An Open Letter To My Body
I know this post is up a little later than normal, but I saw this style of post over on a different blog (which I can't remember now, sorry!), and I liked the idea so much that I wanted to do my own version of it.
So here it is: an open letter to my body. No filters, no lies, no facades.
* * *
I want to first say that I'm sorry. I'm sorry for every time I saw your reflection in the mirror and hated what I saw, and I'm sorry for letting insecurity ever take away from the beauty that you have.
To my legs, thank you for giving me the ability to run and walk and skip when the sun is shining. A silly boy once made a comment about how your thighs would jiggle if you poked them, and I'm sorry it took me so long to finally realize that that's okay. I never got to a point where I chased the coveted thigh gap that the media praised, but I definitely didn't learn to love you as soon as I should have. To my calves, you were always the part of my legs that I liked the most, because you taught me that muscle is so much more beautiful than having stick-thin legs. Feet, ankles, you both have been through so much abuse from tennis, running, hiking, and more, but you getting me through each step is something I'm so grateful for.
To my stomach, you don't deserve the love/hate relationship you've been given. I've always been a smaller build, but when people tell me growing up that they could fit their hands around my waist (an exaggeration, obviously) and that I'm "so tiny," you'll understand why my expectations to be thin were set so high. Middle school was a point where I was still very skinny, mostly because I hadn't really grown into myself yet. So in high school when I gained a little weight from just growing up and dropping my main sport, that was the point I began to hate you. I was never fat, and you were never a health issue, but for a small while I starved myself just to see if I could make you go away. I'm sorry for that. I've learned now that there is nothing wrong with you, and I hope for the rest of my life I continue to love and accept you, regardless of how you fit societal norms.
To my hands, I have so much awe in the things that you can do. Hold a pen, write a song, or even do complicated braids, there's just no end to what you can do. I always thought you were awkward in pictures, and I could never understand why. Left hand, you've got a strange scar that I may never know the story behind, and right hand, you're only slightly less clumsy than the left. But still I'm amazed by how gentle you can be and also how strong you can be; in a way, I think you echo the rest of me.
To my eyes, I used to wish you were anything but brown. Brown to me was the color of dirt, of mud, of all the things that lie dead on a forest floor. But one day I realized that when the sun hits you just right, you turn into coppery caramel eclipses, and I learned that brown eyes can hold the universe in them the same way blue or green ones can. You're dark and serious and calm, but at the same time you light up when laughter dances its way across my cheeks. Thank you for helping me see things that I may have otherwise missed and for letting me find the things I've lost.
To my smile, you were so free when I was small, and I'm sorry for the times I hid you. You were so little and sweet when I was a little girl, and as I grew older your desperate need for braces was readily apparent. But we got you straightened out, and I never minded those two years of brackets. And then the day came when I got those braces off, and a dear friend of mine offhandedly remarked that you reminded her of Chuck E. Cheese (a mouse mascot whose main feature was his giant teeth). For years after that I covered you with my hand when I laughed, embarrassed by the size of the teeth you would flash in a grin. But one day I realized that there's something special about being able to laugh wholeheartedly without a self-conscious hand coming up to cover you. You're big and bold at times, but also sly and subtle at others, and I promise to never cover you again.
Dear body, you are strong and beautiful and lovely. Every little scar, every tiny freckle, every minuscule thing that maybe isn't completely up to "standards" is perfectly imperfect.
And I'm okay with that.