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.
For other Letters to my Body, click here and go to the BlogHer article.
Ahhh- you made me cry, that was so beautiful. Why don’t we understand what good bodies we all have, right from the very beginning?
Mary Alice’s last blog post..Beneath the Pale Moonlight
That is so beautiful.. I’ve struggled whith my self esteem too, why is it soo difficult to just accept us the way we are. Thank you for the encouragement.
Rose Daughter’s last blog post..Normal
Beautiful, simply beautiful.
Veronica’s last blog post..Full of Sunshine and Stuff
The Other Dawn
Nothing witty to say. That was simply beautiful.
The Other Dawn’s last blog post..Testing My Incontinence? and Yours!
Oh, that was just lovely.
Kelly O’s last blog post..I don’t like perfect teeth
Oh, I wish we all could accept our bodies in the way you are working to.
Toni’s last blog post..Apron Strings
Good doesn’t mean perfect for society, but perfect for you. Congrats.
Cricket’s last blog post..Lighter, built for speed
dammit…you made me cry too
I thought I was the only teenager that couldn’t jump roap, play basketball and had those fuckin red stretch marks on my thighs…
MP’s last blog post..Pumpkin Post up
Wow. Powerful and so beautifully written.
Arkie Mama’s last blog post..Previous post deleted due to snarkiness
beautiful. just beautiful.
janet’s last blog post..Stand up and CHEER!!
Another wonderful letter to my body post. Thank you for sharing it with us.
Sleeping Mommy’s last blog post..One Week Down
Ewokmama’s last blog post..Chocolate Ice Cream
I just got back from the gym- you’ve got me wondering what I would say to my 40+ body… Good idea, I might create a letter of my own! Enjoy your day and that baby!
nanci’s last blog post..Change might help…
this is beautiful, you are more than worthy
flutter’s last blog post..as is usually the way
Outstanding! That one is a winnah!
witchypoo’s last blog post..Teenage Rebellion, ABB style
Good ending. I was getting a little torques there for a minute. I was fix’in to say, “Snap out of it!”
Audubon Ron’s last blog post..Pain Chapter Four
Crunchy Domestic Goddess
what a story of strength and healing. thank you for sharing your letter.
Crunchy Domestic Goddess’s last blog post..My li?l sis, almost Esq.
Oh gosh, I suspect you are going to hear a lot of this but: I struggle with self-esteem issues too and this hit home.
However, I don’t think stretch markes automatically exempt you from Sports Illustrated. That’s what Photoshop is for. 🙂
Natalie’s last blog post..Home Sweet Home
Oh wow, this is so well written!! I could have been reading about myself!
Jenty’s last blog post..The boys at one
this is so exactly what i needed to read. you wrote beautifully & you’re so honest. thanks friend. the ff
Beautiful beautiful post. Thank you.
Judith Shakespeare’s last blog post..I Will Call You Betty…
This is beautiful. So honest. Thank you.
wow. i so needed to read that today. thank you.
zoe’s last blog post..Love me Love me not
Excellent post Dawn. I’m so proud of you.
Ree’s last blog post..My Friend Kim?¢‚Ç¨¬¶
I was angry with my body for not giving me the baby I wanted.
Lately I’ve been looking at my “baby fat” with sadness and frustration.
But I’ve got the baby…the rest is unimportant. I need to take care of myself, but not worry.
the dragonfly’s last blog post..summer friends, winter tears
that is good – and doesn’t deserve the tag “just fun”.
magpie’s last blog post..Cranky Cranky Cranky
You inspire me.
Jenny, Bloggess’s last blog post..This just in. Guy Kawasaki did not invent the motorcycle.
What a lovely post….well said. I can relate in so many ways…thank you 🙂
Sandy (Momisodes)’s last blog post..A Big Mac With Cheese
the egel nest
I wish that women realized that we men don’t really notice all the things that you do about your bodies…
Especially once you are married for a long time…I love my wife small or big…really i do…she has gone up and down..and I could care less…
The Egel Nest
I am deeply moved by this post.
this should have come with a tissue warning at the beginning. Thank you for being brave enough to share it.
Kara’s last blog post..Master Manipulator
Wow. wow. That was an amazing post Dawn. You’re making me look at my body in new ways. Thanks. (oh, and don’t hang your head in shame at the bathroom/scale thing…you’re not the only one!)
badness jones’s last blog post..Ok, so maybe I’ve still got a LITTLE phobia about scales….
You tty made me cry. We are the same. Except the coffee and cigarettes to get thin part. heh. I used lots of workouts and weight watchers, and at a size 4/6 I STILL thought I was fat.
Didn’t take long to ACTUALLY be fat again. Heh. But some ppl still think I’m hot. So there’s that. And my winning personality. heheh.
Being a woman really sucks sometimes.
VDog’s last blog post..He’s A Maniac!
It’s amazing how motherhood has given me a whole new vision of body image and the strength of my own being.
rachel’s last blog post..Hard headed child meets harder brick fireplace
And hey, I’ve seen it. It IS a good body. 😉
Sarcastic Mom’s last blog post..Grab your drinks again!
Hey, how are you? I just found your hilarious blog via my other favorite indulgence: bloggess. I have a fun one as well: petit elefant. Not funny as much as FREE stuff for moms…
Wow. That was great. Thank you.
zdoodlebub’s last blog post..Whee!
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