodies for Valentine’s Day. As you know, I was out of town last week, so I’m finally catching up. Here is my installment (read the original post here):

Dear body,

I have to admit I feel sheepish talking to you in such a public forum when neglect has characterized my relationship to you for so, so long. I’ve spent a lot more time raging against those who prefer that women hate their bodies than I have actually paying you any serious attention.

You got me through childhood with nothing more than a few scars and through college, though I abused you thoroughly. I should probably say, as I reflect on those years, that I’m very sorry for what I did to you, for the people who I let touch you, for the chemicals I put into you and on you (especially for that eggplant colored hair dye–so sorry!), for the lack of good food, sleep, adequate water, but it seems a little late for that.

I could ignore those few rough years and instead focus on all the wonderful things we’ve done together. All the tennis, the football, the volleyball, the hiking, the biking, the way you handle the dirt and grime of gardening with grace, the way you always bounce back from our excursions. It hasn’t been all bad after all, has it?

And I feel compelled to say thanks for getting me through two pregnancies–neither might have been exactly what we planned, and each might have taken a different toll on you; a few more scars, more than a few stretch marks, and some special mama sagging all mark you as a vessel that carried two children into this world.

When I look in the mirror at you, I see white hairs, a few wrinkles, the ever-increasing freckles that remind me I ought to use more sunscreen. But I also see laugh lines, my mother’s hands, my father’s funny winking eye, and I know that you are the one thing that is truly my own and that you provide physical reminders of where I’ve been and what I’ve done.

So instead of apologizing, although I know it’s in order, I think I’ll make you a promise in this public space. I promise to do better. I hope, even though my motivations might have been politics or the children or the environment instead your health and happiness, that you are enjoying all that organic, local, and in some cases home-grown food I’ve been feeding you. And you seem to be bouncing back well from the eighteen months you & I spent raw and awake with the Amazing Non-Sleeping Baby in our arms.

As the weather warms, I promise you that I’ll watch what I put into you–less stress, which should also mean less Advil, less food, which should also take a bit of the load off of your feet, more exercise, which, although it will likely continue to help those freckles multiply, will also help keep you running strong for the next thirty-three years of our journey together.

Yours truly,

Me

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