A love letter to my body

Dear Body,

I know you are feeling the best you have felt in a while because my spirit and soul are also feeling that way. This positive correlation has been my most magical realisation about you so far, Despite the circumstances you are thriving and I couldn’t be prouder of your strength and resilient existence. This is a big deal because I spent a chunk of my adolescence and early twenties wishing you were different: stronger, shaped a certain way, more toned, spotless, even immortal. I have had some time to interrogate the conditioning that fuelled the thoughts that you had to change to be attractive and hence worthy of acceptance. I realise that you don’t have to change to be attractive and you don’t have to be deemed attractive to be worthy of acceptance. I am writing this letter to acknowledge the journey of accepting you as you are and to express my gratitude for all that you are.

I am going to go part by part because that is how I have teared you down before. Let’s start with the crown – Cheblocs, ah! I think the other parts are jealous of how much love you get. It took some time to embrace you the way you grow and exist but once I did!!! Thank you for leading the way into loving the whole of me. Grow on babies, I am here for all of you. But yeah, we need to get better at wrapping you up for bed ‘cuz that lint thouu!

Skin, I am so happy that my mummy inculcated an unconditional love and appreciation for your complexion therefore, I have never felt like disliking or changing you even with the disadvantages of having darker skin. However, I think I have not appreciated you enough for the way you acts as a stress thermometer like breaking out to remind me to slow down or even the timely reminders of the internal hormonal processes taking place as you turn oily or pimply. I have also let the dark complexion that conceals blemishes so well act as an excuse for not treating you with the utmost care that you deserve. Now, calm down, I  am not about to start those million step Korean routines but I promise to continue taking good care of you – sunscreen, exfoliation, moisture… whatever you need as you need it.

Eyes, your astigmatism is the one thing I will change as soon as I can. But oh, the things we have seen! I apologise for all the trash talk you get for not seeing better and being so tiny. I will do better…yes that includes replacing this 4-year-old scratched glasses that you can’t see through anymore. Chin, my dislike for you actually creeped up on me. I never thought you were also a “problem” until I saw a post of someone being critical of their double chin and I realised how alike it looked to mine. And then when I added weight and you layered up and even started growing hair, I remember thinking I had never seen anything uglier. But I noticed how much you liken me to my father and now I think, what a lovely inheritance – same to the nose that I was about to start critiquing as I edited portraits for the gram but featurism isn’t my portion.

Boobs. Eh! We’ve come long way. I remember wanting you to be bigger and fuller. Then I learnt to live with your size, comforting myself that at least I didn’t have the stress (extra male gaze and getting a bra that fits struggles) of those with bigger boobs. and then I gained weight and watched you grow fuller and I was like hello yous. Then now I am losing weight and y’all are sagging, the one thing I thought small boobs don’t do. It bothered me until I realised the absurdity of my expectations, ” What else is fat tissue supposed to do surely?” It also helped when I started wearing clothes that don’t make me feel that I need a cleavage or fuller bust to rock it. So yeah, peace has been made. Large arms, my most faithful fat storage. I remember praying to God for a spiritual liposuction that would shift all the fat from my arms into my boobs.To be honest I still want you more toned like Michelle Obama’s but no more crazy prayers and it is still okay if we don’t achieve that. Stretchmarks! I remember being a child, looking at my thighs and wondering if I could use a razor blade to cut y’all out – did y’all have to come that early though? Anyway, since stumbling on that Instagram page that had all these beautiful images of stretchmarks ; you just don’t bother me anymore. On the contrary, I actually quite dig y’all. Same to the scars from my body trying to tell me I was lactose-intolerant and the ones that show I conquered chicken pox. While we are here, hey darker regions between my thighs, thighs and armpits you gonna see yourselves in pictures more.

Belly. Thank you for being the proof of how well I have enjoyed a meal (shout out to Adichie the food baby). Also for getting all bloaty when I am not eating the right foods especially while on my period. Most of all I don’t thank you enough for being the best indicator of my anxiety. Without you I wouldn’t remember to breathe and take it slow so shukran. Menses, I remember getting so upset because you meant that the eggs I was born with were reducing yet I wanted to have so many children ( no longer the case). Glad for the friend that taught me that rather than looking at you as a ticking biological clock I could be grateful that your monthly attendance shows that my body is working as it should – regulating hormones and reminding me to take it easy on myself as I channel my feminine energy to optimise my life.

Lastly nails, that you have to be extended to be worthy of a photoshoot or whatever doesn’t make sense anymore. I am sorry for all the times I prioritised what the beauty standards deemed beautiful over your health and care. And this also applies to the rest  of you, body– when what they say is “beauty” comes at the expense of your health or is counter to taking care of you I will no longer do it.

Body, I am hoping we still have a long way to walk together. I am also really enjoying no longer being at war with you. It is also so much fun adorning you and using you as a canvas for my creative expression. Thank you for being my home. I can’t wait to see the things you will enable me to execute!

All my love,

Soul & Spirit