As we approach the end of another year, I can say I am thankful for a number of things in my life: the love and support my family provides, the fact that my loved ones and I are healthy, my wealth of opportunities, and the chance to write these words right now, even though My body and soul has never before felt so exposed and emotionally naked in front of my laptop screen’s artificial blue light. I have no doubt that this has been a truly good year because it has taught me harsh truths and shown me a promising glimpse of the person I am capable of becoming.
However, most of all, I am thankful for this body that my soul calls “home.”
It is hard and sad to admit that for far too many years I have mistreated and abused my body in more ways than one. Though I have never put it through physical violence or inflicted intentional wounds upon it, my body has seen its fair share of undeserved, often grotesque treatment.
But, as I lie down, covered in sweat and out of breath on the gym floor, I could not help but feel thankful for this body, which has stuck with me through thick and thin for 24 years. I thought of all the moments when I wished I could maybe just exchange it for a different one and how much easier my life would be if I indeed had a different body. All the moments when I felt miserable seeing this person looking back at me in the mirror and not being able to accept her and all the hours spent obsessing over my flaws consumed me. However, I’ve now come to love and cherish these flaws as best as I can.
Love-hate relationships with our own bodies are common. We all struggle with body image, no matter our social background, our gender, or our age. This sometimes unbearable relationship prevails for most of our lives, and sadly, it only ends when we reach the end of our existences on this Earth. As we approach our final years of life, we begin to see the true beauty of our freckled, wrinkled skin. But, by then, it is too late.
However, I am making a lifelong resolution, which I will try my hardest to keep.
I am drawing a line in this desert of endless suffering and guilt-tripping I have called “life” for too long. This is me making a commitment to this body to treat it with the kindness, love, and gentleness it has deserved all along; a commitment to think before I mistreat or punish my body for something that it did not do.
I cannot control what others think or say about my body.
I also cannot apologize for how others have insulted it. But, I can control what I think and say about myself. I can control how I look at my body and how I decide to treat it. I can apologize for my own actions against it. So, I am making a commitment to use my power for good, not for evil. Others spew far too much evil and hatred, so what good is it if I do the same?
This year, I am thankful for my body because it is stronger and smarter than I will ever be. My body made a commitment to me the day I was born, and it has never broken its promise to carry me no matter the circumstances. This year, I am thankful that my body has stayed healthy and beautiful, in spite of all the harm I’ve inflicted upon it. I have not been deserving of this body until this very moment; this moment when my eyes filled with tears and the weight of past mistakes lifted off of my chest; this moment when I whispered to this shell I call home, “You are not a burden and you never were; you are a blessing and a force to be reckoned with.”