I was seven years old, second grade, and spending recess out on the grass with some girls. I don’t recall how we got on the topic, but I remember the following exchange very clearly: “My mom says it’s baby fat, and I’ll grow out of it,” I said. “You’re not a baby,” said another, “so it’s just fat.” At that moment, I began to hate you.
We’ve come a long way since then, through surgeries and babies, weight gained and lost. I would like to write this letter with love, with the gushing adoration I see other people heap upon their well-deserving bodies. You deserve it too, and yet… old habits die hard, my friend.
I have come to realize that we are an arranged marriage. God chose you for me at the moment of conception, and not from the runt parts or the reject parts but from all the parts He could possibly design, He chose these. Each one, from my bumped nose to my cellulite-stippled saddlebags, was a special gift from my creator. “They are given us for a purpose,” I told my mother recently. “What purpose could that possibly be?” she challenged. I had no good answer, except that they are purposefully chosen, with love.
We are partners in this life, you and I, and I am sorry for the ways I have mistreated you, underestimated you, even loathed you. I’m not sure I want to love you, not for the physical form you take, because I think no relationship is well-based on looks. But I love that you were a special gift to me. I love that you are stronger than I ever expect, whether it’s a long workout or a trying day with the kids or sustaining me during my neurotic bents. I love your patience, your quiet endurance, your gentle protests against misuse. I love that you have yet to abandon me. I love that we are in this together, through thick and thin, and hopefully into that middle ground where we appreciate each other, value each other, and treat each other kindly–not for what we could be but for what we already are, the way I imagine an arranged spouse might. And someday, surely, that appreciation and value and kindness will grow into a love so deep that it will pale in comparison to flighty, physical infatuation.
Until then–and forever after–I remain always yours.
**This post is brought to you by SheLoves Magazine, which has issued a “Love Letter to my Body” synchroblog. I didn’t know what a synchroblog was until today, but I do know what it’s like to love-hate with your body, and it certainly won’t hurt me to throw a little edge in on the love side.**