An Apology to My Body

This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for the past couple of months. I’ve been waiting for the right time to finish it and coincidentally, I finally found the time to because I’m recovering from my recent car accident. Oh, the irony.

I’ve been told that the accident, which was a result of falling asleep while driving, was a wake up call. In a literal sense, sure, I agree. No doubt about that. In a figurative sense, however, it took me a while (I even argued against it with an old friend) to realize that I’ve been unkind to my body. I have been for a while now.

For as long as I can remember, I treated sleep as an unnecessary body function — which is Irresponsible (yes, with a capital I) for someone who went through a pre-med psych curriculum. I know (more than most people) precisely how the body is designed to get healthy amounts of sleep: how we have receptors in place to tell us when to get shuteye, how chemicals are released in the body to facilitate this, how the body housekeeps down to the cellular level, etc. I’ve been Irresponsible with this knowledge because I used it to get more out of all-nighters, to hack my way out of feeling sleepy, to cut my bedtime in half, and to trick my body clock.

On top of that, I sometimes forget to eat. And when I do eat, it’s mostly junk: crackers, cheese, lots of carbs, chips, chocolates, etc. My diet is inconsistent and definitely unbalanced… and then I wonder why I feel so tired all the time.

I justified this unhealthy lifestyle to myself the way the student-athlete meme would: “the Grind 🏋️‍♀️🏅 is a LIFESTYLE 😂 never stop 🙅❌ dreaming ⭐️ KEEP HUSTLIN’ 💯💪💦”. Except student-athletes actually take care of their bodies — I don’t.

And so I’m sorry, body, for not taking care of you enough. For pushing you farther than where you can go. For being frustrated with you because you can’t keep up with the pace I want my life to go. For not giving you any breaks (not even on weekends). For thinking that I am superhuman, that I can do just about anything without any consequences. For ignoring the warning signs: on-and-off fevers, body aches, the occasional flu. For believing that for as long as my will to keep hustling is strong, my body will remain as strong.

I forgot that my entire being is shelled in this physical form, that I lose the only life I have if I lose the only body I have. I’m sorry that I’ve been so careless with you. I hold my dreams too close to my heart without realizing that I’d have nothing to hold with, nothing to dream with, and nothing to keep close to if I don’t learn how to be kind to my own body.

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