A Letter to my Body

This is an idea that Tarable passed along to me in a comment.  The idea originally came from BlogHer.  Click the BlogHer link for details.   


Dear Body,

6 months ago I would have started this letter by attacking you for the way you looked and the way you felt. I would have asked you why you felt like you had to torture me so much of the time. I would have told you to get it together and I would have blamed you for all my problems and all my failures. I wouldn’t have taken any responsibility for what I’d done to you or what I’d let Mind do to you. The fault would have landed squarely on your shoulders.

The thing is? I realize now that it was never your fault. The ongoing conflict between you and Mind created a lot of the dissonance that brought about the negative feelings and appearance. Mind has never been nice to you, I realize that now. I realize that I should have stepped in far more often when Mind was picking on you and making you feel so terrible. I realize I let Mind convince me to do things that were just disastrous for you. Every time I let Mind get the upper hand, you felt like I didn’t care about you and that just compounded the situation.

At times when it was necessary for me to protect myself you were willing to take the short end of the stick and do what needed to be done to make sure that I felt safe. Even though we both know that the concept was illogical and not well thought out, you didn’t complain about the situation even though I know that the extra weight you were forced to carry was hurting you terribly.

Regardless of all the pain and fat and illness that I have inflicted on you, when I decided that it was time to start making some changes, you responded with gratitude and the commitment of a winner. It seemed that you were so happy about what was going on that you were willing to make the changes I wanted at a really rapid rate. It’s obvious that you’re still holding on to some resentment about past events but we’ll work through that together. You’re starting to get really good at piping up and explaining what you need and Mind is getting much better at relaying those messages promptly and in a positive manner. You and Mind are finally finding a way to work together for the common purpose and for that I am eternally grateful!

Sometimes when I look at you now I am amazed at how beautiful you are and I feel sick about what I did to you. There are still parts of you that definitely need some extra time and attention to recover from so many years of mistreatment, but overall you are lovely. Your eyes are big and bright and blue, you have amazingly soft skin, you are proportioned nicely and a lovely feminine shape is starting to appear. I’ve realized that what I need to do is help you to be the best that you can be without trying to compare you to anyone else or cram you into a mould.

So Body, given that we are now getting to common ground, we should set out guidelines so that we can refer back to them if we ever start to stray from each other.

THINGS WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE TO AGREE ON

1. We have to exercise. You need the exercise so that you can lose the extra pounds you’re still hanging on to and to maintain your size when all the excess weight is gone. I need the exercise because it makes me feel good to know that I’m doing what is best for you. I promise that on the days when Mind is trying to talk us out of it that I will intervene, if you promise that on those days when you’re just not feeling it that you’ll try a little harder so we can be successful together.

2. We can’t eat garbage. You have certain needs that are fulfilled by healthy, whole foods with little or no processing. You, I’m sure, would be the first to admit that when I give you too much food or not the right kind that you don’t feel well and you don’t really appreciate that. I’ll admit, sometimes Mind can be really persuasive and occasionally it gets the better of me. As you’ve seen, I try really hard to stay in control for both our benefits but I apologize in advance for the instances that get away from me. Most of the time I think I do a pretty good job for us.

3. I know that you don’t like being looked at and you are very uncomfortable with most people getting too close or touching you. We need to work through that though because not everyone is out to hurt you and always having to be aware of who’s around and how close they are is stressful and wears on your nerves. In order to help you out, I will make note of the situation and the people involved and I’ll let you know if you need to get worried. If you can try to trust me, I will do everything in my power to not let anything bad happen to you again. I know that trusting me is the last thing that you probably want to do given past events but we have to move on so you’re going to have to try. OK?

4. I will keep practicing listening to you but you have to understand that sometimes what you think is terrible is, in actuality, not that bad. We cannot keep dropping everything as soon as you feel a little under the weather or uncomfortable. That’s not the way life works and you’re going to have to buck up a little and learn to deal with it. I promise to always make time to let you relax and recover from the stresses of life, but you have to stop shutting down every time things don’t go your way. That is not OK. The more times you cry wolf, the weaker and less in control we look and that is not good for either of us. We’re stronger than that so let’s pull it together!

THINGS WE WILL PROBABLY ALWAYS DISAGREE ON

1. That you are small enough. I know that you’ll tell me when you’ve gotten as small as you’re willing to get. You have to understand that I don’t think I will ever be completely happy with that. It’s human nature to always want what you don’t have and I’m no different. I do promise not to be mean to you about it though, we’ll just agree to disagree and still work together to be the best we can be and to maintain our overall health.

2. That you are pretty enough. I do what I can to make you look as nice as possible (although it has come to my attention that I need to work on that). I know that how you look is how you will always look (give or take) and I accept that. I will never be rude or mean to you about what you look like but you have to understand that, again, I will never be completely happy with it either.

I think that’s about it, Body. We’ve had some rough times over the years but I really feel that through our hard work and committment, we are turning the corner and things should be much better from here on in.  As long as we keep communicating with each other and striving to do only things that are in both of our best interest, we should be just fine!

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5 Comments

  1. Tarable said,

    March 1, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    Bravo!!

  2. Bev said,

    March 2, 2008 at 1:10 am

    Beautiful, just like you.

  3. Marueze said,

    March 2, 2008 at 7:11 am

    Such a well thought out and wonderfully written piece. . . sounds like you worked out alot of territory between yourselves… :)

  4. Leslie said,

    March 4, 2008 at 11:24 am

    I submitted this letter for a similar post on Back in Skinny Jeans, but am reposting here because I think your suggestion to write our bodies a letter is such a good idea:

    Dear Body,

    I want to take a moment to tell you how sorry I am for all of the years I spent hurting you, denying you food or overworking you, or thinking harsh, unforgiving thoughts about the way you look. You truly have done nothing but be good to me, allowing to me to dance, run, write, hug, spin, travel, laugh and much, much more, but there was definitely a time there when I was horrible to you – pointing out flaws and imperfections which, in reality, were simply you being you. I’m sorry, tush, for always turning around and staring at you in mirror, thinking evil thoughts. I have been trying to be kinder to you, welcoming the curvier shape you’ve taken on as of late. And I’m sorry for all the times I made you get on a scale like a piece of meat. You are more than just a number, and shouldn’t be subjected to that kind of public humiliation.

    I want to thank my thighs for propelling me along the Chicago lakefront. Thank you arms, for getting stronger and stronger, to the point where I can now do 10 full push-ups – a longtime goal. In general, thank you for your height – you allow me to not only stand out in a crowd, but to reach things on tall shelves and see over peoples’ heads at concerts and movies. Smile, it was rough there for a few years during the Braces Era, but we survived, and now, you are a trademark.

    Body, I will continue to strive to be gentler on you and more appreciative of all you allow me to do. If you bloat up one day, or develop a bruise, I’ll take it as a sign that maybe I should be drinking some more water or watch where I’m going. I can’t be perfect, but I will try to be better.

    Love,
    Me

  5. April 2, 2014 at 8:01 am

    […] might be time for a new “Dear Body” letter.  I try to write one from time to time.  Here’s one I wrote on March 1, 2008 (6 years, 1 month ago!).  Unfortunately I can’t find any of the […]


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