Open Letter to My Body
We don’t take the time to thank ourselves for the little things we do. We gauge our self-worth against our accomplishments of the day. Did we get to work early or drag ourselves to 95 degree yoga after a long day? Did we finally get to write that article we said we were going to write 3 days ago?
We never take the time to thank our bodies for doing what they do. Waking us up in the morning, carrying us upstairs, or remembering to breathe for us.
Before I continue this letter, I want to thank you for the little things. Thanks for not allowing my eyesight to be as bad as it could be. Thank you for helping me remember to breathe, whether I’m about to pass out from exhaustion in hot vinyasa yoga, or I’m on the brink of an anxiety attack on a crowded NY train. Thank you for helping me be sharp even when I smoke a bit too much. Thank you for keeping my heart beating in my chest. I don’t show my appreciation for you enough.
I’ve never celebrated you. It might be too late to start now, but I will.
I promise I’ll go to sleep earlier, so I can wake up refreshed. I will try not to stress, and I will fill my body with better food. I will move, even if that means that I’ll be sore for the following 3 days. I will stop working when I’m tired. I will drink more water. I will be better to you.
I have allowed people to dictate how I felt about you my entire life. I have endured my grandmother’s voice telling me to “suck my stomach in” during pictures at a mere 9 years old, before you’d had a chance to finish developing. I’ve had conversations with my father, who happened to be a personal trainer, about meal regulation. This was a conversation that was never had with my younger, more athletic, sisters. I would position myself in the back of group pictures so people could only see my “pretty face,” an observation that everyone so confidently assured me was a compliment. I spent a lot of time hating you, an emotion that was never even extended to people who have treated me like sh*t. Sometimes, I cry for the young girl I once knew. I would never tolerate my sister thinking this way about herself. I would never allow her to think she wasn’t the most beautiful girl in the world. I wish I had been that older sister to myself.
I have walked past mirrors and looked away. I have kept my shirt on during sex because I didn’t know if my partner would like you. I have hidden and been the quiet girl because I didn’t want any attention drawn to me. I felt this strange sense of happiness when people would imply that I wasn’t sloppy, as if that was some sort of accomplishment while being fat.
Sometimes still, I wake up and don’t like you. Other times, I look in the mirror before stepping into the shower and see soft curves and wonder if anyone has ever loved the dip in my waist as much as I do right now. Sometimes, my skin looks so flawless that I throw some moisturizer on and step into the world. It’s a long process, you know. I don’t know that I will ever be 100 percent in love with you, but who really loves their body 100 percent? This is my journey. And with each day, I get steps closer to a more secure and confident self.
For right now, the most I can do is heal my spirit. And say thank you.