A Letter to My Body

Dear body, 

First of all, I am terribly sorry for the way I have treated you throughout the years. We have been together for 20 years now, and, needless to say, you have been there for me far more than I have been there for you. From my first moment here, you were there to welcome me. You struggled to keep me alive as my lungs fought for breath, not yet fully developed and unable to function on their own. When a candle landed on my head when I was 3 and split it open, you remained calm, fighting to close the wound. When I developed an ulcer at age 12, your only concern was healing me and making sure I was okay. You have kept me alive through every health concern that was thrown our way (and trust me, there was a lot). And in return? I have done nothing but take you for granted. 

So, I am here to say I’m sorry. I am sorry for every cut and every pinch that was inflicted on you. I am sorry that, while you shaped yourself, I threw harsh words your way. I am sorry that I hated every pimple that raised on your skin and every stretchmark you allowed to show as you grew. I am sorry for cursing the fat that you grew to keep me warm. I am sorry that I compared you so harshly to others when it was not your job to look like them. 

I now realize how beautiful you are even if you don’t fit the stereotypical “perfect.” 

Image Courtesy: Hanna Postova

 

I want to thank you for a lot of things. It took me a long time to realize what I love about you. 

Thank you for my soft and healthy hair, despite the fact I bleached and dyed it so many times it suffered for a few years. Thank you for my big green eyes that hold so much emotion in them; even if they don’t work properly, they’re my favorite thing about myself. Even though my mom had to pay a lot of money to get these teeth straight, thank you for giving me a beautiful smile. I hated my arms for a long time, to the point where I would cover them with sleeves, even in the middle of summer. Thank you for these arms that give the tightest hugs, the ones that I can hold my sister with. Thank you for my soft, nurturing hands. Thank you for my stomach. I hated it for so long. I hated its flabbiness, the fat that grew around it once I came to college. It’s not what it used to be, and I don’t know if it ever will be again, but it’s there to keep me warm and protect my inner organs – besides, my girlfriend finds it adorable. Thank you for my hips that carry my weight. Thank you for my legs. I was once told I was 70% legs, and while they may be scarred and pale and too thick for my favorite pants now, they have carried me so many places and have kept me standing tall. 

And lastly, thank you for my heart. It is a heart that loves so strongly and feels everything so deeply, and for that, I am so thankful. 

You have been my home for the last 20 years, and you will be my home for many more. I hope you can forgive all the negative things I have said and done to you. Please understand that it wasn’t me who was born hating you – society told me I had to. I lost you a long time ago, but now I’m taking you back. From now on, I will treasure you. I will trust you. And, above all, I will love you. 

Love,

Jaelynn