I think we’ve been getting along quite well, don’t cha think? Sure, I wake up in the mirror sometimes and ask why aren’t you smaller yet…but let’s just chalk that up to “that” time of the month. Body, since being at home I’ve recognized that I owe you a GRAND apology. You see…I grew up hating you, dreading you, re-making you because…you were never accepted.
In fact, I don’t remember a single time in your life that you’ve been “small.” Sure, you got down to a size 14, but even then body…I wasn’t pleased. I looked in the mirror and still saw about 260 pounds staring back at me, despite weighing 190. Body dysmorphia. Isn’t that what they call it body? Is that what I should label it when I unconsciously reach for the bigger things. A warped vision I’ve been conditioned to have after always hearing “Watch what you eat.” Being at home, body, I realize the relationship you’ve had with your family-never belonging, never finding clothes, always moving…incommodiously.
Walking. Body, that’s all you ever heard from Nana and Auntie. Nana even woke up at 6am some mornings…I think that was in elementary or middle school, body…to do the little workout videos. What were they called? Ahhh- “Gilad’s Bodies in Motion.” I wonder where Mr. Gilad is now. Anyway, body, our environment determined our fate before I could ever learn to love you. “Don’t eat this”, “Why are you eating that?”, “You’re beautiful….BUT… you need to lose weight…for your health”, “You’re a big girl….BUT…you’re beautiful”, “You’re a big girl…BUT you’re fast…you’re fit….you’re this…you’re that.” You’re beautiful BUT….
Perhaps after hearing and perceiving that so much…that’s always how I’ve been looking at you, body. “You’re beautiful, BUT….”
So, no more, body. It’s taken me (almost) twenty-three years to piece together the pieces as to why we’ve had such a rocky relationship. Smiling in the mirror to make sure my face is pretty, to draw away from my “unruly” body. I’m sorry. Waking up to ensure I had time to make up a full face, so I could stay….pretty. I guess, body, all I ever wanted…was someone to accept us as we were…WITH this body. No “beautiful…. BUT”s.
Body, I’m sorry. I never loved you unconditionally. I’m sorry I sought that love in the wrong places, when it all should’ve began with me. Ultimately, I destroyed you. I allowed fake love to enter you. I destroyed your self-esteem. For all the men I thought that “loved” you…I’m sorry. Because they abused you, misused you, bruised you…then left you. And you didn’t deserve any of it. Body, I’m finally seeing…you never did. All you deserve…is everything.
So, let’s do it girl. It’s been an “adjustment” being back around the discomforting walls of my grandmother’s home of “tracking calories” and “walking”. The “lets go walking” as she still looks at me when old clothes don’t fit as if…something is STILL…wrong with me. Body, maybe I’m being sensitive. So, be it. But, I know one thing. I’m done…letting people try to tell me…how to take care of you…and how to take care of me.
Body, I love you. I hope this second letter is now proof…that girl, I wanna do right by you. I wanna smile at you, rub you, caress you, and never deny you any calories when you want them (like the cheesecake last night). I want to workout and feed you the things that make you feel good…not to lose weight, not to “stunt” on my ex’s…Nah, body…I want to love on you. I want to lift weights, run, hike, and do…all the things in this body that the world would think IMPOSSIBLE. I’m going to take care of you…and get in the best shape of my life. And have fun..and smile…and be happy while doing it. I won’t…fold on you. So, body, please…don’t fold on me.
I’ve read too many things, body, about black people. About our health disparities. Obesity. Stroke. High Blood Pressure. Diabetes. It’s almost as if from the day black bodies are born…we automatically become…superannuated. Worn down. Beat up. Battered. Stressed. Unhealthy. Body, please…don’t you ever do this to me. When you need help…you need rest…you need activity…you need cleansing…you need peace…PLEASE just tell me…and I got you.
It’s me and you, against the world. It’s me and you, and together? We are RADICAL BEAUTIES, girl. It’s me and you….forever. And I love you. I’m sorry again….that it’s taken me all this time to seek and reach healing.
You’re a goddess, body. Absolutely divine in every curve, crease, muscle, fat, mole, and grin. Let’s show the world, body, what kind of team we can be. Let’s show the world…that as the bumps of life take our weight up and down…and up and down…and up and down again…let’s show the world how to be beautiful, how to be at peace, and most importantly…how to be happy.