Thursday, February 21, 2008

A letter to my body

As usual, I'm a day late and a dollar short. But I just couldn't pass up this opportunity to address some issues that have long been neglected. Blogher has asked people what they would say in a letter to their body. This is a project I can sink my teeth into.

Dear Body,

You are my oldest and dearest friend. You have always been there for me from those first hesitant steps to my sure stride of today. Yet I have not proved as faithful.

In my childhood I didn't spare a thought for you. I took you for granted. I ran, played and lived in ignorance of illness beyond the cold or flu. In your strength I was afforded that luxury. As an adult I can see what a true blessing that was.

As I got older I was not pleased when I looked in the mirror. Well, not really true. I was pleased enough with what I saw in the mirror. I was displeased with how you, Body, compared with those of my peers. I thought you were not thin enough. Not really fat - just too big. Your breasts were too big and developed too early. I didn't like being singled out as one of the few girls who wore a bra in 5th grade. Who knew how much of my self-image would be tied to those breasts of yours later in life...

Once I discovered boys and their, er, toys, I reached an uneasy truce with you. By this time I had learned to appreciate your finer physical attributes. But I had never had reason to think beyond looks. Ignorance is bliss. And youth is cocky. I sorely abused you. I am so sorry.

I poisoned you with drugs. At first I didn't think about what it could do to you. Ignorance again. But after years of using and becoming "educated" in the process I knew how bad the drugs were for you. I knew they were made of toxic materials. I worried about your future health even as I looked in the mirror & poisoned you once again. Eventually, I came to my senses and stopped that madness... but at what cost?

Finally, when I got pregnant, I truly began to appreciate you for your many talents. You proved fertile and well-suited to pregnancy. I took great pride in your accomplishments. I loved you and the baby you made! Ugh! But I hated the fat I saw everywhere. I dismayed at every being thin again. I was disgusted by the gigantic engorged breasts! Ridiculously large! Why hadn't I appreciated the normal large they were before?

A few years passed & I felt you had failed me again with a late miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy. I'd lost that earlier pride in your strength and fertility. And then you came through again. You gave me another baby. All was forgiven.

I think this is the time that I really fell in love with you. After working with you so long to get pregnant I finally had a true appreciation for your beauty, your strength, your wondrous capabilities. I had never felt more beautiful in my life. Those pregnancy months were blissful, halcyon days in our relationship. I reveled in your power to create life. Wow! How awesome!

Then I found out you had cancer. Breast cancer. Yet, even then, at your weakest point, you were strong. You fought through the chemo. You had incredible reserves! You barely even got sick. I am in awe of you! Then the radiation in conjunction with more chemo. I weep for the abuse you took. But nothing kept you down. You rock!!!!!

Today you have survived massive reconstructive surgeries, cancer, years of drug use and just plain owner neglect. You look pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. I can't believe how strong you are! I just really want to say, thank you.

Thank you for always being there. For going the extra mile, for standing a little straighter and holding out a little longer. Thank you for my babies. Thank you for your incredible recuperative powers. I promise to never take you for granted again.

Your life partner.

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