Anything positive will suffice really.
You turn to the mirror.
You want so badly to love me.
But that brick wall of insecurity is hard to crack, isn’t it? Hours of well-rehearsed put-downs, lavishly cementing concrete blocks of not-good-enoughness stand little chance of tumbling against empty pebbles of appreciation.
Your eyes narrow.
Your laser focus rakes over the dimples of cellulite, a full pregnant belly, breasts that hover decidedly further south than a few years ago. You sigh over the muscles that used to outline strong shoulders, the contours that highlighted definition in long lost abdominals. Every glance is a reminder of what you are not. Every thought a condemnation of what used to be.
And yet, even then, it wasn’t enough. Do you remember?
I see you battle with yourself to come out ahead this time. I feel the tear trickle gently down your cheek as you envelop yourself in a great green towel. It’s rough on the skin, but you scrub away, as if you can slough away the imperfections.
And yet, this whole time, I have been at work.
Pumping oxygen-rich blood through your body, giving life to a form you find inadequate. Regulating precious breath in and out of your lungs so you can speak words of biting criticism. Ensuring your muscles contract with ease as you tug your skin this way and that. What if this were a little smoother? Or this a little higher? Neural synapses firing with each creative jab.
Your intricacies are not a matter of programmed automation you know. They require precision you cannot begin to comprehend, timing by the nanosecond, rhythms even the most gifted scientists cannot decipher.
I continue to function, to thrive, to give depth and breadth and life to you, no matter what. You may love me or hate me. But still I give you everything. Undivided focus. Unparalleled genius. Complete and utter devotion.
Because that’s what it takes.
Maybe I’m not exactly what you want. But in all fairness, what you want isn’t physically attainable. And, even if it was, you would still find fault with it.
So before you reach for the towel this morning, could you do one thing?
Look at me.
See your atria contracting with purpose, your ventricles filling effortlessly. See that taut muscle flex in your calf. See beneath the surface to the interweaving web of veins and arteries that somehow all know exactly where to travel. See your intestines painstakingly digesting. The nerve impulses alive in your mind, lighting up pathways like the most blinding light show you’ve never seen.
Can you see it? Did you catch a glimpse? Do you see me?
No, you don’t look like Kate Upton. Or your neighbor who jogs every day. Or your best friend.
You were never meant to.
I understand if you can’t quite eek out the “L” word. But maybe today, you could just try to see me.
See me keeping on. Keeping you living and breathing and loving. Or hating, I suppose.
Editor’s Note: If you haven’t read Megan’s A Love Letter to My Body, be sure to do just that. Plus: A whole community of women joined in the conversation by writing their own love letters. Maybe check some of those out too!
Question: If your body were speaking to you today, what would it say?
Image credit: David Sorich