Thursday, 19 August 2010

Dear Body

Dear Body, 
I recently started a list of 99 Dreams and Wishes to do in 999 days - my 40th birthday. 
Number 19 on my list is, mould, nourish, nurture and love my body.

This is my letter to you explaining how I feel about you and what my plans are for our future.
I realise that I haven’t given you a lot of thought lately. I have taken you for granted and abused you, albeit unintentionally. I’d like to say sorry and hope to start our relationship afresh. 
Thank you for holding my life and allowing me to move freely through it with no physical disabilities. As a baby I was born with displaced hips. I have no memory of this, just the stories that have been told to me about the casts on my legs. After treatment I had no further trouble again.
As a child I was never let down by you. You supported me through childhood scrapes and falls, repairing quickly and efficiently when required to. I never experienced any breaks or fractures. Childhood illnesses, bruises, colds and viruses were all very short lived and you took them in your stride, protecting me every step of the way. I thank you for this. 
You were very petite throughout my childhood, into my teens and early twenties. I enjoyed the ‘lightness’ and great flexibility that you had. I liked the way that you moved, the way you never tired, that I could tie your limbs into knots, curl tight into a small ball, and stretch.
I had a good appetite and ate a large range of foods. You were strong and we were healthy. I thought that you were lovely.  
And yet, I found myself feeling emotionally torn. I heard from others that you were too skinny, too bony, too tiny..........
I was confused. I began to try eating more than you required, using drink supplements as extra calories. I would feel sick from my generosity towards you. 
I eventually came to the conclusion that I could allow myself to be happy with you. Others could keep their own opinions, and their own body issues to themselves. I was happy with you and you were mine!
I became pregnant. I was astounded with how clever you were. So strong and supportive.  Taking care not only of me but sheltering and providing for my baby, helping to create her own body from within me. You are amazing!
I had a few scary times during the pregnancy. I felt that I wouldn’t be able to rely on you to support me through another pregnancy ever again.  I also felt physically exhausted and was sick constantly. I was pleased when we safely got to full term and my first daughter was born. 
You fed and nourished her for the first two years of her life and I am eternally grateful for this. She is now a healthy twelve year old and had the best start in life. 
I gave birth to three further children, each time after I had erased from my memory how awful you are at pregnancy. Terrible!! I’m sorry! You nourished them well and did your best. But you were truly amazing at delivering my babies to me. So beautiful and perfect were my labours that all the hardship of carrying the pregnancies paled into insignificance. They were all born healthy and remain so. I breast fed them all and you supported me in doing this so well. Thank you. 
Other pregnancies were not so successful and I cursed you, blamed you. I felt angry and let down. They were my babies too and I felt bitter that you had been unable to help me look after them. It was your fault! There were complications and my family thought that I was leaving them forever. You gave up on me for a while. I have only a hazy memory of those days, feeling helpless within you. My determination and strength pulled me through this period with medical help and family love and support. Not you. I’m not sure that I forgive you for this yet, but I know that I am close to it now. 
I began to have acupuncture for my physical and emotional health and I began to accept you again, to stop feeling so angry. I wanted to nurture you again and nurse you back to full strength. I was strangely even more anti conventional medicine now, even though it had saved my life. I didn’t want to risk harming you.
A few years ago I suddenly began to get pains and swellings in my joints. I was diagnosed with psoriatic/rheumatoid arthritis. I felt frustrated and let down again. My movement and physical mobility were severely impaired. I found it difficult to walk at times. Washing my hair or having a shower left me in tears of helplessness. I had regular acupuncture but it was only helping with the symptoms, not the disease.

I toyed with Chinese herbs but felt that they were only going to be secondary to conventional medicine. So I limped in to the consultants office and tried several cocktails of drugs over several months. You rejected most of them and developed all the text book side effects. It was seemingly useless. I now had the disease and the drug side effects too. 
With tail between my legs I returned to the Chinese herbalist. These were the worst tasting , most disgusting of medicines ever. 
I altered my diet. Followed recommendations of less potatoes and tomatoes, less dairy products, more fish, less alcohol, caffeine etc etc 
I started meditating, stretching, doing reiki, thinking positively, praying
Something worked........
My arthritis is in remission. I have the odd aches and pains, and swellings but you are strong. We’ve pulled through. I’m no longer struggling to live with a chronic disease. 
So how do I reward you for becoming so mobile and strong again? By taking up bad habits. Over indulging in lovely food and wine. Not exercising regularly, not giving you what you deserve. 

I am sorry. 
You are now overweight and sluggish. I have allowed you to become out of breath with exercise, swollen with greed and wobbly where you should be firm. 
I want you to know that I still love you. You have supported me through all of life’s difficulties and I must thank you for that. You deserve my upmost respect and cooperation. Neither of us is getting any younger but we have many years ahead of us yet. I must not take you for granted anymore. 
I will learn to eat in moderation again, a balanced diet rich in nutrients. 
I will allow you to find your natural size again 
I will exercise regularly
I will restrict food and drinks that I know to be harmful to you
I will reunite a balance between yourself and my mind
I will love you and praise you, admire you and thank you
You are my precious body, 
With love always,

1 comment:

  1. i love this Sarah - apart from the pregnancy bits - i share the same conversation with my body. You are sooo beautiful - a lovely mother and stunning wife - a fabulous teacher and just a gorgeous person
    and that I have seen and only met you twice! x