I began writing this letter at 3:30 this morning, because what I suddenly ached to tell you could not be concealed for a moment longer.
Since our waltz into womanhood, there has been a strange tension between us. I remember being ambushed by the dreadful understanding that your bushy eyebrows and bushy mane were not exactly attractive.
This had not occurred to me before.
I remember being told at fourteen you were only needed for one thing—to lend yourself sexually to a man. This disturbed me. I stood up for you, maybe sheepishly, but my convictions ran deep. I am thankful for this.
Even with my desire to honor God, a future husband, and you, I have not always had purity leading my intentions. I have edited you, Body, both offline and online, to help me garner attention and popularity.
This is deceit and I have used you.
For some people, confidence dashes through their veins. They speak of being comfortable in their own skin. I thought I was one of those people, but the names I have spoken over you while staring in the mirror say otherwise.
Although you have housed me all my life and will continue to do so until the day I die, I have not always loved you well. In retrospect, this tension has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with me.
Body, I have been wrong. Remarkably wrong. And I am so sorry.
You presented yourself as a mystery to doctors five years ago, and I became angry with you. I stopped taking care of you, because I saw few reasons for me to fix what could not be seen.
I am sorry for neglecting to notice how you give organs and cells and bones a place to be themselves—just as planets whirl in a system entirely of their own.
I am sorry for telling women of their beauty regardless of figure, facial features, or flaws, only to cringe at the sight of your uneven eyes, crowded teeth, bowed legs, and curvy hips. I have asked of you things which you were never meant to fulfill.
All these years, I expected you to be what others told me you should be.
But Body, you are a wonder.
You have been formed by the living God. He hardwired you, placing in you intricacies even educated doctors can't understand. You are nothing less than a dear creation and masterpiece.
To mock you, dread you, or control you would mean I have done the same to the One who formed you. I am learning to speak words of truth. Please be patient as I try.
I cannot imagine the pressure I have heaped on you through the years.
I have demanded you to be marvelous—worshipping ideals and wanting perfection. I commit now to marvel instead at the Creator, for He is all that is perfect.
You have been gifted to me as my body here on earth. I no longer want to treat you as if you are what matters most in the end. To do so would be unfair.
You are serving your purpose well for me just as you are. You don't need to be the very best in looks or a cover up for my inner self. I need you for as long as I live, but not as much as I need Christ.
I want to tell you, Body, what makes you special to me. Listen closely.
You are beautiful with your dimpled grin, a mark which runs in the family. You are beautiful with your calloused toes, strengthened from dancing. You are beautiful with your poison ivy scars, telling a hilarious story of adventure. You are beautiful with your freckled lips, colored from the Hawaiian sun. You are beautiful with your eyes, shaped to show of your heritage.
It still feels contrived to say, but I will believe it to be true: Body, you are beautiful.
I want to respect and love you better in the days to come, so I may accomplish all God asks of me with strength, passion, and endurance.
Thank you for being mine.
*I am grateful to Aliza Latta, whose post inspired me to write this letter.