It’s with deep regret that I openly confess: I don’t like you. For that I endlessly apologize as I know I should, in all actuality, be your biggest fan.
I’m sorry I haven’t always been in control of you, as I know you’re well aware. Theblurred vision and the swayed steps; they were the warnings you gave that I fervently ignored. In an attempt to feel more comfortable with you I’ve put us in some questionable situations with questionable people that left you feeling dirty and me feeling guilty.
I’m sorry I pull and pinch and suck-in while facing a mirror, which I can only imagine makes you feel less than appreciated. I curse your thighs and wish away your stomach and hide your arms for reasons only my jaded synapses can understand. I’m constantly criticizing you, forgetting that you’re the reason I can wake up or walk around or even type these very words.
I’m sorry I kept food from you, thinking your pained aches and endless growls were the signs of vanishing pounds. I ignored your cries and neglected your needs, focusing instead on a powerful yet fictitious voice that urged me to abstain for one more hour.
And then one more hour after that.
And then one more hour after that.
I’m sorry I forced you to spend time kneeled in front of a toilet, your fingers deep in your throat. I know you hated how blood would rush to your ears and your eyes would callously bulge and your face would unapologetically balloon. As soon as I gave you what you needed I took it away, like a manipulative lover hellbent on playing ruthless games.
I try to remember that we’re allies in this ongoing war on acceptance. I tell myself that your curves and scars, even thebirth mark high on your right thigh, are where they’re supposed to be. That they tell a story completely exclusive to us.
I try to remember that you’ve done some remarkable things, like bungee jumped off a 250 foot bridge and survived basketball practices that (I swear) would destroy most humans and, perhaps the most amazing of all: produced life. You’ve carried a pair of lungs and a beating heart, stretching and gaining and fatiguing in the name of sustainability.
I try to remember that your inability to carry two babies, instead of one, isn’t your fault. I’m sorry I blamed you. I’m sorry I sometimes still blame you. I promise I’ll urge myself to think with your brain instead of your heart. Perhaps that will help us both.
Because you are incredible, and capable of more than I realize.
So, I’m attempting to be healthy so that you can be too. I’m taking you on runs and stretching you with yoga and even striving to actually believe the compliments you receive.
Although that last one, to be honest, will take some time.
I’m no longer losing control of you. In fact, we’re probably in tune with one another for the first time in either one of our lives. It’s nice, isn’t it? To finally feel each other. It’s nice.
I’m giving you food instead of starving you, although I’m sure I owe your tongue an apology for the meals that are, at times, less than appealing.
I’m keeping you away from the front of the toilet which, we can both admit, is a pleasant change. No more hiding the sounds of shameful regurgitation or wiping the remnants of necessity off your chin. And that lingering smell. I know you’re happy that’s gone.
You see, the truth is, body, I’m not the only one that relies on you anymore. There’s someone else, someone really small, who needs us both. I know I swore we wouldn’t find ourselves in a situation where a tiny human relied solely on us but we’re here, and there’s no denying that he does.
I’m sorry I still don’t like you.
But, for him, I’m trying to.
So be patient with me, body. Eventually, maybe, we can learn to be great friends. Because honestly, now, we have to be.
When Danielle is not busing loving her body, she writes for ThoughtCatalog, or her blog atwentysomethingnothing.blogspot.com and her twitter @DCampoamor.
Isabelle Masado writes about body compassion on her blog "The Dear Body Project". She knows all too well that the personal is the political, is the community. As such, there is no discussing body compassion without talking about the assault on black bodies, trans women, and people with disabilities. Her mantra is, "How can I live in a way that makes room for you too"? She writes to examine, to heal, to redeem.