I owe you an apology.
I have not been kind to you. In fact, I have been abusive. I have ridiculed you, said horrific things to you, looked at you with disgust, and torn you down - to say the least. I have starved you, denied you, deprived you and pushed you through injury and fatigue, all in an effort to get you to a place where I could finally accept you. I couldn't tell you that you were beautiful unless you met the standards I bought into. I'm so sorry.
I have carried you around with shame, out of an intense fear of having someone else point out our imperfections - to point out that we don't measure up. I have mocked you and made fun of you in front of others as a way to acknowledge that I knew you weren't acceptable. After all, it's my responsibility to do everything I possibly can to make sure that you do measure up - that I am trying to perfect you. You know how careless words of criticism have affected me deeply, but it's no excuse. We are a team and I have let you down. I have not stood my ground.
I have not honoured you.
It has been a long journey, and I have been getting a little better, I know you've noticed. Today, though, I am starting a new chapter in our relationship - one where we work together and I stop fretting about perfection. I can't exactly say that I feel thankful for those stretch marks climbing up my hips or the cellulite in my thighs, or the bulging veins in my legs or the lesions psoriasis leaves in its wake. I'm not particularly fond of wrinkled skin, bags under my eyes, and squishy fat spilling out over my jeans, but that's only because I have listened to the wrong voices for far too long. And when clothes don't fit you right in the stores, that's not your fault - it's an industry trying to fit each unique body with a one size fits all. I will choose now to see that all of these "imperfections" are marks of a life in progress - a body that has been on an adventure! You are not disgusting and I refuse to tell you that any longer.
Today, I choose to thank God, our Creator, for how marvellous He has made you. I thank Him for His mind-blowing creativity in how He designed you. I thank Him for how He has given me the gift of you, a housing for my soul, a vessel to journey with. I turn my eyes to Him with gratitude for feet that hike through forests, arms that embrace our friends, eyes that see in colour, ears that hear soul-stirring music, legs that run and leap and climb, hips that help carry heavy loads and help us to dance with a little more flair, hands that paint and play instruments and give awesome high fives, a mouth with which to speak and kiss and sing, lungs to breathe, a heart that pumps away, skin that allows us to feel each touch and sweat through a workout, a stomach that allows us to eat food for fuel, and muscles that help us do it all! And body, I'm just getting started!! You are quite remarkable.
You have been marvellously made.
I have not honoured you or the One who has given you to me. I will take better care of you, nourishing and nurturing you. I will carry you with pride, awe and gratitude. And be prepared, I know there will be setbacks. I know that I may critically glance at you in the mirror, feeling the pressure to make you more "perfect" than you already are. But I am committed to fighting for you now, for honouring you and loving you. You are my friend, not my enemy. We are in this together - I get that now.