An apology letter and a love letter to my body

Dear Body,

This letter is long overdue. I am writing to say that I am sorry. I am sorry for saying and thinking many mean things about you for so many years. I’m sorry for the hostility I felt when you grew faster than the other kids my age. I know you were doing what you were designed to do but all I wanted was to be small enough to hide. My height prevented me from avoiding the attention; attention from other kids, from grown-ups and from strange men on the street.

I’m sorry that I restricted you. I tried to control you by not giving you enough food because this gave me a sense of power and the possibility that if I restricted you enough, someone would notice that I too had big emotions. I look at pictures of you at 13 years old and I can’t believe I was at war with you. I cursed my long legs that were the topic of middle-school teasing and made me taller than all the boys. I battled with my hair that was transitioning from straight to curly thanks to puberty and did not look like the girls in Seventeen Magazine. And I hated my hips, who were ready to express my femininity but made it impossible to buy jeans meant for girls my age.

Body, I am sorry I pushed you. I pushed you to run miles and miles; teetering between the line of healthy and obsession. As I was the only one who could make my legs run faster and farther, running satisfied my desire to be in control. I am especially sorry for pushing you to exercise when I did not give you enough sustenance to do so; getting high off of the light-headed feeling because I knew it meant I had won some internal fight between my body and my mind.

I am sorry because now I am finally so appreciative of you. Thank you for growing these long legs which carried me the miles needed to reach my goals, which have ran after my kids who like to run away from me and now give me the strength needed to squat to pick up another heavy laundry basket. Thank you for having the innate knowledge and wisdom to grow 2 healthy babies. The first pregnancy started out as a continuation of our prior relationship until I fully learned to surrender to you and my baby. Now you were in charge and my job was to trust you and leave my restrictions and rules out of it. Thank you for giving me that opportunity to learn to trust you.

And how do I start thanking you for giving birth to my sweet babies. Thank you for teaching me that meeting intensity with softness is where I would find my deepest power and peace. Our relationship has been healed by our pregnancy and birth experiences because for the first time, I learned to see you with love and appreciation. Sure, there have been some bumps in the road; like when you stopped producing milk before my babies were done nursing or when we lost a pregnancy which wasn’t planned to begin with; but in each bumpy experience there has also been a chance to deepen my relationship with you as I worked my way through grief, disappointment and acceptance.

Body, I am excited to see where our journey takes us next. Now that I am reconnected to your strength and feel fully recovered from pregnancy and birth, I am ready to listen to you; to get to know you again; and to fully reclaim you as my own. After being stretched, torn and stitched; after being deprived and pushed; after you continue to give to the needs of my kids and my husband; it is now time to listen to what you need. How do you want to move? How do you want to exercise? How do you want to take up space in this world that needs more women to take up more space? It’s time that I let you lead the way because I know you have a lot to say if I can be still enough to listen. I’m here to follow your lead so I can show up more fully for myself, my family and my community.

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