Thank you, thighs.
Sixteen year-old me would have never dreamed I’d one day appreciate you. I’ve always thought of you as a tad oversized. Thirty or so years ago, I was consistently pissed that you wouldn’t fit well into a reasonably sized pair of Levi’s 501s. Today, it was your muscle and sinew and bone that carried me across the finish line of my latest half marathon.
While we’re at it, I’d like to say thanks to you heart and lungs. I don’t know why you’ve stuck it out all these years, and done so well, but I appreciate it. I would like to apologize for my lack of attention to nutrition and fitness earlier in life and any effect it may have had on you.
There aren’t any words to explain the smoking thing, guys. I apologize profusely for that and promise to let a good long time pass before you ever have to deal with that nonsense ever again. I would say ‘you’ll never have to deal with it again,’ but I made a deal with frontal cortex: if we all last another four and a half decades, we give ourselves permission to pick the habit back up (between you and me, lungs, it’s likely that frontal cortex will be slowing down by then. She’ll probably forget our promise in favor of taking up puzzles with cats on them or something. I wouldn’t worry).
Thank you abdominal area and everything in it for continuing to function and for making room for two very healthy babies. I don’t hold a grudge about the fact that a good portion of you resembles the foil covering of a Jiffy Pop popcorn pan. I wasn’t all that into bikinis anyway, and the desire for a belly ring was only a phase.
Oh, and spine, you’ve been such a trooper through all the carrying and bending and lifting and stuff. I haven’t been all that good to you, I know. I promise to pay attention to my posture from here on out, and to do a core workout once in a while.
Jeez, skin. I’m really, really sorry for that whole decade or so where I wanted you to be something other than what you are, which is a fair, freckled, pale pink tribute to Scotch/Irish heritage. I appreciate that you take after my mom’s side of the family in retaining some of your youthful elasticity. I promise to continue to see the dermatologist on a regular basis and wear sunscreen every day for the rest of my life. I don’t think either of us need any more of that basal-cell baloney. Sheesh.
Overall, you guys, we make a pretty good team. I know a younger me thought all of us together should more closely resemble the figures I saw in magazines or in cheerleader uniforms. Honestly, I didn’t like how some of you jiggled or pushed against the seams. I failed to be impressed by your functionality; even through all the neglect and abuse I put you through.
Now, I feel pretty silly for that sixteen year-old’s perspective. I’d like to go back and tell me how awesome it’s going to be, one day, when I can will myself down a steep ski hill, or across the starting line of a race my brain is going to insist should not be run. I want to tell me that someday, a doctor will lay a squirming baby on my stomach, a baby that came out of a body that had only recently started to impress me with its ability to perform miracles. I want to tell sixteen year-old me to stop looking in the mirror and get out and move and experience with all my senses what we all can do together.
I want to tell sixteen year-old me to say thank you more often, to appreciate the health and strength and durability that we had even then.
Except you, hair. I’m sorry, I have not grown to appreciate you. I don’t think I ever will. You’re just going to have to live with that.
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A love letter to yourself! Wonderful. I wish it didn\’t take us all so long to appreciate who we are at this age.
Well, you know, it\’s more of a \”like letter,\” but better late than never.
Well said. There are things today I have a deep appreciation for that at 16 I hated about myself and what I believed was a disadvantage but along the way things reveal themselves to become advantages and strengths. Makes me more excited about the future and what’s next. Keep mumbling, I\’m listening .
Thanks, my friend. Interesting to think that our body image might still be evolving.