Learning to Love the Body
I have some things I want to say to you, and I believe they are things you need to hear. So take them to heart, because they are words that I have never said.
In my journey through life I have had many experiences, each laced with a million emotions. I have laughed and I have wept. I have smiled and I have sobbed. I have held myself together with nothing more than my arms and determination in my heart, and yet those same arms have held the new life that you, my body, gifted me with your incredible strength and tenacity.
I have stumbled physically, emotionally, and spiritually, yet every time I rise again and I demand that you rise with me, that you rise and face the storm on legs willing to walk into the battle, with arms holding the shield in one hand and my banner, my vision of the world, in the other.
Together, we have walked through the fires of hell, taking shaking, trembling steps, knowing that hell cannot last forever. Every step of the way, you did not falter. When I stumbled, you would not let me fall. When I tried to lie down and give up, you urged me forward, just one more step forward.
You have persevered through the blood, sweat, and tears of childbirth; you have felt the agony as you pushed a new being into this world, and you have felt the hollowness of an empty womb and the incredible weight of empty arms, arms that should have held your child, but never got the chance.
You hurt, you suffered with me and for me, you experienced weakness and pain and agony and yet you did not falter; you will not falter. Each day, you wake, you rise, and you stand and face the world, the pain, the adversity. You face it all and you do not quit!
And yet, despite the strength you have shown, despite the courage and the grit, I have never seen what you really are. I’ve never stopped to look and listen to what you are telling me. I’ve never paused long enough to hear the words that you would say, if I would give you a voice. Your words might tell me that you harbor the pain of our experiences, too. Your words might speak to the life that we have gone through together, and the loneliness – yes, maybe even the betrayal – as I pile resentment upon you for what I perceive to be failures.
Yes, I cling to anger at the failure of my womb, and I look in the mirror and see a woman whose body is showing the scars, the marks of her experiences; instead of seeing the beauty in the imperfections and of acknowledging the battles we have fought together, I demand perfection, demand you be something you ought not to be. Instead of allowing you to rise, powerfully, to stand as the woman who has faced the storm, I demand you be the woman who hasn’t walked through hell, the one that existed before hell came, as if you shouldn’t show the scars of all we have fought.
I will do this no longer.
No more will I demand perfection.
No, I will honor you as you have honored me and when we rise now to face the storm, we will rise and we will lift our banner to the world, and it will be scarred, imperfect, and glorious. Because, by damn, we have earned those imperfections.