A Letter to My Body


Body, you have carried me. You carried me through this week and through so much worse in this life. Let me thank you.

Body, thank you for the anxiety this week. You are delicately wired to alert me when things are unsafe, and you are absolutely right this time. You feel it in the air around us, in the words others say to us, in the scrambling for resources, comfort, and guidance we witness every day. You are so perceptive, and you notice even the slightest warning signs. You are right that the world is unsafe right now. You are right to fear an illness we have never experienced before. You are right to fear that washing these hands, keeping our distance from the people we love, and cleaning the things around us might not be enough protection from this. You are right to fear that my workplace is not somewhere I should be every day. You are right to struggle to find relief or imagine an endpoint to this trauma. You are right to tense my muscles and shorten my breath, to quicken my heartbeat, to pump adrenaline through my veins to prepare me to run as far from this situation as I can. But body, like so many other times in this life, we cannot run. But this time, we can breathe. We can lead. We can provide. Do your best to carry me, and I will do my best to carry you with tenderness too. 

Body, thank you for the feelings this week. While it used to give me emotional whiplash, I am now learning to love how deeply you allow me to feel and how openly you allow me to express it. I accept the unexpected tears you give me, and I validate the despair in reading the latest breaking news, the fragile hope for some kind of progress, the disproportionate joy in seeing a cute dog being walked on these empty streets, and the radical roller coaster of feeling them all at once. Body, it is beautiful to feel so much when the world is so cold and numb. Body, thank you for the emotions and the creativity I need to cope.

Body, thank you for withstanding the pain this week. I know this time every month means so much. I know this time is a clockwork trigger we suffer. I know pain medication does next to nothing when the physical and emotional pain is driven by footprints of the past I barely remember. Body, the first time a period came, I wondered what I did wrong to you and how should I be punished; now each month, I wonder how I can love you and treat you better than before. Body, you deserve chocolate cake. You do. You deserve scented candles and comfy sweatpants and a tiny dog curled on your lap. You deserve to make it through this. Body, by Monday, we will feel some kind of new again because you always make it through this. You have carried me so far and I am still somehow struggling to love you, but body, I will love you.

Body, they say you are done growing, but I am still growing into you. Body, I am still learning to love you. Body, I am sorry for falling in love with the abusers who abused you before I fell in love with you. I am sorry for believing them before I believed you. I notice your skin stretching and cracking like I am trying to burst out of you, but body, I am still making myself comfortable. I do not want to leave you now. I am making myself home. I am coming home. Thank you for being home. Thank you.

With love,

T

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