Today I turned 38. It was a great day. Simple yet wonderful. I have been wanting to write a special blog post for quite a while but always found an excuse not to. As it is my birthday I thought it was the perfect time to write this special message down. Having it in writing will be a reminder to myself and also force me not to fall back into old habits. So here it is, .... A letter.
38 years, me and you. As a child I would run around and do cartwheels on the grass and then jump into the pool. I would jump, swing on poles and fall. I have had a broken arm, stitches, scrapes and bruises and each time I would get up and start all over. You never complained. You just kept going.
As a teenager I was shy and reserved but happy. I didn't listen to what others thought of me and then one day, and I can't quite remember when, something shifted. I looked in the mirror and saw you, my body, and I felt a cringing feeling in my stomach. That day, I pushed you into a corner and saw you an enemy.
When I was in adolescence and even in early adulthood I was a little overweight. I had a healthy diet and was in overall good health but even with all these facts I somehow put it into my mind that I needed to loose weight and I did. I started by eating slowing and walking a lot. At university I rode my bike every where and when my wedding day came when I was 21 I had lost 10 kg. I was no longer overweight but still slightly on the chubby side. You would think that once you have lost weight you are happy and that's that. Well it isn't. I married and we quickly had our children. Pregnant I always put my babies first so I ate well but didn't exaggerate. I lost my baby weight pretty quickly but I still wasn't happy with the way I looked. Once our youngest was born I decided to loose some more and once I start something I see it through. I lost another 10 kg. And guess what?! Even at 62 kg which is perfect for my height I still didn't feel well. Each time I looked in the mirror I would look at you and tell you how awful and disgusting you looked. All I saw were stretch marks and cellulite. I would even take my fists and hit you. I was cruel. Cruel and blind. I would never say the things I said to you to any other person. Everyone was telling me how good I looked and all I could see was an ugly blob of fat.
Then one day something started to change. One of my boys came up to me and started talking about abs and how he would like to have them. "As a boy you need to have abs". I told him that he needed to be was healthy and kind. And then it hit me. I was healthy but was I kind? Towards others, yes, but not to myself.
So today I am writing you this letter.
Dear body, I am sorry. Sorry for setting such unrealistic goals, for trying to be someone I am not and for not seeing your true beauty. I was chasing an ideal which doesn't even exist.
From now on I will encourage and embrace you. You have been my vehicle through life and you have brought me so much joy. You carried my 4 boys. My first pregnancy was with twins and I was so afraid but you did your job and Damien and Noé were born at 35 weeks and 5 days, healthy and full energy. You showed me how to cope with pain and you have reminded me on several occasions that it was time to slow down. You don't feel pain easily which has meant I got to experience 2 natural and pain free births which I had hoped for. You showed me I could breastfeed not only one by two children. You are extremely flexible and resistant. I am always busy and you follow without complaining. You seem to be inexhaustible and I can keep on plowing through all my to do lists. Why has it taken me so long to see how amazing you are.
Today is the last day I let the scale dictate who I am and what I should look like. I am not a full time sportsperson, I am not a model. I am Lilith with her beautiful body that has cellulite, birth marks, twin skin, you name it. I will never again be cruel to you, dear body. You have been loyal to me all these years and you have done your job remarkably well. So hat off to you and here's to many more years ahead, you and me, together in joy and happiness.