originally written 2012, updated October 2015
Many of us have hurt or wronged other people and usually, our conscience leads us to want to right our wrongs and make the promise to never exhibit the hurtful behavior again. But how many of us apologize to ourselves for the pain we cause to our own minds, bodies and souls? As I walked around the track one morning, I realized I owe myself an apology. More specifically, I owe my body an apology. Every step I took, in trying to complete my 2 miles, reminded me of how wrong I’ve treated my body over the years.
I robbed her of her privacy, her innocence, her stability and security. I have misused and abused her. Neglectful habits, such as gluttonous eating & drinking, irresponsible sexcapades and ignored medical maintenance/treatment have led to my body’s constant aches, fight with illness and unsightly areas. While walking, I could feel the effects of the alcoholic beverages I downed the night before. I don’t have a hangover, per se, but my pace is significantly slower than the last trek I took around the track. My back has been aching since 2001, when the pounds really started to pile on. I remember vowing to never reach the 200 mark on the scale or have to shop in ‘fat lady’ stores. Now, seeing the plus-size shops/sections provide relief and being 200lbs would mean a significant achievement has been earned.
Walking these 2 miles may not sound like much to most, but my shins, calves and ankles burn from this activity. It hurts, not because it’s rigorous but because of so many years of inactivity. In addition to causing aches and pains, my weight has forced different parts of my body to change in ways that are not only ‘unpretty’ but very uncomfortable to carry. It all seemed to happen suddenly but I know it was a gradual change that I didn't pay attention to; that is, until I had no choice but to acknowledge what I felt and saw in the mirror. One day, in particular, I was served up a startling reality, when my belly met my thighs. I had never felt as disgusted with myself as I did at the moment, while ascending a flight of stairs, I felt the skin of my belly touch the top of my thighs. Even a previous reading of my weight at 245 lbs. did not give me the idea that I was THAT big. But, that meeting of the flesh told me I was way out of control with the mistreatment of myself and the temple that carried me along. It prompted me to get real and get serious about my body maintenance; to get my mind right and get my fat ass off of the couch and put it in motion. But first, I want to express my sincere apology to my body:
Body. Girl I am so sorry for all the stress I’ve put you through. So sorry for those nights of careless drinking that caused your stomach to heave with no mercy and your throat to burn with the acids of rebellion. I’m sorry for allowing your skin to be touched by undeserving, uncaring and unworthy men. I apologize for all the lies I let slide just to feel the glide of some man’s penis in your vagina, anticipating a climactic experience that rarely came. It’s a shame how I laid you down and opened you up to so much pain and discomfort through immature pregnancy, abortion and miscarriage. I can’t believe how blind I was to the amount of damage I was causing, time after time, by allowing you to be slapped, kicked, punched and even spit on. I’m sorry for all the days I laid up on the couch or buried myself underneath my bed blankets, feeling sorry for myself. I apologize for depriving you of much needed rest & rejuvenation by staying up late at night, eyes burning from hours of exposure to the glare of the TV screen and gallons of searing tears. I tried to ease the hurt and soothe the pain by eating & drinking, drinking & sexing and eating some more. They never helped….and what a toll those things took on you!
As the pain in my back, creaks of my knees and weakness in my ankles worsen, the message becomes louder and clearer. I know you tried to warn me with subtle messages, like a rounder face, plump belly, chubby arms and chunky thighs, but I didn’t listen. When the contour of my behind went from shapely to shapeless, I didn’t stop. When my feet went from a size 7.5 to 8.5, I didn’t stop. When my wardrobe went from young, fly & sassy to old, big & frumpy, I didn’t stop. Even when my romantic life went from promising to broken promises, I did not stop. Then, you threatened me with palpitations in my heart, blurring of my vision, shortness of breath, sleepless nights and even diagnoses of depression and diabetes. And still, I did not stop.
But things have changed. I hear you now. I am listening. I see you. I feel you. I hope you appreciate the strides I have made, thus far. Although I am still carrying a substantial amount of extra weight, I've gone from a size 20 to a 14/16 or XL and can now shop in 'regular' stores/departments. You look considerably different, most notably in the face and waist areas. We are still a work in progress but we are looking, feeling and doing much better today than we were yesterday. Body, girl, you have been with me, every step of the way and though you’ve had your moments of weakness, you have remained pretty damn strong. You’ve held it together well, under the tremendous amount of pressure, stress, pain and strain I’ve allowed into our lives. For that, I am grateful. Because of it, I am hopeful. Your strength encourages me. I pray that you will accept my apology and remain strong so that, together, we can rebuild our lives, one step at a time.
Body, I apologize.