Dear Body, forgive me.
Our beginning was my favorite. We’d go on adventures through the neighborhood, challenge ourselves by climbing on anything that gave us a better view from the top, jump in puddles, and step in mud barefoot just to feel it slither between our toes. We were driven by texture. The way grass sometimes made us itchy, by the roughness of rocks that sometimes skinned our knees, and how water hugged us tight as we navigated from one side of the pool to the other. It was a time where I feared nothing and you benefited by my activity. Occasionally you became collateral damage to my curiosity but it made us a stronger team to get back up together.
It was in my teens when you began to take a new shape. You shifted from an even stick figure to an alien creature form. Your hair grew thicker and fuller atop our head. You formed breasts, these weird bubbles of fat hanging in front of us. Your ass and hips started to stick out without any warning! When we would walk around corners I’d accidentally knock you into the wall because I didn’t know how to gauge your new width. It was a learning experience for both of us.
Your legs, oh your legs! We danced on our toes, twirled, leaped, and landed with grace. We swam long distances and treaded water in deep pools as we trained young swimmers that water could only scare us, if we didn’t learn to work with it. Running lines on the gym floor as we shaped our quads to give us the height to cover the net for volleyball. Your legs took to these sports and became an expert. We trained for hours in the day to strengthen our whole self but the piece of you that strengthened the best were your legs. Ankles trim with caved achilles, solid calves that took shape with every flex, and quads with smooth curves just above your knees that remained firm as they trailed to your hips. Yes, I may not have known how to walk in your new form without stumbling but your legs kept us strong.
Today, I ask for your forgiveness for the way I treated you in my late teens and early twenties. It’s no excuse, but I was withdrawn and self loathing then. I believed things that were said about me that were in no way true but sadly, I believed them.
I was told that I was lucky to be loved by anyone, so I should accept what I had because I wasn’t capable of anything greater than what had taken me in. I was told that I belonged in few places and school wasn’t one of them. I was reminded often that I was filling out and my muscles were losing their definition. I was told that my face was getting harder to look at. These words, they cut deep.
I may have gotten out of that relationship but I also walked away from us. I became smaller on the inside and hid in the layers I added to you. When I would hear music, I could feel your desire to take the shape of the beat but never let you move. I would stuff processed meals, fast food, or anything inside of you. I could feel you ache and yet I continued. I didn’t want to be seen and I wore you like a frumpy coat.
An apology means nothing without action. When a song comes on, I’ll let our hips lead the way. Nutrition, flavor, or curiosity will be our guides to what goes in our mouth. We’ll practice activities that nourish our head, heart, and body. We will decide our physical limits and do what feels good for us.
I can’t honestly say that those words haven’t left scars but I can say that I’m wise enough to challenge them if they try to reopen. You carry me as I do you. Together we will be strong again.
Please forgive me.