Day Eight: I’m Thankful For My Body Because…

I love my body because, despite all the negativity I’ve given almost every inch of it over the years, it still functions perfectly and gets me through every day.

That part of Mean Girls where they are standing in front of the mirror saying things like “I have broad shoulders, my nail beds suck!” is so relatable for me. I literally spent all of my teen years counting calories and trying not to eat too much protein so as to not gain weight, while falling in and out of patterns of over exercising and not sleeping enough. I almost want to laugh when I think about taking diet pills that were probably placebos because I was on the volleyball team and hated my legs. At 17, I started a savings to have a nose job after someone made a tweet saying that I looked like a bird. After being admitted to an outpatient program for an eating disorder at 18, I finally started treating my body with some respect. I still do have the instances of drinking too much and waiting until midnight to eat a combo from Taco Bell- but hey we all have those times!
My ears are what I need most for my career right now and thankfully all the years of basement shows with no ear plugs haven’t effected me yet.  I’ve even grown to love my unique nose that I once hated. I haven’t worn a real bra in 2 years and have come to love my small chest.

Here’s to more years of loving the body I have!

-JD

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Thank you for mending properly when I fractured your elbow in three places when I was 5.

Thank you for healing after every gnarly skinned knee and broken heart growing up.

Thank you for not passing out that one time you gave blood and that other time when you stood up too fast after a long tattoo session.

Thank you for dexterous fingers and full lungs that can shred a Prokofiev Sonata for flute.

Thank you for vocal chords that can sing in tune.

Thank you for a brain that can question wrongs and laugh at rights.

Thank you for my father’s nose and my mother’s lips.

Thank you for eyes that can see the true beauty in life.

I’m thankful for you.

-Jackie

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I am thankful for my body because it has treated me better than I have treated it.  My body has been through a lot over the years, including a 15-year bout with anorexia.  I still shudder when I think about what I put my poor body through back then.

I was 10 years old the first time I heard the word anorexia.  I was sitting in my pediatrician’s office with my mother when I overheard him tell her that I displayed the eating habits of an anorexic.  In 1981 this was not a word that one heard very much.  Sure, everyone had heard about Karen Carpenter’s struggle with it over the years, eventually leading to her demise in 1983.  But at that time, many people had no real idea what it meant.  My mother’s response to my doctor was that I was a “picky eater” and that was the end of it.  If this had happened in 1991, I would probably would have been sent to a clinic for treatment.  As it was, we went home and I never heard it mentioned again.  I doubt if she even mentioned it to my father.

Over the years, there were many comments regarding my weight, some concerned, some envious.  When I was in the 8th grade, I could still fit into the same bathing suit that I had had since the 1st grade, despite having sizable breasts.  I remember feeling oddly proud that I could still fit into it after all the years.  In my senior year of high school, my best friend gave me a sweater that she had worn in kindergarten.  It fit me like a glove.  I wore it like a badge of honor, feeling slightly superior to other girls.

For me, it was the ultimate form of control.  I had no control over things that certain people were doing to me, but I could damn sure control my own body.  I controlled everything that went into my body with exquisite precision.  I managed to convince everyone, myself included, that I was just naturally thin, which was true to an extent.  I perfected the art of always seeming to be eating, without consuming more than a few bits of food a day.

Of course, this abuse of my body took its toll.  I was also diagnosed with hypoglycemia when I was ten.  It was a constant balancing act of consuming just enough to keep my blood sugar level.  It also took a toll on my heart, as I discovered in college.  The stress became almost unbearable at times as I assured everyone that I was fine, while I was silently hoping that someone would notice and help me.  I can remember lying in my bed at night, wondering if I would still be alive in the morning.

Eventually, some part of me realized that I was slowly killing myself.  I took a nutrition class in college and tried to incorporate healthier foods into my very limited diet.  Over a period of three years, I began eating in a more “typical” manner.  I started slowly at first, eating twice a day.  After a year of that, I progressed to three meals a day.  There were setbacks, of course.  I remember the first time I stepped on scale and I weighed 120 pounds.  I cried for hours and didn’t eat again that day.  But I knew that for my height, 120 pounds was on the low side.  So, I fought my worst instincts and continued to eat.  Two years later, when I weighed 125 pounds, I cried because I finally felt comfortable in my own body.  My hip bones no longer jutted out through my jeans.  I had hips and a bootie!  I no longer had to shop in the children’s department.

Since then, I have gained much more weight, which is also a struggle.  I must fight myself not to go back into an unhealthy mindset.  Do I truly need to lose 50 pounds?  No, I need to lose 25 and I need to do it in a healthy manner.  Loving my body was a hard-won battle for me and I am grateful for everything that it does for me.

Leigh Ann

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-Shea

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Dear Body,

I would like to apologize to you for the abuse you have taken from me over the years.  I mean, what was I thinking?  I knew nothing about exercise.  Nothing.  It never occurred to me to do it.  I hated sports and never participated.  I was almost 40 years old before I even  started walking on a daily basis for exercise.

And the alcohol and cigarette smoking you have put up with during my college years.  Criminal.  I am so sorry for that.  Please forgive me.  I shudder at the way I treated you back then.

And all the sun worshiping I did as a young person.  I am appalled at what I put you through.  All those sunburns over the years have certainly done damage to you, and you tolerate our dermatologist visits with grace now.

And the poor nutrition!  I gag at the thoughts of all of those corn chips, soft drinks, candy bars, and pizza I have eaten over the years.  You helped me with bouts of anorexia and bulimia too.

We even made it through all the years of insomnia, and I know how tough that was.  Not sleeping took its toll, I know it did.

But you took it like a champ, didn’t you?  You still allowed me to walk and talk.  To learn new things.  To go places.  You are most forgiving, and for that I am grateful. You rock.  Your recovery from my constant abuse is phenomenal.

Please forgive me.  I am trying to make it up to you now with yoga, broccoli, apples, water, brussel sprouts, and salads.  I promise to eat very little meat.  I know you like that.

You’re not perfect, and I can accept that.  I am not 6 feet tall with long skinny legs and flat chested.  Model thin.  That is what I would like to be as my ideal body type.  That is okay.  You still represent me well.  I have no complaints.  It is a miracle everything still works anyway.

You have been my most trusted and loyal body for all these years.  I am forever indebted to you.  I pledge to go easier on you as we travel the rest of our journey together.

-Wanda

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ooowee girls, i have so many things to say about this, but today i’ll say this. i am thankful for my body because it is resilient. it is flawed. it is woman. it is everything. here’s a little beat poem of sorts for all the women who fight to get back up. i love you…

Having Fallen

Jammed finger and gashed knee

And this and more all while attempting to defy gravity

Sitting up

Picking concrete out my brow and examining the impact on my palm and crying

Not from pain

I mean it fucking hurt but tears like sweating

Fleeing from my eyes

Cooling my chastened cheeks and carrying with it the memorialization of the fall

Looking up

Looking out

And breathing in and breathing out and wanting out and looking in

Tight shut eyes

Wondering if my feet will walk or if I should try my hands or head or heart this time

A puddle

Reflecting a scrape from my nose to nape suggesting an ill-timed shallow dive head first

Fast and blind

Ripping all parts and saving nothing

Nothing for you and no one gets to measure this

Not even me

I wish I’d saved more

Flesh or friends or films about nothing

Looking up and looking down

And looking around with half empty eyes

And

I’m standing

How

I’m up

And is that Christmas music playing

It’s June

Barely even fucking June

Standing in a ripple reflecting everything

Everything

Trains and people and thunder and holidays calling me back

Bringing me here

Standing

And

How

Stepping out

Picking up feet then speed then hope

Running

So fast

So much

Hopeful or hopeless

And I don’t even care if I fall

Already fucked up my face and faces are a plenty

Faces for days

It’s the wind I need

The air pushing fast against my fucked up face and through my tight lungs and wrapping round my back

Giving me chills

Making me scream

And cry

And sweat

And fall

And fall

And fall

And get the fuck back up.

-V

{featured image:  the open mind}

Join us all November long for our 30 Day Writing Challenge.  Send your submissions to info@iamthefbomb.com

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