Dearest Precious Body,
This is a long overdue letter, and I thank you for patiently waiting. I have so much to say. Where do I even begin?
I’ll start with two simple phrases consisting of a total of four words. Words that carry with it years of pain, suffering, gratitude and admiration: I’m sorry and thank you. Let’s chat.
I would venture to say that it’s quite obvious that we’ve had a long and complicated relationship. As I reflect on this, I realize that for most of our time together, it’s been a one-sided relationship that I’ve had with you. I hated you. I say one-sided because I was so caught up in hating you that I didn’t realize that you never hated me. Through my journey, I have come to know the truth behind the hate.
Why The Hate?
Of course I hated you. This is what I was taught. My mother and older sister were obsessed with dieting. I was shamed and called fat by family members. (This included more than just body shaming.) Naturally, I didn’t feel accepted for who I was. By the age of ten, I developed an eating disorder.
Children generally believe what they are taught, and why shouldn’t they? It’s not until they arrive at the stage of development, the process of forming one’s identity, that they start questioning. In our case, I didn’t go through the regular stages of development, so I’m first doing this work now as an adult. I am at a point in my recovery journey that involves questioning many messages that I received; hating my body is one of them. It’s not simple to undo a belief that was ingrained in my psyche at such a young age, one that I believed for so many years. However, I no longer wish to believe those messages. Intellectually, I don’t believe them anymore, but the emotional process takes time.
What I have learned during this process is that you did nothing wrong and you are not the problem. What I know about you now is that you always were and still are BEAUTIFUL, STRONG, RESILIENT, AND LOVABLE.
You Loved Me Through The Abuse
The truth is we’ve had many chats over the years, whether consciously or subconsciously. You were there listening to it all. Taking in the verbal and physical abuse while continuing to love me and heal. You stood by me despite all of the eating disorder related harm and other forms of self-harm which I did to you. You fought for me and didn’t give up. How incredible is that! To stay resilient and stand by the very person who is hurting you.
I often say that you had faith and trust in me that one day I would come around to loving you. I have come even further to believe that you love me unconditionally. It baffles me. How can I feel so much hate towards something that loves me – the very thing that is keeping me alive?
I’m Sorry and I’m Trying
I want you to know that I am sorry for hating you and continuing to hurt you at times. I wish I can say that I fully love and embrace you. Unfortunately, I am not there yet, but I am definitely closer than I used to be, and nothing can beat the yearning that I feel to be at that place. To let go of all the shame, accept all your perceived imperfections, and treat you with love and respect. Thank you, dear body, for continuing to stand by me as I move through this process. Thank you for being the vehicle that takes me through this life.
With love and admiration,
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- Letter to my Body - January 28, 2022