I once looked at the curve of your thigh and remarked to my mother, “I think I’m going to have your thighs.” She shot back, “You keep eating cookies the way you do and you’ll have YOUR thighs.”
I resisted your blooming shape, I was ashamed of any but the whitest, simplest bras to cover you. I didn’t understand how you grew. I missed when growing up turned into growing fat.
I felt awkward in you. I cried in frustration when you couldn’t jump rope in 9th grade gym. I was embarrassed when you wouldn’t work fast enough or coordinated enough to stop the basketball from slamming my face and breaking my glasses. Again.
I’ve hated you. I’ve hit you in frustration. I’ve hated the breasts that overtook my torso. I’ve smacked them in anger. I’ve jumped up and down and made you jiggle in places, just to have more skin to focus my hatred on.
The torture of the swimsuit. The granny breasts on a teenage form. I was ashamed of the angry red stretch marks that marked your upper thighs. Preventing me from beauty. Ever.
I fed you coffee and cigarettes. I shook for months, I thought I was diabetic. You were thin at last. When people asked how I’d made you look so good, I was honest, “I got my heart broken. I wasn’t hungry.” To myself I would admit the image of a thin woman with the man I loved was sapping my appetite. Permanently.
You tried to tell me to leave the Arizona desert, you tried to tell me to run away from that other man. You closed yourself off. You made me hurt and bleed. I didn’t trust you. I didn’t listen to what you told me. I made us live in that gray area where I didn’t say no, but I certainly didn’t say yes. I didn’t protect you, I let you be hurt under some lie of “love”, I let you be threatened and pushed into corners. When I finally got you safely home, you broke down. You forced me to bed for two weeks with my only case of strep, complicated by tonsillitis. All the screaming and all the words I should have said, burned their way through your throat at last. When the fever burned out, our life was our own again.
We began to heal. I began listening to you, to your messages to me. I looked to the future with the man I loved, who loved you unconditionally, even when I couldn’t yet.
I’ve lay my hands over your womb, I’ve prayed over oil and drawn that oil in a cross over your flat abdomen as I read prayers of healing. I’ve focused all the positive energy in my soul into that part of you and prayed for healing and fertile ground.
You were strong enough to grow and deliver the baby they all said you’d never be able to make. You delivered him easily (relatively speaking, of course), and quickly healed. I was so familiar with you by this point, that it was strange to me to not be able to identify all your parts. Nothing was where I had left it, and we had to be reacquainted again.
Carrying the baby left more marks on you. It was the final nail in the coffin that would forever ban you from a Sports Illustrated centerfold. And with this final scarring across your stomach, and even more stretch in the breasts, I forgave you your
In the middle of the night, very unceremoniously, our last war ended with a whimper. I was tired as I walked down the hall, and the familiar script began to play, “Fuckin’ fatty …”
I brushed the words away, those words weren’t talking about us anymore.
The script tried again. “Fuckin’ saggy tits …”
The words had no sting. They lost their power somewhere along the way as that fat shaped into clothes that gave you curves, as those breasts fed a baby.
You’ve done good work. You’ve carried me well these years. You comfort my husband, you created our son, you’ve bent but not broken. Rest now, and let me take care of you. Let me love you. Let me try to build your strength and build your health.
Rather than trying to make you be something you are not, let me finally strive to be worthy of you, you are a good body, you are my good body.