Saturday, June 9, 2012

"Dear Body" - A letter of appreciation

Dear Body,

As I'm sure you know, I spent the better part of my life in a love/hate relationship with you.

While you were growing, you were strong, and fearless (except from spiders and cliffs), and you took me to the tops of trees, up mountain trails, and on never-ending bike rides with my friends. You would wake up at 7 am fully alert and energized after a long, restful sleep and be ready to run, jump, climb, swim, sing, dance, bike, create and laugh for hours on end.

When puberty hit, I began to hate you. You made me taller than all the boys I wanted to like me. You made me gawky and thin, and I thought my lips and nose were too big. I would look in the mirror every day, wanting to still not have to care about how I look, or what I wore because I was the same girl inside I'd always been, with all the energy I'd always had...only I couldn't see you for how wonderful you were anymore. Your eyes started to go bad, so I had to get glasses to help them work... they brought with them even more insecurity. Your adult teeth grew in, and they were large and far apart.... bringing even more insecurity.

When puberty was in full force, you were something I hated. You couldn't look like the other girls with curves, and style. You had to be you, trying on a new "hat" everyday. You wore your brothers clothes, and wore green eye shadow, thinking you'd nailed the hottest new makeup trend, only to find you looked like a cartoon character.  But your brain stayed curious, and you learned things better than most kids you knew. Your grades were always phenomenal through to the end of high school and in most of college. You were very accomplished, and teachers loved your work. You even got to speak at your high school graduation ceremony.

Despite all this greatness, I hated you. I couldn't see how beautiful you were, so I only saw awkward in the mirror. I only saw someone who wasn't worth loving in the same way the prettier faces were. At times I'd be angry at myself for hating you. I was tormenting myself internally which caused me to be anxious and you couldn't handle the anxiety so we were sick a lot. I'm sorry I did that to you. I'm sorry I let my dumb ideals for myself get the better of us both. It nearly ruined us. I'll never forget the look on your face, and in your eyes, that day in the mirror when I knew I needed to get help so we could survive. You looked like I had killed you, there was no life in your eyes. I never will be able to shake that memory from our brain. You had tried for so long to fight against the negative feelings I was hurting us with, and when full-blown depression hit, I knew you were running on empty and wouldn't be able to fight me much longer. You were so physically sick and it's because I held you captive and wouldn't allow you to be yourself. We suffered for years for my mistakes. I am so sorry for that.

I want you to know now that I love you. I love that when I finally stopped allowing everyone else to be better than me in my head, and really got help for my problems, that you stopped feeling sick. You were weaker than you'd been in a long time. It took us a long time to heal from my mistakes, there was a lot I had to learn, and let go of so I could learn to be happy with us. But when you ran 2 miles for the first time, I  knew I was letting you thrive. Your legs and lungs and heart were stronger. You gave me the most amazing feeling of accomplishment, and we danced for joy in front of everyone at the gym that night, without any shame. Thank you for that. I also knew that when you gained 15 pounds, you were telling me, "Thank you for loving me enough to keep us healthy so we can finally hold weight on." I love you for your strengths. You can hold pitch when singing, you can go for a run and push through the hills, even if we had to walk part of the way. You are physically beautiful and you carry yourself better. Your skin tone is more healthy, and less gray. You are able to manage a department of employees, and still get all your work done everyday. You are able to choose a new talent to learn and put your mind to it and learn it. You are happy, you laugh, dance, sing, play, climb, run, and I am happy. Together we make a great team.

All of this is because I finally let you shine, instead of wishing you'd change to fit another mold. I realize now there are even more things I can do to help you. I can eat extremely healthy, and drink a lot of water so you can do more physical things without becoming worn out. I can get better sleep so you are more alert and happy each day. You are so strong and resilient. You came back from a bitter sickness when I finally allowed you to thrive. I owe you everything.

I am grateful for you now and will be each and every day of my life. Thank you for being you.

Love,
LB

2 comments:

  1. Love this, Lana--ah, those powerful moments when you catch yourself in the mirror and you see your body, YOURSELF in a way so different to how you always have. WIth compassion. With pity. And eventually with love. I remember one time looking at myself in the mirror on my mission--it was early in the morning and I woke up to use the toilet. In that moment I saw myself as God sees me--I know I did, it was a gift. And it was with such kindness and gentleness and forgiveness--in such stark contrast to how I had ALWAYS seen that face (ie: with bitterness, contempt, perpetual disatisfaction) it reduced me to tears.

    What a proccess. Lana you SHOULD love your body. You have so many voices in the world that have been and continue to tell you that shouldn't or that you can if and when this or that happens. I went running today in the woods along the river. And do you know what the God of Nature told me? Love your body. Always love your body. It will serve you well.

    I am proud of you/inspired by you.

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  2. I really loved this too! laughed and cried all the way through it. Our bodies are such a gift.

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