Laurie Toby Edison

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Write a Letter to Your Body

Debbie says:

BlogHer, the organization which supports women bloggers, chose Valentine’s Day to move its body image section from a subtopic of “Health and Wellness” to its own topic.

Kicking off the new topic is a “Write a Letter to Your Body” campaign. If you do this, and link to the topic (using the gadget on the BlogHer site), you’ll become part of this effort:

In two weeks, choose one of the linked letters to feature on BlogHer. Another Contributing Editor will post snippets from that letter and link back to that woman’s blog, and she’ll encourage members to again write a letter to my body and post a link. That CE will choose her favorite letter and another CE will be tasked to feature it in her post with a call for more letters to my body. Every two weeks, BlogHer will feature a new blogger and her letter and do a call out for more letters.

I think this is a fabulous idea. Suzanne Reisman, who announced it on the BlogHer site, starts us off with a good letter at the link above:

Over the last few years, as I’ve gotten older, I started seeing how cruel I was to you. It turns out that when I stop being so nasty to you, constantly criticizing you for what you are not instead of loving you for what you are, I’m a much happier person. I appreciate that I can do all sorts of activities through you. I thank you for taking the abuse of daily life – from a jog in Central Park to obsessive typing on my tiny laptop keyboard – without complaining (for the most part). I’m damn lucky to have a body like you. You do an excellent job, and I am proud to inhabit you.

My take is very different:

Dear Body,

I’m not really sure how to talk to you, since I believe you are as much me as the part that does the talking. I sure appreciate you–my health, my stamina, and my ability to do physical things are all you. On the whole, I’m way more interested in what we can do together than how we look together (“aren’t they cute together?”), but I have learned over the years to appreciate the appearance aspects too.

We’ve been in this together since we drew our first breath, and we’ll be in it together at our last breath. I’d say I wanted us to be allies, but we’re too close to be allies. We’re conjoined twins joined at every point. That’s really the thing it took me a long time to learn, and I’m still learning it.

I think that the main thing I want to say to you is, “We don’t have to do this forever.” I love every day we have together, and while I certainly enjoy being pain-free, I understand that it’s not your job to keep me that way over time. You aren’t the guardian of my health, and if/when something happens to my health, it won’t be your fault, or a betrayal of me. We’ll keep having fun and doing good stuff together until we’re done. Okay? Okay.

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5 Responses to “Write a Letter to Your Body”

  1. janet Says:

    That’s nice. My first thought when I read “write a letter to your body” was “but I AM my body,” so I was glad to see you approach it from that angle.

  2. wriggles Says:

    When you say, ‘I AM my body’, janet, you are right, attacking your body is attacking yourself. It seems so obvious when you realise it, yet we get caught up in dualistic views about the body and mind.

    As I slowly try to undo my beliefs about my body when they occur to me, I’m amazed at how much difference it makes to my body’s ability and my overall sense of well-being. Just recently, I decided on a whim to examine the assumption that a fat body is incompetent, I said to myself, I’ll let you show me what you can do, rather than just assuming. That little thing had immediate effect, at the time I was doing yoga so I was able to feel my body yielding, letting go more, when I could go no further I felt satisfied, I felt good and positive rather than somehow unsatisfied, I just felt happy with what I’d done, and positive about doing it in the future. Whether you write and letter or just become more open minded, neutral even about your body, it’s truly fascinating.

  3. Suzanne Says:

    I agree with Janet. It is wonderful to read a letter which from the start acknowledges that we are our bodies. I love your attitude and spirit!

  4. Cindy Says:

    I like how you said, “and we’ll be in it together at our last breath. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Miss Britt Says:

    Love your unique approach.

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