A Valentine to Myself

Photo by Samantha McGranahan @ https://unveiled-photo.com/
Dear Body,

I owe you an apology. I have not treated you well. I have abused you for my own ends, to get where I wanted to be in the moment. I have neglected your routine maintenance over and over and over again.

I have not defended you. When others told me I was fat and therefore ugly or less likable, I believed them. I allowed the ridicule, judgments, and emotional abuse of others to hurt you; to come between us and to inform my own opinions of you. 

I let you down. I never gave you full credit for being the hardest working thing in my life, showing up day in and day out, doing your best for me, always being there for me no matter what. 

I did not thank you. In fact, I spoke harshly to you, ridiculing, criticizing, breaking you down, reinforcing the negative messages of society. 

I distanced myself from you. I allowed my misguided thinking to separate us. I didn’t want to feel you. I didn’t want to be seen with you. So, I found ways to disconnect us, numb from what you were trying to tell me, smother you when you were screaming at me for help.

I could not admit to the violence I have visited on you. It has taken me decades to understand all the ways I have misused, abused, and neglected you; years to accept that I was not your ally and defender when I was the person you relied on most. I was ashamed.

On so many Valentine’s Days I thought I was alone. I never was. You were always here. I just didn’t love you enough to see it. I wish I had been braver, wiser, stronger.

I am so sorry. 

I know better now. I can do better now. The world won’t stop throwing shade at us. The aging process will continue to challenge us. The universe might throw more curve balls at our brain, body, and spirit. But things are different now. I’m here. I am working out my apology, my mistakes, my wrongs toward you. Day by day I am making amends.

I will defend you. Those who judge us don’t understand us. They can’t see the years of accomplishments and goals we have met together, despite our disconnect. They cannot see the hurdles we have overcome together, the traumas we have experienced. They can’t see how strong we are, how capable we are. How we alone set our limits.

I am grateful beyond measure for your forgiveness. I know it will take you a long time to trust me. I won’t always get it right. I can’t replace the time we have lost. I can’t reverse what has happened between us. 

I am here now. 

I am listening. I want to know. I respect what you are saying. I will try my best not to drown you out, even when it’s so uncomfortable and I have not yet learned how to cope with what you are telling me. 

Every day I will tell you all the things I wish I had been saying to you my whole life:

I am sick that happened to you, but I will help you heal.
Those people are cruel, and they don’t define you.
You are so important to me.
Your curves are luscious.
You are deeply loved. 
You are so strong.
You are beautiful.
You are me. 
Thank you.
I love you.

Happy Valentine’s Day. 

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