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In which I write a love letter (to my own body)

Dear Body,

Hello, lovely.

Isn’t it funny how it’s taken my lifetime to call you lovely? And mean it? And see it? And know it?

You’ve always been lovely, strong one.

It took me too long to notice.

But here, now, let me just say it and then, like a prophet, let me believe it, and live into the truth of it every day: I’m thankful for you. And I love you.

I’m thankful for the freckles scattered, for how they speak of my summer days at a cold prairie lake, and my redheaded dad. I’m thankful for the bend in the bridge of my small nose, bent on a bunk bed frame. I’m thankful for the grey hairs stubbornly reappearing, and the decided line to the left corner of my mouth, I’ve always started to smile a bit crooked, and now it shows, bless you. Thank you for the small scar on my wrist, from that time when it was scratched on a door handle, you remember that time, oh, yes, making out with that boy in high school, and the chicken pox scar on my left hand. Thank you for the ease of my skin and the stretch marks, thank you for these too-big-for-fashion breasts, they have satisfied the ones I love best. Thank you for my height, rooted, and thank you for my arched eyebrows, I’ll give you a high-five and a good-on-ya because we’ve never had to pluck and that’s all on you. And thank you for this small pointed chin, and thank you for my hands, they are starting to look like Mum-hands, and I rejoice in their hard worn strength. Thank you for my legs, for my womb, for my heart still pumping the blood of pioneers longing for a bigger sky. And thank you for my knees, how they bend easily, at last, to Creator, and thank you for these eyes that see beauty in the strangest places, for the mother-blue of them, and thank you for the very physical and very real self of it all, thank you for helping me to worship and see and know beyond my brain and my heart, and reminding me that this, the created self is good. And thank you for good hard work like birth, because otherwise, I might not have ever known how capable and strong and life-giving you are, and I look at these babies you’ve carried, and I remember the smell and heft of them on my chest, on my soft belly, the very second that they emerged from my own body, gulping air, blinking in surprise at life, and I remember how I knew that they were good, good, good, and this thing that I had done, this was good, too. And we were all restored to joy, again and again, because I couldn’t stop laughing, every time I gave birth, when it was over, I laughed and laughed in relief and wonder, ancient Sarah, God laughs here at promises fulfilled.

I’ve learned at last to be gentle with you, Body. Gentle with my words, gentle with my thoughts, gentle even with my hands, here, let me put some sunscreen on you. I’ll be kind to you.

I’m sure now that this is the body I have and this is the body I will have and this is the body I always had, and this is how I am going through life, with you, and we forever putting one foot in front of another, lungs filling with the glorious miracle of dust breathing.

I like you better now, than I did when you were lithe and younger, with a concave stomach, in those days, I only saw your imperfections and I hid you, ashamed of my very physical self, very real, undignified self. Now, I laugh, an understanding and tender sort of chuckle. I wish I had worn more bikinis in those days, and I wear my bathing suit at the pool, in front of God and everybody, and I get my hair wet, and I put on red lipstick, and I’m quick to kiss, to turn over and say yes, to reach out my hands, to touch, I honour you.

So here, let’s settle on down, let’s be young and strong a bit longer, let’s run, let’s walk, let’s breathe a bit longer and then let’s age beautifully and tragically together. Let the heft of the baby on your hip be enough, let the moment of holding a sleepy sun-drained babe with tired eyes to your breast, the moment when you are feeding her body and soul, enough. Let your back be bare to your husband, change with the lights on and send saucy glances over your left shoulder at the man you taught how to unhook a bra. Put lotion on your thighs and bless them, eat food that makes you roll your eyes back in your head with a groan of delight, hug, touch, wonder at your own muscles and sinews, welcome the tears, let them fall the way that they have needed to fall, and laugh laugh laugh, now we know, you taught me, didn’t you? A big and wild love is the most gorgeous thing we could ever put on.

Love and gratitude,

This post is part of an inspired SheLoves Magazine synchroblog. Write your own love letter to your own body and then link it up. It would do you good.

 

enough, health, love, women
  • Meg

    thanks for coming alongside me today friend.  you are beyond lovely.  love you

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      You have started something so good with this, meggers. xo

  • http://www.rebekahruthbooks.com/ Rebekah Ruth

    Oh, my. I really needed this today. My body really needed it cuz I was not being kind at all. Thank you for this, Sarah. Perspective is so important!

    • http://www.rebekahruthbooks.com/ Rebekah Ruth

      okay…this post hi-jacked my afternoon. I’m grateful. I took your suggestion and wrote my own (so hard to do!) Thanks again! http://www.rebekahruthbooks.com/2012/07/14/dear-body/

      • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

        Beautiful!

  • Heather

    This made me weep. Oh, the courage. The kindness.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Yes, kindness isn’t a word we use for our own bodies often, is it? Take heart.

  • hannah @ honestly here

    absolutely beautiful. Its such a funny (in a not really that funny kind of way) thing this battle we have between out mind and body. But it is OURS. Out body doesn’t define us, but it is a gift, a miracle, and you demonstrated this beautifully. Thank you for your words, I’ll be thinking about what I would say in my letter. :)

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Hannah – I look forward to reading yours.

  • Inspired

    You have inspired me to write such a letter … Beautiful, profound, I will see my child-bearing, baby-nursing, husband-satisfying body differently because of what you had to say. Showing it kindness … What a thought.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Yes, I look forward to reading yours, too, luv.

  • http://mashenahope.blogspot.com/ Nicole

    beautiful.

    I especially love the idea of being gentle with your body. So much that tells us to have power, dominion, over our bodies to force them into submission. Ah, but our bodies, they do deserve our gentleness.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Yes, I admit I made the connection with those words because of some conversations with the tinies these days around being “kind and gentle” and how we need to treat each other in this manner. Got my clock ticking in that direction towards our own selves.

  • http://friedokra4me.blogspot.com/ megan(FriedOkra)

    So gorgeous.  You and your words.

  • Lauren Loeffel

    This was absolutely beautiful and inspiring. It’s hard for one to love their bodies, while they are always being compared to what the see around them, but really, we are all beautiful. Thank you for this post!!

  • Drum

    Tears to my eyes beautiful!  Shalom ~ Andrea

  • the Sooz

    No comment, just a big deep sigh at the wonder of your gift.  

  • Amy Johnson

    This is so beautiful–thanks so much for sharing it with us all–I’m still working up to my own love letter! 

  • Amy Johnson

    This is so beautiful–thanks so much for sharing it with us all–I’m still working up to my own love letter! 

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  • http://www.joyinthisjourney.com Joy in this Journey

    Isn’t it crazy how we were so unsatisfied with our young, thin(ner), unstretched selves? I never dreamed that I could grow into my skin as it expanded and weathered. But I am happier and more confident and more content now. Especially when I listen to voices like this, like yours. So thankful for this series of posts.

    • http://www.eyvonnesharp.com/ Eyvonne

      Yes! I was going to say something very similar but instead I’ll just agree.

  • http://somuchshoutingsomuchlaughter.com/ suzannah {the smitten word}

    sarah, your words are marvelous, especially these: “they have satisfied the ones I love best.”

    a prophetic blow for freedom and beauty and against nasty gnostic heresy. blessed be.

  • http://bluebonnetreads.wordpress.com Hannah C.

    This might be the most beautiful thing I have ever read. Definitely the most beautiful about loving one’s own body. Thank you, thank you.

    I especially love this line: “send saucy glances over your left shoulder at the man you taught how to unhook a bra.”

  • A. Batterson

    Beautiful. *tears*

  • Pingback: #172: On writing a letter (to my body). | Numbered Confessions()

  • http://dlmayfield.wordpress.com/ D.L. Mayfield

    so good to read yours, especially as i don’t think i could write one to myself quite yet. 

  • hopejem

    Oh Sarah, you did it again. Inspired, encouraged and gave hope to so many who need to see beauty. You have a way my friend.

  • http://twitter.com/katiengibson Katie Noah Gibson

    I love this. So brave and honest and loving. xo

  • Sophie

    Amazing, beautiful, inspiring.

  • Shaina Alexander

    Absolutely beautiful, this post made me cry. But they were good tears :)

  • http://www.CreeksideMinistries.blogspot.com/ Linda Stoll

    amen.  let’s embrace how He made us and enjoy the strength and the beauty that is ours.

  • http://twitter.com/JesusRockStar Bethany Paget

    This is a beautiful letter.  Simply significant to where I am in my own journey to learning how to love and take care of the very body that my Creator gave me.  Now that I’m in the place where I have the body where my breasts are the same but I know they nourished and satisfied my daughter for so long.  My belly is wiggly but I know that’s because it carried her until she was ready to meet the world.  My hips and my derriere are wider but I know that is so I can lift her and carry her when she is weary.  I don’t think so much about hating my body anymore like I did when I was in my teens and twenties when I had the flat stomach, thin hips, perky boobs and 90 pound frame.  Hmmmm.  Maybe it’s time to write my own love letter to my body.  You, are amazing Sarah!

  • http://www.theblahblahblahger.com/ the Blah Blah Blahger

    Enjoying a good meal without thinking about how it will affect my body would be a real treasure. I long to stop having all these hangups…man, it’s tough being a girl. : )

    Beautiful post!

  • saraevelyn

    To-big-for-fashion breasts.  Yep.  Me, too. Thank you for validating!!

  • http://allth1ngsbeaut1ful.blogspot.com/ Alyssa Bacon-Liu

    So wonderful. Just mustered up the courage to write my own! Yours was the very first one that I read. Thanks :)

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  • Charissa

    wow!! what an awesome and very good thing to do for us girls :)

  • Grace Biskie

    thanks for doing this! I felt inspired as well to do my own… http://www.gabbingwithgrace.com/2012/07/18/letter-to-my-body/

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  • Meg

    Wow, I just discovered your blog, started crying at the miracle of birth and didn’t stop. Thank you for drawing these precious and ordinary moments so beautifully to mind!