Can we talk? I need to tell you some things.
I know my relationship to you has been super on-again, off-again. I know I’ve given you a lot of mixed messages through the years. I know that I’ve hurt you.
I’m not going to say I feel guilty for what I did to you. I’m not carrying around shame anymore. What happened, had to happen, and I can see that now.
But I am sorry, and there is a sadness I carry with me - for not seeing your beauty. For not taking care of you the way you deserved to be taken care of. For not adoring you sooner.
The truth is, I couldn’t love you back then. I wasn’t ready for you. Actually, you scared me.
I saw that you looked different than the bodies in the movies and magazines. And in my mind, it meant that the only bodies that deserved to be seen and appreciated looked nothing like you. And that scared me, because I wanted to be seen and appreciated too.
So I tried to change you, body. I didn’t believe it was possible to love you just as you were. I thought that the only way I could love you is if you looked like them. So I tried to become like them.
I saw you shrink, and I heard all the praise start flowing in. And then I would look in the mirror, and think I was supposed to love you more than I ever had. But in truth, I hated you more than I ever had. And that scared me.
You were so tired, then. Looking back now, I know you were screaming at me - trying to get me to listen. But I was young, and stubborn, and afraid. I tried to shut you up. I tried to ignore and silence you. I didn’t want to listen to you, because I was afraid of what I might hear. But even then, body – you didn’t give up on me.
I remember thinking one day, “what if my body just wants to be my friend?” I started wondering what it might feel like to listen to you, to get to know you, to let you be who you want to be. I started wondering what it might feel like to love you, body. So I tried, even though it scared me.
I saw you start to expand. I saw the marks you created as you outgrew your skin. I saw what once used to be smooth and angular become textured with divots, folds, bumps, and curves. You became a lush and diverse landscape; an ecosystem all your own. You felt like foreign territory. You were a land I was afraid to explore.
But you, body, you were still there for me. While I was tiptoeing around the edge of your gardens, you stood there with your hand extended.
I remember when I finally took your hand. I half expected you to wrench my arm, twist me into the ground, and have me plead for mercy after what I did to you. But you didn’t. You took my hand gently, and you smiled and said “I’ve been waiting for you! Come with me – I have so many things to show you!” And you turned and led me into heaven.
There have been times where you bring me to a cavern, or to a high mountain, and the fear returns. I’ve stopped in my tracks, I’ve let go of your hand, I’ve turned around and run away from you. But I keep returning. Body, I’ve started to fall in love with you.
You’ve showed me how luscious your softness feels. How pleasurable it is to run my hands over your hills and valleys. You’ve showed me how the stripes on your skin are tattoos of your own making, telling your story. You’ve taught me how the textures of your skin allow you to leave your own print on the Earth. You’ve shown me that your land is different than any other land that has ever existed – and how incredibly special - how beautiful - that is.
I think the only way I can end this letter is by saying thank you. I could tell you “I’m sorry” until I am blue in the face, but that’s not really what you want, is it? I think I see now that all you’ve ever really wanted is for me to love you. It took me a long, long time to begin to love you. Thank you for waiting.
From: Neva - @ditch__the__diet