The Body, A Complicated Relationship

For decades, I’ve had a love-hate, okay mostly hate, relationship with my body. I believe the day I became conscious of my body was my first day of sixth grade. I walked into the kitchen wearing my mom’s creation of two-zippered pants and hippie flower top. She appraised me and said, “You look skinny.” It was the first compliment I remember getting from her.

When I started my senior year in high school, I decided to starve myself. It wasn’t a conscious decision; it was one made for me by being the oldest child/daughter of an alcoholic father and a family history of anxiety and depression, and a penchant for perfectionism and control. 

My routine became waking at 4 AM and in the dark making a bowl of thick Cream of Wheat with raisins and brown sugar, eating two tangerines for lunch, carrots for snacks, and skipping dinner. I ran three miles a day. I was proud I had whittled myself down from 132 to 103 pounds. While my eating disorder was at its best/worst at this time, I struggled with disordered eating for decades.

I’m not alone.  We are not alone.  Almost 90% of US women are dissatisfied with their bodies and want to lose weight. The size of our clothes determines our identity.  Fuck weight and size.  I wrote a love letter to my body to honor all of its/my/our accomplishments.  

Dear Body, Thank You. 

I know you’ve taken a lot of abuse. I have treated you like the enemy. I’ve hated you for growing breasts, rounded hips, and a soft belly. I’ve starved you into submission where I could count my ribs, have a hollow stomach, and stop having a period.

I’m sorry. I love you. You grew three healthy human beings. You allowed me to breastfeed and keep up with them. We’ve danced, done CrossFit, surfed, hugged, walked, slept, hiked, jumped, cheered, swam, and gave high fives. We got a PhD at the age of 52. How many could do that? We have loved and been loved.

I’m not going to lie to you; menopause has done nothing for the bod—sagging breasts, back fat, and mottled and lined skin. But I’m thankful for my body, my journey, the woman I’ve become.

Love, Me