A Letter to My Body – Part 1

Earlier this year, blogher.com invited its members to compose letters addressed to their own bodies. It doesn’t look like the site has had an overwhelming number of takers, but I’m certainly intrigued by the concept. (AMENDED! There is a HUGE list of takers! I’m #140 – just scroll to the bottom of the blogher page that I’ve linked to above to read some astonishing letters.)

When I was in middle school – a supersmart goody-two-shoes suffocating under the awkward bloat of adolescence – I would daydream about being a disembodied brain. I knew I was smart, and I knew that intelligence had enduring value. But faced with physical tasks, any trace of self-confidence vanished. I hated gym, never participated in any sports, and nearly barfed the first time I was made to run a mile. Couldn’t I just put my brain in a jar? Couldn’t I just discard the cumbersome shell of my body and let my powerful intellect roam unencumbered? I remember being terrified of French kissing my first boyfriend because I just couldn’t stand myself. I didn’t want to get that intimate with someone else because it meant acknowledging the importance of my own body. I simply wasn’t ready to do that.

I feel quite differently now. I still struggle – almost daily – to push down the self-loathing. But on the days when that destructive little tide ebbs back far enough, I sometimes see a body in the mirror that doesn’t make me wish to jar my brain and abandon ship. Sometimes.

I think I’ll write that body a letter. Anyone care to join me?

(Image courtesy www.eslpod.com)

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5 Responses to “A Letter to My Body – Part 1”

  1. jazzjune

    I know just what you mean! I middle school I was referred to as “Pat” by the less kind boys in my class, for the androgynous character on Saturday Night Live. The reason? I was a girl and I had short hair. I hated how I looked so much.

    Interestingly enough, my response to not liking my appearance was more along the lines of “join every sport I can, so shut my mom up about me needing to lose weight”. After going undefeated for a few tournaments on the wrestling team, the boys shut up about my appearance. It was fun!

    Writing that body a letter might not be such a bad idea…

  2. Jello on Springs

    Great post, i’ve struggled with self-loathing pretty much my whole life, i like to think that i don’t do it anymore but it totally creeps on me still sometimes. It’s just hard to completely embrace yourself when you were seen as a big ugly duckling most of your life. And the whole bit with you french kissing your first boyfriend made me chuckle a bit because it reminded me of my first kiss or my first attempt. I actually moved my head out of the way and the boy almost fell forward. I was just so scared. I was like someone wants to kiss meee?

  3. enc

    Gosh, what a great topic. I was petrified of my first kiss, refused BP when he wanted to do it. I hated running the 600, let alone the mile.

    I think my body deserves a Thank You note. On Crane’s.

    Nice one, Sal.

  4. Sal

    Thanks for your kind words, ladiez. How funny to learn that my kissing fears were shared!

    Also, I can’t BELIEVE I missed the enormous list of bloggers who participated in the Letter to My Body project. Gotta go revise my post …

  5. Imogen Lamport

    Before I step naked into the shower each day, I see my body in the mirror, and I tell myself that I love my body and that it is beautiful.

    I’m working on the premise that by being in the habit of seeing myself naked and not having instant thoughts of self-loathing, but instead self-love, it will help me adjust my body image.