Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dear Body . . .


body image

A month or so ago, this amusing little e-card popped up on my Facebook page.   I chuckled in commiseration and continued scrolling through the posts.

But the thought has stuck with me, more true than I would like, and less funny than intended.  That’s what happens when you strike a chord with those of us who have been overweight most of our lives, even though some of that time, “overweight” has just meant “at the high end of the healthy range”.  It’s all about perception.

So, since I couldn’t get the thought out of my brain, I came to the conclusion that I should write about it, and penciled it in for this week.  Then last night I was reading Midnight Musings, and she had a post about a love letter to her body.   Her post is part of a syncroblog/link up over at SheLoves, inviting everyone to write such a letter to their body and share it.   It seemed the perfect way to maybe talk about what’s been on my mind, so I’m going to give it a try. . .

I have been unfair.  I didn’t recognize it at the time, but it’s true.  I’ve put unrealistic expectations on you and never took the time to stop and consider all that you’ve done for me.  In my youth, I was not accepting of you, and I wished—oh, how I wished!—that you could be different.  Different:  smaller, prettier, sexier; what you were was rarely enough. 

And if it wasn’t enough that I diminished you so, I treated you pretty badly, too.  Oh, I never subjected you to drugs and alcohol or anything so dramatic, but lazy days in front of the television, tons of food from a drive-through window, and poor sleeping habits were the norm.  Eventually it caught up with you, as life wore on and we aged, and you became what I already believed you were.  It’s like you finally gave in and accepted what I’d been telling you all those years.  Unfair probably doesn’t begin to cover it.

Recently, I was looking through some old photos, and I came across one of you, from the days when I thought you were fat, and I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I wished immediately that you could be that way now, and regretted that I’d been so dissatisfied then.  I hope that you’ll believe me when I tell you how sorry I am to have made you feel so inadequate.

When I looked at that picture, my first thought was, “I would give anything to look like that again”.  But, the truth is, I wouldn’t really give anything.  I wouldn’t give the one thing it would take: the life that we’ve lived.  I wouldn’t give up the life that you helped me bring into this world—the life that is now a young man.  I wouldn’t give up the years that we’ve had together, you and I, the years that brought me to where I am now.  I wouldn’t go back. 

But, hopefully, you knew that long before I stumbled across that old photograph.  I know that I still don’t treat you as well as I should, but I hope you know that I’ve been trying to do better.  You’ve seen me trying to be more active, and you’ve helped me to get better at that.  And you must’ve noticed that I spend far less time at the drive-through windows now.  All of that is for you.  Because, while it may have taken me a long time, I have realized how unfair I’ve been to you.  I’ve realized that I should never have taken you for granted.

So, even though I wouldn’t go back, I can go forward, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do.  I do know that I’ve been unfair, and I’m glad that you’ve stuck with me long enough for me to realize it on my own.  You didn’t resort to major illness or disease to make sure I got the message.  Through it all, you’ve been much better to me than I’ve ever been to you.  And I’m glad you’re giving me a chance to change.  But, even as I change, and even as I work to take better care of you, I will do my very best to no longer diminish you, to never make you feel as if you are not good enough.  You alone have kept me going this long, have allowed me to live a life for which I am truly grateful.  So, please, accept my apologies for the past, and my promise for the future.  I will not compare you to others; I will not hide you in shame; and I will do all that I can do to make you feel as great as you deserve to feel.

What would you say in a letter to your body?  If you’re so inclined, the topic is open throughout the day, and you can link up with SheLoves here.