Love Letter to My Body

Dear Body, 

I open this letter with gratitude. Thank you for all you have given me and done for me for the last 42 years. We have had quite a journey already, and our time together is hopefully, not yet half-way complete. With all we have been through, we still have a lot of growing and experiencing to do together. 

The saying, “youth is wasted on the young” resounds loudly in my mind as you and I have sailed past our prime and now cruise into middle age. 

I also write, to express to you a heartfelt apology.  

I will admit, I have struggled with you lately. I have avoided looking at you in the mirror. I have been embarrassed by you. I have been ashamed of you. 

I have tried to hide you and conceal you from myself and others. 

I have been overly critical, unappreciative, and held you to unrealistic standards and expectations. 

I have compared you with others, magnified your shortcomings, and minimized your gifts. 

I have punished you by over training and under eating. I have indulged you by over-eating and sometimes drinking too much.  

I have lost moderation. My intuition is weak in regards to how you feel, and what is healthy for you in the long term. 

For all these things, I am deeply sorry. 

As I reflect on our past and what we have accomplished together, I’m truly grateful for your strength, your durability, and your resilience to undergo tremendous amount of pressure and stress. 

We have weathered infections, bone breaks, and heart breaks. We have run marathons and hiked mountains. We have raced cars and slalom ski courses. We have ziplined over jungles and snorkeled with sting rays. We have traveled the world and experienced cultures, food, and people that are so uniquely different from ours that our mind has opened and our heart has grown. 

Perhaps most importantly, most magically, we have birthed, nursed, and raised two healthy baby boys. We have pulled all-nighters at the hospital for toddler croup infections. We have had countless sleepless nights soothing nightmares, sick tummies, or just providing a safe embrace for a child that needs comfort. We have walked endless miles at Disneyland, pushed thousands of swings at the park, and read hundreds of bedtime stories. 

Now, we rise before dawn to prepare breakfast and pack lunches for four hungry teenagers. We drive thousands of miles every year to countless soccer games and tennis matches, school performances, and sports practices. We experience with the kids the stinging pain of their defeats or the warm joys of victory.  We agonize, stress, and debate over the most effective parenting strategies. Together, we invest countless volunteer hours at school and in the community, trying to give back more than we receive. Soon, and with a gut-wrenching sense of fear, a new phase of sleepless nights will begin while we wait pensively by the door for the teenagers to drive themselves home after being out with friends. 

Together we hold the hands of our loved ones and provide devoted care for our family and friends. 

These things are not trivial. They are everything.  

So, without shame, I will raise my eyes and look at your reflection, squarely, confidently, and lovingly. Instead of being ashamed of a pudgy stomach or sagging breasts, I will be awed by the sturdy vessel that carried my babies. For the size of my legs, I will appreciate the hours in the gym to build the muscles to propel me up the hills of my runs. For every gray hair, I will appreciate the wisdom I have gained through my years of experience. For the deepening lines around my mouth, I will be grateful for every belly laugh that ingrained itself onto my face for the world to see. For all my scars, I will be reminded of the strength it took to acquire them.

So thank you, Body, for being there for me, through it all. For supporting me and giving me the ability to pursue my dreams. 

We have many more decades together. We can’t trade each other, give each other up, or exchange each other for a new and updated model. We can’t predict the future, foresee our future health, or know what our abilities or disabilities will be. All we can do is embrace this day, this moment, and do all we can to live our best life, right now. 

I will do better, Body. 

I will do better listening to you, respecting you, appreciating you, and treating you with the care you deserve so we may one day, reflect on a long life together with fondness, fulfillment, and no regrets. 

Most lovingly yours, 

Shannon 

5 thoughts on “Love Letter to My Body

  1. Bravo! So well said, Shannon. I couldn’t agree more. Your love letter reminds me immediately of this Bible verse: “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 If God rejoices and sings over us, we can rejoice and sing over our bodies too.

    Like

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