a love letter to my body

The following is my contribution to a synchroblog (a blog calling multiple people to write about the same topic) hosted by SheLoves Magazine called A Love Letter To My Body. Women from all walks of life have been writing and sharing their incredible love letters. 

This is mine.
 --   --   --  

Dear Body,

It's so easy for me to talk about all the things I don't like about you. I could do that without even thinking. Thighs. Stomach. Skin. Hair. Teeth. Feet. Fingernails. There's always something, isn't there? Something you are doing wrong. Something I can't wait to tear down and criticize and be disgusted with. Something I absolutely cannot stand about you. 

Because I've always wanted to change you. Because I've never known you to be synonymous with beauty. Because no one around me that was beautiful ever looked like you. This mulatto, wild-haired, freckled, curvy thing drowning in a sea of white, blonde, skinny, and perfect. You never stood a chance. 

But please trust me when I say that I was wrong about you. So wrong. I projected my insecurities onto you. I wasted so much time loathing you and cursing you. I spilled tears and ugly words all over you. I tore off little pieces of my heart and gave them to any guy that would tell me all the things about you that I never believed.

What I did believe were the lies in the changing of channels, the turning of glossy pages, the constant barrage of images and not-so-subliminal messages that told me I would never be good enough as long as I was in this body.  And I hated you for it.

But despite my cruelty and disrespect you have been so gracious. And you have given me so much.

These legs that I always thought were too long. That have walked along the Great Wall of China. That have hoisted you up onto the back of a camel at the base of the Pyramids of Giza. That have wandered through the gardens at Versailles and stood under the Eiffel Tower.

These hips that I always thought were too wide. That have stayed up all hours of the night dancing with abandon. That will one day balance my babies as I attempt to be superwoman. That make me feel like a goddess in a tight dress.  

These lips that I always thought were too full. That have spoken truth and wisdom and counsel when needed. That have whispered confessions of love in the dark. That responded to the call, "You may now kiss the bride."

This stomach that I always thought was too big. That still gets butterflies when my husband looks at me that way. That feels so good when I can't stop laughing. That will one day make room for another life.  

This blood that I always thought was too confusing. That is on the right side of history. That is a testament to courage and justice and redemption. That allows my heart to beat with some and bleed for others. 

I look in the mirror and I don't see perfection. But I see you. And that's enough for me. And I have this husband now. He looks at you and smiles at you and wants you and praises you and affirms all the things about you that I should have known all along: that you are wonderful and rebellious and strong and unmistakeably beautiful. 

This body. My body.  That was formed from dust and breath and love. We have only just begun.