Remember that day, when I accidently noticed those stretch marks on you? I was trying on a pair of jeans in a trail room, the walls covered with huge full length mirrors. Just as I was reaching to pull the jeans up, my eyes darted over my behind and I spotted the marks. Not one, not two, but numerous strips of thin lines started just under my hips, spreading around my buttocks like roots of an old tree, and slowly vanishing at the back of my thighs. I stared still for a few minutes, my mind jolted and confused by the sudden confrontation. How long had the marks been there? Did they appear after I started my periods? If so, how was I seeing them for at first time in my life, at twenty-one years of age? Dear body, that experience shook me in a strange way. Waves of disbelief and shame rummaged through my head, at not having ever paid close attention to you. Although you lived with me all my life, I realized I did not have a slightest idea of who you were.
I am sorry again, dear body. You see, nobody taught me to pay you any attention. You have always been there with me, but I never looked you in the eye, or started a conversation. I treated you the same as a worn out souvenir from an old friend; something that you cannot throw, but you don’t want to keep it either. I grew up, constantly listening to you being poked and punched by them. “Look at your eyes, how sunken!” “Your arms are so big!” “If only you were taller” They blame it all on you, don’t they? Somewhere along the way, they blinded me to believe that ignoring you was a proper thing to do, harassing you even a better one. I had made you my enemy even before I got a chance to greet you properly.
In that moment inside the trail room when I met you all by myself, I saw a little of you. I wanted to see more, to start getting to know you. You were my best friend, how could I have thought of otherwise? I am learning, my dear body, to observe and appreciate all the minute details in you. The little wrinkles on the forehead, a patch of light skin over the eyebrows, the eyes that set deep, scattered little dots on the cheeks, , the thin scar on the palm, a mole on the inside of the left arm, the subtle color of veins in the wrists ; I am starting to know all bits of you. I am learning to love and groom you in a way you deserve. You possess an enormous sacredness and divinity about yourself, and I am learning to experience it through you. I am sorry dear body, I didn’t start sooner.
If I have a daughter one day, I will put a full length mirror in her room. I’ll take her by her little fingers and let her see herself in the mirror. I’ll proudly acclaim, “Look at yourself, you are nothing but divine.” I’ll tell her, “Sweetheart, run your fingers through the smoothness of your skin. Get to know all its cracks and crevices, and love it all you can!”
After all, what could be more empowering than knowing your own body, and drowning yourself in its love?
Dear body, I promise I will not let you down again. I will give you all the care and affection that you yearned for all these years. I will make you proud for choosing me.