A Letter To My Body
by Karla ° Thursday, February 21, 2008
Dear Body,

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

A few years ago, this letter would have finished here, an abrupt end to the tale of our love-hate relationship where feelings of complacency and acceptance are lost beneath the surmounting mass of critical disapproval.

Growing up, I always felt short changed. You gave me small breasts and a pimple prone face, and no amount of pressed powder could control the oil slick that was our skin. And then, as if the perpetual skipping of meals and smoking of cigarettes to stay thin wasn’t enough, there were the college years of sleep deprivation and alcohol-induced partying pounding a silent hammer against our strained and weary organs.

For quite some time, even as a grown woman, we held mutually exclusive agendas. You never asked much of me, and I yet I demanded so much from you. You remained silent while I complained how clothes never flattered or hugged our curves properly, you bit your tongue when stylish shoes pinched and made our feet ache, and you are completely indifferent to the fact that there is no such thing as a foundation capable of giving us a creamy complexion like the ones featured on every other page in the magazines.

It wasn’t until I became pregnant for the first time that I realized what a truly magnificent life vessel you are, dear Body. It still boggles my mind to know that life begins inside of us as nothing more than a puzzle of cells furiously multiplying and dividing under the mysterious guidance of nature’s most intricate blueprint, and I cannot think of a single more miraculous event than a woman’s privilege to be with child.

Together, we have conceived three children, one of which died silently in my arms, another of which was lost to the sadness of a miscarriage and finally, my son, a beacon on the horizon of hope. Those first two loses were heavy, dear Body, and they made me question you, even blame you sometimes, and it was not easy to forgive you. To forgive us.

But persevere we did, and backed by an iron will and grief-fuelled resiliency, we set out on a mission to run 10km together in memory our first born. Completing that run made us feel vibrantly alive, didn’t it? The precious memories of my daughter inspired me to push the limits of our strength and it awoke in me an inner vitality that I never knew I had. I felt empowered and unconquerable knowing that the boundaries of the human spirit are endless.

And irony of all ironies, the very same mammaries that I continuously chastised in the past for their lack of shirt-popping cleavage suddenly rivalled the brilliance of the world’s greatest scientists in their ability to produce the most perfect food for my child.

Dear Body, we may not always work together in harmonious synergy, and our feet may be snarled from years of being crammed into pointy heeled shoes, and our stomach may forever be scarred after bringing two children into this world under unforgiving C-section scalpels, but those wounds are like our badges of honour: one for the fleeting and brief existence of a child whose memory forever lives on in our heart, and one for a child whose laughter has cast new light on my soul.

Yes dear Body, you have managed to fulfill me in ways that I never thought possible, and for that, you deserve a cookie.

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This letter was written as part of BlogHer’s “Letters to My Body” initiative.
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Comments:


You are awesome. That's all I can say.
 

Amen, sister. Amen.
Posted by Anonymous Fawn :  February 22, 2008
 

Brilliant!! The part about childbirth and conception is so true, it is amazing and truly a miracle. I will try and be a bit kinder to my body today, I think I should treat it to a new shirt to wear!!
Posted by Anonymous Anonymous :  February 22, 2008
 

You are such a gifted writer Karla, and you and your body should be very proud of each other, for all you have been through together.
Tabitha X
Posted by Blogger Tabitha :  February 22, 2008
 

"You deserve a cookie".

LOL - brilliant!
 

Great words.
 

here, here!
Posted by Blogger Karen :  February 22, 2008
 

You really should publish a book, Karla. You have an incredible way with words that is such a gift. You really made me think of my own body and how miraculous it is. Thank you for your wisdom.
Nancy from Massachusetts
Posted by Anonymous Anonymous :  February 22, 2008
 

Wonderful wonderful wonderful.

I loved reading your letter, its beautiful and moving and inspiring.

Like I said, wonderful.
 

I loved it from beginning to end! You deserve at least 2 cookies!
Posted by Blogger joyce :  February 22, 2008
 

That's lovely. Well said.
Posted by Blogger Heather :  February 22, 2008
 

Your body definitely deserves a cookie. It has served you well. I probably need to thank my body too. Maybe with some ice cream?
Posted by Blogger Christy :  February 24, 2008
 

Very moving...I love the way you express yourself.
Posted by Blogger cinnalily :  March 02, 2008
 


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