I thought it might be time for a new “Dear Body” letter. I try to write one from time to time. Here’s one I wrote on March 1, 2008 (6 years, 1 month ago!). Unfortunately I can’t find any of the ones that I have written since then.
I don’t hate you. But I completely understand if you aren’t the biggest fan of me. I wax you and tan you and pluck you and poke at you. I cut you accidentally from time to time and I sometimes eat things that hurt you. I’ve injured you and crashed you to the ground quasi regularly. I don’t always listen to what you’re asking for and sometimes I’ll hear what you’re saying loud and clear and I completely ignore you. That must feel really disrespectful. I understand disrespect, I’ve had it in my life from people who are supposed to care about me too and it always seems to sting more when it’s from a loved one. I shouldn’t do it to you, I shouldn’t.
I hope you know that I have been trying lately to love you better. You’ve borne the brunt of some difficult times and you’ve always kept going; you get up every morning without fail and embark on another day with me…whether you really want to or not and I appreciate that. Sometimes when I feel as though I can’t get up, you forge ahead and drag me along with you. I booked you a massage on Saturday, I think you’ll really like that. It’s 90 minutes of hot stone and relaxing bodywork and I’m excited to see you enjoy it. I’ve been cutting your hair more regularly and washing makeup off of you before bed and trying to remember to moisturize you and run the massage stick over your sore spots.
Sometimes when I look in the mirror and I’m upset or annoyed that you’ve lost some ground in the last couple years I have to remind myself that I’m not actually looking at you, I’m looking at me. You are the result of things that I do to and with you and there’s no point in being disappointed in you, you had nothing to do with it. Last night I stared at you for a long time in the mirror. I tried to shake some sense into you and I tried to kick your ass. You just stared quietly back, as if to say that any change to be made doesn’t come from you. You probably knew I would eventually figure it out; if I can’t love you as you are, I can’t change you. Change only comes with love, not punishment or abuse. I have to accept the things that I have done regardless of why I did them. I think I’m getting there.
I let you walk me home yesterday; you’ve been trying to tell me that you want more responsibility and that you feel better when I let you take me somewhere or lift heavy things for me. You really like having something to do besides just waiting through a work day with me.
As far as feeding you, I know damn good and well which foods make you feel great and which ones hurt you. You have never been shy about telling me when you didn’t like something and I want you to keep doing that. I know that you don’t like dairy or sugar or grain-based products. I know that you can tolerate a bit of cornstarch to thicken something or a tiny bit of sugar in the fish sauce but that you do not tolerate soy sauce under any circumstances. I know and I’m sorry. As far as treats go, sometimes I feel like I “deserve” to have chocolate or cookies or ice cream but I have been trying to remember that what I get, you get….and just because I deserve the treat doesn’t mean that you deserve the aftermath. I’ll try to figure out a better way.
So no…..my dear, beautiful body, I do not hate you. I love you and your grey hairs and your eye-smile wrinkles. I love that you’ve never given up and that you refuse to quit trying. I love the feeling that goes through you when you lay your face against my sleeping dog or cuddle up against my husband. I love that you give me as many do-overs and second chances as I need and I will continue to work tirelessly to keep you healthy and strong and vital and vibrant and most of all, happy.