I don’t know what you did to deserve the hurtful words that I dish out at you ev-er-y day. You’ve been getting a lot of smack from me lately, and so I owe you an apology. For the past 10 years – ten years! – we’ve had an unstable relationship. I pick you apart like you’re a machine without a heart, imagining you to look like a manufactured, plastic Barbie doll that was created on a conveyer belt, flawless and identical to the rest. That isn’t reality though; I have a heart, a strong heart, and the degrading thoughts that sprint through my head at race pace do nothing but punch weakness into my heart.
A freckle, two freckles…1,001 freckles, scars – a new one every month or two – tan lines that cease to disappear, callused feet, and unusual orange palms. I label these “imperfections”, as if they should be distinguished with Post-It notes and marked #1…#2. I wasn’t born into the world “perfect”, so why after 22 years of living life, should I expect you to show no signs of life… of experience, of what makes me, Hillary?
Can I not be thankful, grateful, and appreciative that you carried me through a life-threatening illness at the age of seven for a reason, that you’ve allowed me to run thousands of miles on this beautiful planet – including 5 memorable half-marathons – and that you have the leg muscles to show for it? Can I not be thankful that your laugh is contagious and makes any stranger around you smile?
Do I really need to yell at you for indulging in a chunk of 73% dark chocolate smeared with almond butter after eating tuna and raw carrot sticks? Is it necessary for me to allow “your gravitational number” to dictate my innocent days that are worthy of happiness in more ways than one?
You’ve gotten a lot of shit (excuse me) from me throughout my adolescent years, as I dealt with hormonal changes, relationships, anger, sadness, and fear. I’ve thrown restrictive diets at you, from one week to next, and I’ve held you hostage at the gym well past your limit.
Can I not see that the only way you will succeed and survive a long, healthy life is if I feed you with positivity, trust, and love? You aren’t getting any younger. Your 12-year-old physique of a gymnast and a swimmer can only be seen in Mom’s treasured photo albums.
As much as I’d like to say our relationship with be all roses from here on out, I am smart enough to know our issues can’t be mended with a single stitch. Hopefully, sooner than late, I will come to peace with the reality that as life changes, you will change too. You might not understand why I fuel you with chia seeds, ancient grains, and dark leafy greens. You more than likely question why we circle the track and hang out upside down on the yoga mat week in and week out. I will tell you… it’s out of love.
Thank you, Body, for sticking by my side… for allowing me to tear you down and always picking me back up.
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If this post surprised you, please do not be alarmed. This is something I’ve wanted to write for a while. If you weren’t aware, I am guarded by some brick-thick walls, and along with learning to live, I’ve been working on chipping away at those walls. The only way to do that, I’ve figured, is by being vulnerable. It’s scary, and nerving, but perhaps by using my inner strength to come out of my hard shell, I can help others (you?) appreciate our individual beauty and make more of our days happy ones.