An open letter of apology to my body
To my dearest, beautiful, and only body:
I came across a quote the other day about our relationship that hit me hard and nestled into the back of my mind. It said: “Just remember that your body has never tired of you, no matter how poorly you have treated it.” I realized that I needed to stop looking at you as an object to improve. I need to think of you as I think of my soul: a part of me, the essence of who I am. I can’t explain it to you in words, but I think you understand. This is my apology to you.
I am sorry for not realizing all you have done for me for the past nineteen and a half years because I was so busy hating what you looked like.
I am sorry for every time I have looked in the mirror and wished away parts of you.
I am sorry for every pinch, cut, punch, bruise, and scar I have ever inflicted upon you.
I am sorry for every time I have stared at you in the mirror and squeezed you at the looser parts and sobbed tears of pure hatred for you.
I am sorry for every time I have covered you up because I was unhappy with and embarrassed by how you looked.
I am sorry for every time I have compared you to other bodies and images and chastised you for not looking that way.
I am sorry for every time I have exercised you past your limits and forced you to be sick because I was determined to change you (when there was nothing wrong with you in the first place).
I am sorry for every time I have hurt you on purpose and thought, “Good, this is what you deserve.”
I am sorry for every time I have shied away from something fun because of you.
I am sorry for every time I have become green with envy towards another body and full of hatred towards you because you didn’t measure up to it in my eyes.
I am sorry for treating you like a disposable, renewable, and worthless object.
I am sorry for every time I have deprived you of fuel simply so you would suffer into something I deemed more “beautiful.”
I am sorry for punishing you when you have done nothing but keep me alive.
I am sorry for not appreciating your strong bones that have never been broken or let me down.
I am sorry for not appreciating the strength you have in your legs; legs that have allowed me to run and dance and skate and walk and be alive.
I am sorry for not appreciating how healthy you are, how every time I am sick with even the most minor bug, you fight against it with all you have and make me feel better again.
I am sorry for not appreciating your arms; arms that aren’t toned with muscle but that allow me to embrace my loved ones with a strength that could move mountains.
I am sorry for not appreciating your stomach, with the cute little mole right near the center and the abs that are so often sore from laughing with those loved ones.
I am sorry for not appreciating your soft skin; skin that protects me from the elements and keeps me safe and warm and healthy and whole.
I am sorry for not taking better care of you, when you have done nothing but take care of me; when it has been your only job, your only purpose in being.
I am sorry for every time I have looked at you and made you an object to punish, hate, and improve.
From this day forward, I vow to take care of you as though you are the physical embodiment of my soul. I vow to treat you with the love and care you have been neglected of for the past nineteen and a half years, but that you so genuinely deserve from me. I vow to keep you healthy and accept you as you are at this moment. I vow to stop wishing you would look different and instead to be grateful for all you are, right here and right now.
Thank you for never tiring of me, even when I put you through hell and willed myself to destroy you. I will never be able to thank you enough, but I will do my best by honoring you each day, for as long as you allow me to live.
In eternal gratitude,
Tricia O’Donnell is student at the beautiful University of Virginia. She loves anything that has to do with puppies, Beyoncé, writing, yoga, or traveling. She is an aspiring writer with a passion for words. You can read some of her writing on her personal blog at triciasjourney.wordpress.com.