Dear 2018 Body
How are you? It’s been a while since we’ve connected so I wanted to say hello. Every now and I then I think about you. I hope you are well.
I know I don’t usually reach out, but today I thought I would. I know we don’t usually connect on a very deep level, but I’d like to, going forward. I hope you’re interested in us getting to know each other more. I’d really like that.
It’s been a bit tough, hasn’t it? You’ve done your thing and I’ve done mine and we haven’t really worked together really well. I guess it’s an old habit. It was painful to be in connection with you so many years ago, so I stopped. I think I always knew you were there, but I was too afraid to reach out to you. I was afraid of having old hurts surface – and I didn’t know if I had the tools to deal with them. But I’m feeling stronger now, and I feel that I’m missing out on a whole part of my being by not being in relationship with you. I’d like to get to know you.
I often haven’t respected you. I’ve seen you as a means to an end, which makes me sad. I’ve seen you as a shield, or as something to hide, or as an object to manipulate to give me what I thought I needed. I’ve restricted the food I’ve given you – the amount and the flavor of food – to make you look a particular way and as a way to feel some control. I’ve examined you in the mirror – sometimes just briefly enough to hate you, sometimes for a bit longer so that I start to feel really sad. I’ve spent hours looking for clothes that cover parts of you I don’t want other people to see, and trying on combinations that the experts say suit “my build.” I’ve dragged you to the gym, or on a run, as a replacement for shame and self-loathing.
Occasionally I like how powerful you look. Sometimes I can revel in the pleasure you offer me. Every now and then I can feel some appreciation for how you’ve taken care of me. Sometimes I feel compassion for myself. But I want more.
This year, I want to fall in love with you. I want us to be a team. I want to know how you’re feeling and to take you seriously. I want to feel you rather than look at you judgmentally. I want to inhabit you rather than try to reject you. I want to learn to celebrate you rather than hide you and hide from you. I want to offer myself bucket loads of compassion for how sad it’s been to feel so distant from you, my dear friend. I want to comfort myself for all the times I listened to shaming messages that told me I should hate you.
This year I want to cry with you about our shared past, to grieve what has happened without blame, and to rise up through to a sense of justice and decency. I want to see us apart from culture and family and social media as beautiful in our own right. I want us to heal together.
And then I want to move with you, to adorn with you, to learn pleasure from you, to draw on your wisdom, to learn your language and to leave body shaming messages completely in our dust. I want to clothe you in beauty that asks you, “What do you want to wear?” and “What makes you feel like a queen?” I want to descend into the reckless abandon of pleasure that I know you are always, always, offering to me. I want to flow with your litheness in between the notes as angels sing, and grunt and stamp to the beat of ancient drums. I want to bring awareness to each and every moment, for you are always whispering words of sweetness and savvy in my ear.
Thank you for being so patient. Thank you for being my mindfulness teacher-in-waiting. You are always in the moment – all I ever needed to do was join with you and I’d be in the moment as well. I’m glad you waited here all these years for me to find you again. Thank you.
And so, 2018 Body, let’s try this thing out. I know you have been waiting for me. I’m finally ready. Let’s see what’s there when the bullshit is left behind. Let’s see what we can do once we escort shame out the door. Let’s explore a new path together. It feels a bit like climbing out of my fish-bowl – what will I find when I’m not submerged? I feel hopeful and excited. Let’s go!