When did all this begin? We've been at odds for as long as I can remember. I started resenting you when I was six years old and someone called me fat. I wasn't, but it didn't matter. I had a creeping suspicion that you weren't good enough, and one day I decided to try and change you. I decided to stop listening to you, to stop caring how you felt or what you wanted, to ignore your pleas and criticize you for not being perfect.
I've spent so much time and energy trying to figure out how to trick you, bribe you, coerce you and shame you into being different. Sometimes you resisted and sometimes you complied, but it was never good enough and I always demanded more from you. And there were times, when you failed me, that I hated you.
I know I've been ignoring your needs. I've starved you. You asked me for food but I said you didn't need it. I've exhausted you, and kept you awake when you asked for sleep. I've exercised you until your lungs burned and your legs ached, waiting for the treadmill to tell me I'd burned enough calories. And instead of being grateful for the fact that you could move, I was only ashamed that your hips were too big.
Our relationship up until this point has been... dysfunctional, at best. The trouble is I can't disown you, I can't trade you in, and I can't divorce you. We're stuck for life, you and I.
So today I'm going to try something new. I'm going to try and respect you. I don't know why it never occurred to me before that I should respect you. You just seemed so inferior, so non-compliant, so undeserving.
Well, I was wrong.
You are a hero. You kept my heart beating and my lungs breathing even when I wasn't feeding you enough. You put up with diet after diet after diet, doing your best to maintain as much metabolic function as possible even when I wasn't giving you what you needed.
You walked me down the aisle on the happiest day of my life. You carried and gave birth to two awesome kids. You hiked me through the woods to waterfalls and mountain overlooks that only a handful of people have ever seen. You watched sunsets, heard the wind rushing through the trees, felt the waves of the ocean. You are amazing.
And from now on, I'm going to listen to you. When you ask for food, I'm going to feed you what you need. When you tell me you're tired, I will rest. When you want to move, we'll do something that brings us both energy and vitality. And when you need a break, I'll give you one.
I don't care what you weigh. I don't care what your pant size is. I don't care if you have scars and stretch marks and pimples. You still deserve to be respected.
Dear Body, as far as I'm concerned, you're pretty cool and I'm glad I'm stuck with you. Thanks for putting up with all the garbage I've put you through. You deserve better and that's what you're going to get from now on.
This post is part of Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday.