Over at BlogHer, they have this interesting new collaborative project where women write letters to their bodies. I encourage you to check it out and join in! (And if you do, please post the link to your letter in the comments below, as I’d like to read them!) You can even win a trip to BlogHer 08 if that’s your thing.
Here’s mine. It’s a little more personal than I’ve gotten in such a public forum, and so I feel a tad naked, but that’s what this is all about, isn’t it?
You are strong. You have grown and birthed two healthy and amazing people. You have fed them and nourished them for going on six years now, collectively. You give me energy to run after them, take them places. Your arms cuddle them, hold them. Your lips kiss boo-boos, give zerberts on bellies, and tell them how loved they are.
You treat me well, too. Your legs have carried me miles, your eyes guide me, your heart beats steadily, and your lungs nourish me with fresh air (or as much of that as is available near the city).
Yet, I don’t always return the favor. Why? Why is it so hard to keep treating you well? I do a good job on a regular basis, keeping healthy foods at home and avoiding toxic ones. But the days are long and busy and all too often I find myself too tired to cook you a healthy dinner. And finding time to exercise is difficult. Well, no, lets be honest. Finding the will to exercise is far more difficult than finding time.
It’s time to love you for what you are, to love you for what you look like, even. I am fat. And that does not make me less of a person or a woman, although that is the idea I have deep in my mind. It is not a judgment call on who I am as a person. It does not represent my personality in any way. I am fat and that is morally OK. I am trying to see the beauty in it. (Lately, as I look in the mirror before we leave the house, I hear a voice in my head telling me I look fat – I smile and remind myself inwardly that it’s only because I am! It’s a funny way to learn to love oneself, but it’s not a negative thing at all. Acceptance is the beginning of love, in this case.) And I will be honest: it’s a long road, and I’m really only beginning the journey. Bear with me as I learn not to hate you anymore.
I was prepared for your stretch marks, your breasts were never perky to begin with… I’ll admit, though, that all that extra skin threw me for a loop. It is not a body image that is worshiped, or even respected, here in our current culture. But it is a body image that should be revered as Goddesses past. For without it, the human race would cease.
I choose to see your stretch marks not as battle wounds, because pregnancy was not a battle, but instead, as badges of courage, strength, wisdom, love, nurturing, the fullness of life. And they are beautiful because of what they represent. Each scar on you, Body, tells a bit of my story. The one on your forehead shows where I fell and got stitches when I was two. The one on your wrist shows where I had a ganglian cyst removed nearly ten years ago. The ones on your thighs show where I grew into a woman. The ones on your belly (and calves! and arms! and sides!) show where my babies grew so quickly and healthy. Body, you are a book, and this is your story. Who I am I to deny who we are?