Why am I writing a letter to my body? Because I've finally been learning what it really means to listen to my body, and in the spirit of Valentine's Day, I figured what better time to really appreciate the home God has built for me. So, here it goes...
Hi. I don't really know where to begin - with the apologies, with the thanks, with appreciation for our memories together - because we've been doing life together for over nineteen years. Well, I guess it's more correct to attribute life to YOU because how else would I have done anything? So, yeah, I'll begin with the memories :)
Remember when I was about seven years old and we finally synchronized enough so that I could stay balanced on my bike for more than three seconds? We had just gotten home from the grocery store with Mom and Ben and I jumped on my bike (to avoid unloading groceries) to give it one last try after weeks of frustration, and before I knew it, Ben was calling out, "Mom! Mom! Haley's riding and staying up!!!" Thanks for sparking one of my first moments of real accomplishment.
Remember when I had to keep pulling teeth out for a few years? Ugh, that sucked. I'm sorry for that pain. And for the dentist appointments..
Remember when I discovered how much you love to dance? Even though we weren't amazingly flexible or strong or slim as the other girls, I could feel the passion you poured out through me each time a song came on.
Remember the first time we actually went for a run? Dad was with us and we went for a three-miler around our neighborhood and through the park before dinner. You loved it, and I became addicted, too. And I think this brings me to the apologies...
I'm sorry for stuffing you with preservative-filled, greasy, synthetic "foods" like buffalo chicken wings, fatty ice cream, sugary candy bars, and, perhaps worst of all, all of those processed meats and cheeses that sent my tastebuds to heaven when I was younger. I have no idea how I ignored your rejections of those foods, and I'm so sorry for forcing you to attempt to digest those and use them for the energy I expected from you.
I'm sorry for all the late-nights and early-mornings, and for the sickness that followed. We were both obviously tired, but I prioritized the demands of my social life or my grades over your need for rest and nutrition.
I'm sorry for the sore, achey muscles, for not stretching after workouts, for the shin splints, for the pulled muscles. I was taking care of you by exercising, but forgetting a critical piece of the picture.
I'm sorry for allowing the magazines and websites and pictures of other girls to influence my opinion of your beauty. I'm sorry for thinking that they were perfect, and that you were anything less. I'm sorry for pressuring you to drastically change the way God shaped you so that I felt beautiful through the eyes of others.
Most of all, I'm so deeply sorry for putting you through hell and back for three years - for starving you, for exhausting you, for ignoring you, day in and day out. I'm sorry that I threatened your health and your longevity because I wanted you to fit into a certain jean size. I'm sorry that my pride got in the way of restoring my mind more quickly so that I could treat you the way you deserved to be treated. I'm sorry that I dictated what you needed and didn't need, like I knew all the answers to my health problems. I'm sorry that I pushed your limits so hard for so long.
And I'll begin the "thank-you's" with this - thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for enduring, for withstanding. Thank you for not breaking down, but also thank you for speaking up loud enough to grab my attention before it was too late.
Thank you for loving me and taking care of me when those were the last items on my To-Do List.
Thank you for running all those miles, for dancing your a** off to all those songs, for sitting still when I needed you to, and for telling me to sit still when you needed that from me. Thank you for humbly, kindly making your desires and cravings and basic needs clear to me. Thank you for belly-rumbling laughter - that's probably one of my favorite of your talents :)
Thank you for being here still. Thank you for walking, running, dancing, biking, swimming, weight-lifting, hiking, laughing (and the list goes on) our way through 19+ years of life. You're one of the biggest blessings God placed in my life, and I'm speechless as to where I'd be without you. I'm speechless in awe of your talents, determination, humility, and strength.
Oh, and I LOVE YOU! I promise to love you even more than I ever have. Let's keep doing life together, what do you say? :)
Hungry Haley, your best friend