Letters to our Bodies
We get so caught up in our daily routines that we forget how important it is to appreciate our body. Given that we are only given one physical body, we owe it to ourselves to take adequate care of it.
Women, on the other hand, are regularly exposed to body shaming, either by males or by other women. Whether we’re thin, chubby, tall, or short, we’ve all been subjected to body shaming in some way or another at some point in our lives. We’d like to voice out against body shaming in honor of Women’s Month, which finishes today. It’s terrible to have to deal with body shaming, especially with the insecurities that we have as women.
In today’s post, we write a letter to share our experiences. From our series “Conversations with Nsatu and Lebo,” we would like to unpack our truest, sincerest, and deepest feelings towards our bodies. Like in our first series, we’ll be tackling issues from both sides of the coin (Un) Employment in the pandemic – 🇿🇦 versus 🇿🇲. I’ll start with a letter of apology. And my lovely Nsatu, on the other hand, would also write her experiences as we confront some of the pains we never dealt with growing up. Check out her amazing, colorful site, where she primarily posts lovely poems and many more here. We hope that these letters will serve as a constant reminder to respect and love our bodies as they are. This way, there will be no need to feel like we are body shamed.
Ladies and gentlemen, let’s get real!!
A letter of Apology to my body.
First and foremost, please accept my apologies for not loving you enough. I was a small child who was taught that my long, lanky legs were a problem. My peers would tease my legs when I was innocently playing on the streets.
I didn’t think you were lovely when I was a kid. I didn’t ‘dislike’ you, but I was content with the fact that I wasn’t the most attractive person in the room. Everyone looked up to my confidence as an A-student, but no one realized that I didn’t think you were beautiful. Internally, I mocked, teased, reprimanded, and poked fun at you. I was fighting an internal battle alone, and no one knew about it.
I apologize for the years when I had pimples on my face and could not look in the mirror.
My low self-esteem was reflected in the mirror. My large nose, lips, and lengthy neck bothered me. Do you recall in school when one of the boys in the class was mocked for his big nose?
And called him ‘Mr. Nose’?
I used to be afraid that they’d refer to me as ‘Miss Nose’ because of my big nose. I was only fortunate because I was bright in school and was well-liked by most people. Otherwise, I would have been a victim as well.
I did not feed you for days, not because I was on a spiritual quest or a fast, I only wanted you to get tinier than you were.
I saw beauty differently.
All in the name of pleasing others as you went through hell.
My unreasonable expectations overshadowed the compliments you received. I would stay home at times, refusing to engage or attend any events because I was tired of comparing you to others.
I have never been a fan of clothes that showed off the thighs or the tummy. *big sigh*, now that I think about it. Could it be that my self-esteem was so low that I could not even wear something too revealing? Was I so self-conscious that I buried my long cute legs behind long dresses?
Please accept my apologies if such was the case. I promise to do better from now on.
I would slice my finger while slicing vegetables for a salad, and would not go to the doctor because I knew you’d heal yourself.
You stayed up with me late at night studying and then accompanied me to the exam room, where you aided me without any problems till I finished. The migraines and anxiety endorphins I occasionally experienced served as a continual reminder of how much I took you for granted. People have had strokes and other bodily ailments that required them to be admitted to hospitals. I was lucky that you never let me down, yet I still overworked you.
Please accept my apologies, my beloved body. I am willing to do right by you.
I pledge to stare at you in the mirror every day from now on and tell you how lovely you are and how much I love you despite your shortcomings.
You are the most remarkable thing to ever happen to me. Please forgive me for not being a good steward.
A Thank You Letter to my body.
When Lebo and I brainstormed on writing a letter to my body- my immediate thought was to apologize to my body. I love to express myself through poetry, so it is in form of a poem. However, I just thought that I should add a word or two and paint a picture of my experience.
I have always been a chubby kid and now a plus-size woman. At first, I did not struggle with any insecurity as I was just a kid, living life as it came.
But my God, society and the people it comes with, lol. I had strangers, loved ones, and the most random people always commenting on my weight (Most still do, but I am stronger now and more confident about my beauty to not let it affect me as much), Before long, I was always trying out the next diet or exercise to just shed off as much as I could.
I did not realize then how much of my mental well-being was being affected, and how my confidence would be rocked because of the various comments. I mean, I was just a young girl! Weight should be the last thing anyone should bring to my innocent mind – but the world is not that kind.
I distinctively remember this one time, while taking a break from my boarding school, I was just from writing my9th-grade examination.
An older woman from my church walked up to me after service, exclaimed at how much I had gained weight (she skipped asking me how I was or how school or life or anything was going but decided the weight was the topic she would bring out in such a negative way to a young teenager).
She went to pass comments about how she wondered if I had aced my exams or I had spent the time there just eating and sleeping. As fate may have it, I did exceptionally well in my exams, and years later, she asked me to mentor her daughter.
She probably does not remember that incident, but I do. Years later. So please, be kind to people, especially children. Many insecurities are birthed and are hard to deal with when the body is constantly criticized-even as a joke.
If you do not know how to tread the lines here is one simple rule you can go about: DO NOT TALK ABOUT PEOPLE’S WEIGHT to them brothers’ just do not do it.
And now, this poem is dedicated to everyone who who is like me, has had their body go through so much with little recognition and appreciation. Show your body some love. It does a lot for you.
The carrier of my beating heart
The facilitator of my existence
Giving me the beat of life
You are… melodious
Through arms and legs
You facilitate my movements
Making my environment accessible
You are… helpful
The placement of my mouth
The channel through which I am fed, the platform through which I speak
Giving me the strength I need to exist and words I need to manifest
You are… divine
Your beauty and splendor fill me with joy
How imperfectly perfect you are
The tenacity of your being – the capacity to hold me together
You are… important.
For the times I try to change and manipulate who you are
For the times I look in the mirror and feel you’re not good enough
For the times I clothe you with adornments and seek external beautifications
For the times I suggest that your beauty requires enhancement
For the many dietary pl, and I put you through
That you are beautiful, ALWAYS BEAUTIFUL, just the way you are.
In the comments section, express an apology and words of gratitude to your body in a few lines. Have you appreciated your body enough? What are you apologizing for?
You can write a complete post if you can, An Apology and a Thank-you letter to your body. Please ping us with your letters so that we can see them. We’d love to read, share, and comment on your articles.
Ladies, I SO relate with both your struggles. Infact its taken me REALLY long to just look at the mirror and not hate myself. I hate how much people put an emphasis on how you look outside.
I hate it more that these days trolls on the internet pretend to be well meaning when they comment rude things on bigger bodied people like ‘you’ll die of a heart attack if you don’t lose weight’. I literally read this comment on a YouTubers video and wanted to just transport my self to where this troll was and beat him/her up!
We are ALL beautiful the way we were. We haven’t been given this life to spend every day feeling bad that we aren’t perfect.
To my body, I want to say – thank you for keeping me alive through a pandemic, thank you for healing yourself, thank you for all that you do for me. I am sorry that I didn’t love you before but I do now and I promise to take care of you till we part this earth. <3