A love letter to my body.

  Photo by  Kacey Anisa Stamats .

I asked a couple clients to write love letters to their bodies, so I figured it was only fair for me to take the plunge as well. This is the result. Content warning: skin-picking, diarrhea, vagina stuff. Please please do not reply with medical advice.

Dear Body,

You magnificent beast. You infuriating creature. No, that’s not fair. What’s infuriating is what I do to you. You, my body, you are perfect.

To my skin: For as long as I can remember, I have clawed at you with my fingernails. Eczema and anxiety led to an early habit of scratching my arms that has lasted into my thirties. I don’t need the excuse of an eczema outbreak to scratch you, though; I just scratch. I scratch more when I’m stressed, but I also just scratch whenever. I scratch because I’m in the bathroom and I’m seeing my knees for the first time all day and apparently they need to be scratched just for existing. I scratch when I see a bug in the kitchen. I scratch because it’s Tuesday. I just scratch.

Not only do I scratch, but I PICK! I pick and pop absolutely all of the zits that show up, especially on my back. I pick my pimples into scabs. And when I can finally leave the scabs alone long enough to heal, the scars are dark - for awhile. But over time, they always, always fade away.

By rights, I scratch and pick so much I shouldn’t have any skin left. And yet, you keep healing. 

You keep closing up the little cuts. You keep collaborating with the creams and lotions I put on you to keep the irritation down. You keep recovering and recovering from the constant trauma I inflict on your beautiful skin.

How did I get so lucky?

Now that I am making the deepest, most committed effort of my life to stop the scratching, to stopping whenever I catch myself scratching and holding my right thumb with my left hand and closing my eyes and breathing deeply, suddenly my skin doesn’t feel like a cage anymore. Suddenly I'm having way less eczema breakouts. Suddenly I see what we could’ve had all along together, and I’m heartbroken that I didn’t fight for it sooner. And yet, I know you forgive me, as you forgive everything.

To my bowels: For reasons that continue to elude me, you shit swamp water on a regular basis. My diarrhea has been unstoppable, even when I gave up coffee. For about six months, I thought I had kicked it by starting my day with a cup of hydrated chia seeds, apple cider vinegar, and greens powder; then, for no apparent reason, it came back. I tried a “gut healthy” smoothie in the morning with lots of protein and good fat, and the diarrhea just got worse. So finally I decided “fuck it” and figured, if I was just going to have diarrhea anyway, then I was going to have what I wanted for breakfast - fried eggs and toast with butter. And that’s when the diarrhea stopped. Until it started again.

And yet, how can I be mad at you for that? You’re just trying to communicate with me, to tell me that something is wrong; and I, boneheaded, just keep fumbling around in the dark. I’m sorry that I don’t know what you want. I’m sorry that I keep letting you down. But I thank you for always, always rebounding from the disruption and getting me through another day. I hope one day that my stomach and I can be friends.

And speaking of my stomach - oh, my darling, how effing gorgeous you are. Your softness and your stretch marks left me disoriented and ashamed after the birth of my son, and that wasn’t fair to you. You did exactly what you were designed to do. You expanded to hold a whole second person; you made sure both of us were nourished. You deserve to take up all the space you fucking need. I love you, tummy. 

To my pussy: where do I even begin?! Whether it’s orgasms and rainbows, or yeast infections and UTIs, you and I have been through EVERYTHING together. Thank you for expanding to release my son, and for healing when you were sewn back up. Thank you for bringing me endless pleasure over the years. Thank you for your resilience. I’m sorry that sex still hurts sometimes. I’m sorry that the hormones from my IUD make you itchy sometimes. I’m sorry for all the trauma and bad sex you’ve endured over the years. I love your happy little clitoris that used to give me orgasms just from grinding with someone on the dance floor; I love your weird-ass lopsided labia minora. You’re fucking perfect.

To my muscles: I neglected you for years, but when I started a regular yoga practice almost a year ago, you showed up for me. You support me when I do a handstand against the wall. You hold me upright when I try to keep my balance in high lunge (mostly). You bike me from Astoria to LIC. And when I lie horizontal for days on end, you bounce back and ambulate me around, powering me through long walks and long days. Even when you’re sore or out of practice, you don’t quit. You seem almost eager to help me out.

I could go on and on. To my bones, to my breasts, to my back, to my hands, to my cells, to my heart and lungs. But it would all just be variations on the same theme, which is:

You show the fuck up for me. Always. Without exception. Even when you do something that frustrates me or makes me feel out of control, it’s always, always because you’re trying to tell me something. You show the fuck up for me 100% of the time.

And I know I don’t always show up for you, and I’m sorry.

I promise to do better. 

I promise to feed you more vegetables and water. I promise to move you around at least once a day, in a way that is FUN. I’m promising this in front of all the people reading this, so now I have to do it. 

You do everything for me, body. So I’m gonna try to do more for you.

Thank you. 

With endless love and gratitude,
Mariah

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