Dear Body, There Is Nothing Wrong With You - By Nivedita Shrestha
Have I ever told you how amazing you are? You work so hard, every second of every day. You stop my cuts from bleeding, fix broken bones, find ways to beat illnesses, make sure I’m breathing while I sleep; you even have this little pump that has been beating throughout my existence to make sure I’m well nourished. Everything about you is so perfect, it is almost as if someone with the utmost skill and knowledge carved you to be this perfect structure. Every cell, every tissue so intricately designed, years and years of study wouldn’t be enough to understand you.
But I haven’t been any good to you now, have I? I was fifteen when the social construct of beauty started to dawn on me. It was the age when I’d look at my thighs, stomach and arms and curse them for being too flabby, or when I’d look at my nose and despise it for being too big, or when I’d look at my lips and wished they were thicker, or when I’d be embarrassed by the stretch marks and try to hide them. I’d look at the other girls around me, all lean and thin; I’d look at these girls in the magazines with their porcelain-like bodies and perfect faces, how they didn’t have to worry about weird shaped stretch marks, or about a jiggling body part and then I’d look at myself and loom in self-deprecating thoughts for the rest of the day. I’d measure myself in inches and wish for an overnight miracle to change the body I was living in.
Four years later, when I’d just turned 19, living so far away from home, I got lazy and stopped caring for myself. I started losing weight very soon and I found myself wishing for the same 15-year-old body I once had. I’d look at myself and see those bony ribs poking at my skin, those thigh gaps that make my legs looked bowed, eyes and cheeks sunken in, I’d hear the voices of people saying how real women are curvy and how I wasn’t one, and then I realized I was doing the same mistake all over again.
Dear body, you were never a problem. There is nothing wrong with your size, your curves, your scars, your flaws, your stretch marks or you. It’s not my job to make you look like the girl in the magazine. The girl in the magazine doesn’t look like the girl in the magazine. My job is to make sure I take care of you just as you have taken care of me; to make sure you are strong and healthy. I swear I won’t find faults in you anymore looking into the mirror. Mirrors are just glass and you, you’re a diamond. You’ll cut through it all and rise like it never mattered, I promise. I won’t ever make the mistake of comparing you with someone else. I now understand that another woman’s beauty is not the absence of your own. She can be beautiful having flabby arms and jiggling thighs, it doesn’t mean I’m not beautiful with my bony arms and skinny legs.
Altering your weight and counting calories is not your life’s work. Instead of looking at the mirror and scrutinizing yourself for every bump and bulge, try turning your gaze inward. Exterior beauty without the depth of a kind soul is merely a decoration. It is not like bringing any sort of change to your body is wrong. Even if you’re in the process of trying to change your body, you need to be content with what it is, right here, right now; because if you can’t be happy with yourself now, you won’t be happy with yourself ever. Hating your body won’t change it and changing your body won’t make you stop hating it. So now, I begin to measure myself in contentment and laughter rather than inches and pounds.
Dear tummy, I’m sorry for every time I left you hungry and told you I hated you. You’re perfect.
Dear nose, I’m sorry for every time I said you were too big and wished you were different. You’re perfect.
Dear lip, I’m sorry for every time I said you were too thin. You’re perfect.
Dear thighs, I’m sorry for every time I wished you were skinnier or thicker. You’re perfect.
Dear freckles, I know you’re there to protect me from the sun, I’m sorry for all the times I wished you away. You’re perfect.
Dear body, I can never apologize enough for all the times I thought badly of you, I was being ungrateful. And I promise you that no matter what strangers and loved ones say, no matter which step in our journey, no matter what shape you are in, I will always love you.
A silly girl.