Body, you’ve copped a lot of crap but please forgive me
Dear body, I’m writing to say sorry. You’ve copped a right hammering over the years. Honestly, you could take yourself off to a home for battered bodies, on account of the physical and emotional abuse you’ve endured.
Sure, I’ve never cut you, starved you or shoved heroin into you. But there’s something pretty ugly about constantly comparing you and always finding you wanting. Slimmer, more sculpted, wider-eyed, smaller-nosed, longer-limbed, more honey-toned, less freckly, less spotted, less wrinkled, less… just less, freakin’ less of you. Especially you, thighs – you’ve ruined my life.
For a long time, I thought I was the only one haranguing you for your inadequacies. Turns out, we’re all at it.
A new study has revealed that 85 per cent of us are our own worst beauty critic. One in four of us would surgically upholster or deflate our boobs and 40 per cent regard a bit of a nip, tuck and suck as the best way to “improve body confidence”.
Ha, I bet you’re glad I’m such a pansy about pain. Remember when I pleaded with the obstetrician to fashion me ear plugs, so terrified was I of the sound of the caesarean scalpel?
Anyway, body, you’ve stoically soldiered on for four decades now, so it’s high time we made our peace. Here goes.
Sorry for the years I tortured you in the gym and rewarded you with half a cup of biodynamic yoghurt and a bunch of steamed spinach.
Apologies for shoving a couple of Bloody Marys and a Cosmopolitan down you and calculating that they constituted five fruit and veg (2 x tomato, 2 x celery, 1 x lime).
And sorry – shamefully so – for the time I denuded you of pubic hair.
There’s more: the colonic irrigation (admittedly, for an article, but what pea-brained part of me thought this would be a fun way to expel last night’s dinner?), the cellulite massage (panel-beating at its least effective), the watercress soup diet (oh, joy) and that dignified mid-labour outburst (“What? Sixteen hours and you’ve only dilated three bloody centimetres?”) - I blame the drugs.
The truth is, body, you’ve done me proud. Haven’t we achieved some stuff? The half-marathon. The blinder of a goal we scored at hockey the other week. A childhood of daily swim training, the legacy of which makes me happier in the sea than anywhere else.
You’ve also rocked some frocks. Remember the black dress in Rome? And the man who removed it in the attic room overlooking the Piazza di Spagna? The champagne, the fat Sicilian olives and, later, the bare-footed walk to the Trevi Fountain? You were luminous with love that night. Not that I told you.
More than anything, thank you for the babies. That beautiful midnight drive through the silent streets knowing that when the pain passed, life would never be the same again.
Thank you for the first one, with her father’s periwinkle eyes, and the second, delivered on my birthday, so wherever she wanders in the world, we’ll be linked in ink on the calendar.
Body, at worst, I’ve treated you with cruelty and contempt. At best, I’ve taken you for granted. I should’ve been awed by your strength, resilience and daily amazing-ness. Take my heart – beat, beat, beat. Never misses.
You’ll inevitably succumb one day (please, may it be decades from now), but until then, I promise to appreciate and honour all that you are and all that you do. With love, Angela.
P.S. I’ll try harder to remember the fish oil.
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