Yes, I am writing to you: my body.
I figured it was about time that I said thanks for everything you have done for me these last few decades. Thanks for carrying me happily and safely through my childhood years. There was barely a cold or flu to speak of, no broken bones, nothing weird, just lots of carefree frolicking. You were just there, being strong and healthy.
Then during my teenage years I started not liking you very much. There was no good reason for this except that you refused to just wake up one day looking something like Cindy Crawford. (Okay, so I had the hair and eye colour and the mole near my mouth). It seemed like nothing you did or offered me was good enough, or what I wanted (then). Even though I was slim I never thought it was thin enough, and those boobs you decided to spring on me? Well, not so much what a fourteen year old girl wants but my husband sure does thank you for them. The height that I thought was too tall? Also good now, especially when two of my kids tower over me. (I don’t blame you for the nose anymore, I have seen it on too many relatives to know you never stood a chance).
You stayed healthy and strong until I started working as a legal clerk in town, when the constant indoors/outdoors changes in temperature combined with sweating outside in the middle of winter while walking god-knows-how-many-km’s led to bronchitis which led to asthma. But since I was eighteen and not a small child I guess it wasn’t that bad.
It was when I first fell pregnant though that you really started showing off. After a life of irregular periods and a GP who told me I would have trouble conceiving, you shocked me sideways when I ended up preggers within two months of my wedding. You did saddle me with some heavy duty nausea (SEVEN MONTHS of it, remember?), but of course the pregnancy flew and that came to an end before I knew it.
I have to tell you honestly that you didn’t really seem to have your shit together when it came time to give birth that first time, but you made up for it with a big healthy baby. (His head still owes you an apology, by the way).
I guess I shocked you with another pregnancy just a couple of months later, but you rose to the challenge and kicked some major butt. It was easily my best pregnancy, not a minute of nausea and I only gained nine kilos. And this time when the birth rolled around you knew exactly what to do. Four hours, no drugs, and another big healthy baby. Plus I felt so good so soon afterwards. You were there yet again when it was time for me to carry my daughter, and thank you very much for the two hour labour with that one.
With my last baby you proved how strong and powerful you really are. I was ten years older (and tired-er), and you helped me carry another big healthy baby boy. You also granted me my secret wish of repeating labour number two, which you did perfectly. It started at the same time of night, and he was born fifteen minutes after his brother. Even though the hospital paperwork had it down as an hour and a half, those few hours in the still of the night are among the most precious of my life. I really felt that it was just you and I, working as a team. (And it really WAS just you and I, with hubby having been sent back home on the basis of his uselessness).
You have also good-naturedly tolerated all the waxing, plucking, tanning, tattooing, dying, HIGH heels, tight girdles, and bad fashion you have been subjected to. Without complaining once.
Unfortunately these last twenty years or so I have been pretty harsh on you when it has come to the kilos. I have stuffed you, starved you, swam, jogged, exercised, and tortured you. I have looked in the mirror sometimes and just about cried at the sight of you. Even after losing twenty-five kilos of you I still despaired at the saggy stomach that remained. Being heavier meant I had better boobs, but being thinner meant that my jeans looked better.
But no more. These days, still carrying a few extra holiday kilos, my waist is a bit thicker but then my boobs are fuller. And I can live quite happily with that. I am able to look after myself and my family with this body. I can be up all night with a sick child and still manage to get things done the next day. I have my health, mobility, and therefore independence. I can dance in a sexy pair of heels one minute and lug heavy paint cans the next. With this body I can hug the people I love, and cook meals to feed them. I can teach my youngest to swim, and my oldest to drive. I can show them the world.
So here’s to another forty more years, you and I.