Featured Storyteller

NEPAL: A Letter to My Body

Sharmiladhungana
Posted February 28, 2017 from Nepal

Sharmila was 21 when she realized her body had become a stranger.

“I promise I will not let you down again.

Dear Body,

Do you remember the day I accidentally noticed those stretch marks on you?I was trying on a pair of jeans in a trial room of a shopping mall; the walls were covered with huge, full-length mirrors. Just as I was reaching down to pull up the jeans, my eyes darted over my behind reflected in the mirror, and I spotted the marks—not one, not two, but numerous thin lines beginning just under my hips, spreading around my buttocks like roots of an old tree, and slowly vanishing at the back of my thighs.

I stood still, staring at the stretch marks for a few minutes. This sudden confrontation with you jolted and confused me.I wondered how long these marks had been there. Did they appear after I first started my period? If so, how was I only seeing them now for the first time in my life, at 21 years of age?

Dear Body, that experience with you shook me in a strange way. I felt waves of shame and disbelief course through me. Although you had lived with me all my life, I had never paid close attention to you. I realized then that I did not have the slightest idea of who you were.

You see, nobody taught me to pay you any attention. You have always been here with me, but I never looked you in the eye or started a conversation with you. At best, I treated you like a worn out souvenir from an old friend—something that you can’t get yourself to throw out but don’t want to keep either.

I grew up hearing others jab you with insults: “Look at your eyes, how sunken!” “Your arms are so big!” “You seem shorter every time I see you.” Somewhere along the way, I learned that ignoring you was the proper thing to do, and harassing you was even better.

I had made you my enemy even before I had a chance to greet you properly.

When we finally met inside that dressing room, it was just the two of us, and I saw a little of you. At that moment, I wanted to see more of you and get to know you. You were my best friend, after all. How could I have ever thought otherwise?

I am learning now, my dear Body, to observe and appreciate all your minute details—the little wrinkles on your forehead, a patch of light skin over your eyebrows, your eyes set deep, the scattered little dots on your cheeks, the thin scar on your palm, a mole on the inside of your left arm, and the subtle color of the veins in your wrists.

I am starting to know all parts of you, and I am learning to love and groom you in the way you deserve. Through you, I am also discovering how to experience the sacredness and divinity you possess. I am sorry, dear Body, that I didn’t start this sooner.

If I have a daughter one day, I will put a full-length mirror in her room. I’ll lead her by her little fingers and let her see herself in the mirror. I’ll proudly proclaim, “Look at yourself; you are nothing but divine,” and tell her, “Sweetheart, run your fingers over 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 immersing 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 those years. I will make you proud you chose me.

Yours sincerely,

Sharmila


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Comments 17

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WorldCare
Feb 28, 2017
Feb 28, 2017

Hello Sharmila, You have written a strong story here! To describe how you honor your body is something every woman could learn from. We need to do that in every instance, then we will avoid disgracing it, or abusing it. I admire your original way here, as a letter TO YOUR BODY! Very impressive! I wish you the best as you travel life's journey.

Rahmana Karuna
Feb 28, 2017
Feb 28, 2017

Dearest Sharmila, wow, wow, wow, powerful. wonderful. beautiful. sensual. artistic. love the writing of your story. thank you.

Dr Rejoice
Mar 02, 2017
Mar 02, 2017

Great read. thank you. I will also appreciate my body more and take better care of it.

Anjana Vaidya
Mar 03, 2017
Mar 03, 2017

Dear Sharmila,

congratulations for your nice article, very well written. So true that nothing is more important than knowing your body and valuing it. 

Love , anjana

BridgetvdHoff
Mar 03, 2017
Mar 03, 2017

This is so inspiring!

Fisch
Mar 06, 2017
Mar 06, 2017

That is a beautiful way of telling your body that you love it. Because without it your spirit cannot fly. And congratulations on passing your wisdom to the next generation. We are all so beautiful, inside and out. Namaste.

peregrine
Mar 08, 2017
Mar 08, 2017

Inspiring reminder, Sharmila. Rings a bell so strong within. Thank you!!

irenee french
Mar 08, 2017
Mar 08, 2017

Dear Sharmila,

Thank you for reminding us all that it is most important to first of all love ourselves and the body that carries us around. Without looking after our body, what would we have. You write so wonderfully, embrace that, it is a very special talent.

Irenee

Sgrubbs
Mar 08, 2017
Mar 08, 2017

Thank you for sharing, and we should continue to love and appreciate how special we really are.

hanhpham49
Mar 08, 2017
Mar 08, 2017

What a great story to share, Sharmila! I have a young daughter (8 yrs old) she is beginning to notice changes that is happening to her body. Some good and some not so good, in her eyes. As an initiative to empower women, I believe it happens when you are young. Your story will encourage young girls and boys to love themselves...which in return will create the confidence that will help them conquer anything.

Julie Zenterra
Mar 08, 2017
Mar 08, 2017

Sharmila:

Every woman I know has had the same conversation with herself standing before a mirror, speaking critically about the fat, the folds, the sag and the blemishes instead of noticing how fulsome and fine we are! Thank you for reminding us of how critical it is to honor and respect our bodies for all they give us -- mobility, sensuality, and the ability to take in taste, sound, and sight, and so much more. Great post!

kkayser
Mar 08, 2017
Mar 08, 2017

Thank you for sharing through this beautiful story. You are a true inspiration.

Lily Habesha
Mar 08, 2017
Mar 08, 2017

Hey Dear,

This is such a beautiful piece of art.

Margaret Koning
Mar 09, 2017
Mar 09, 2017

Be strong and let no one take advantage of you cause you and every women are beautiful. Keep faith in our heavenly Father.

helen.ng
Mar 11, 2017
Mar 11, 2017

This is such a beautiful and empowering piece of writing. It's so great to see how you came to love and accept your body for what it looks like, and not let it define you. You are such a strong role model for women and girls around the world.

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Mar 24, 2017
Mar 24, 2017

Dear Sharmila

This is uplifting. Thank you for sharing. This is very important especially for us women. We need to learn to love the way we look so that with a high esteem we can do anything. Once our esteem is low, we  are broken and depressed. 

This is something that we need to start teaching the little girls so that they are more confident in life.

Thanks again and stay blessed.

jwhybl
May 15, 2017
May 15, 2017

Thank you for sharing.  I certainly spend much more time criticizing & shaming my body than embracing it & appreciating all that it affords me.  Your story is a great reminder to love ourselves, inside & out ... to focus on the positives & be good to myself.  And especially now that I have a young daughter, I need to set an example to her of loving herself & seeing her beauty at all times & in all shapes & sizes.