I'm sorry.

{I'm sorry. a letter to my body}

{{if you would like me to read this piece to you, please click on below. otherwise, you can carry on downward and read on your own xx}}

 

I am sorry for betraying you. 

So many times. 

I am sorry for the first time I said I hated you. 

I was 7. And you could not cartwheel the way the way the neighbor girl could. And your thighs didn’t look like the thighs on TV. The boys at school called them thunder thighs and used the words bubble butt. I am sorry for hating you and blaming you for how they made me feel.

I am sorry for sticking band aides over your nipples to make them look like the didn’t exist and then hunched so far over to hide you that I spent an entire year looking at the floor. Hoping that nobody could see you and how you were poking out. 

I am so sorry for the times I covered you with my father’s clothes. Big old man clothes. Polo shirts that smelled like old spice. Because the length of his shirts draped over your ass and hips and breasts that were in formation and somehow made me think I was protected. And maybe I thought that if he didn’t see what was happening to you, he would still love me. And maybe the bigger the clothes I wore the less anyone would notice me.

I am sorry for the time I wanted to take knives and cut sections of you away. To subtract the excess of you. Wide thighs. Protruding butt. Puffy gut. I would trace my fingers along your too muchness and pretend that they could sever so many parts of you away. I am sorry for wanting to cut flesh out of my flesh. I am sorry I called you fat. I am sorry I thought you were too big and too much and that you needed to be subtracted. That somehow my raw open wounded flesh was better than my whole, large, full self.

I am sorry for all the days, day after day, I would stand in front of the mirror, over and over again, telling you to be small. To grow taller. For your legs to be longer. And your ass flatter. And your belly firmer. I am sorry I would punch you. Punch your skin. Pound it down. Trying to beat you away. Punish you for being what you were. Me.

I am sorry for avoiding the mirrors. For not looking in them as I walked by. For being so disgusted by even a tiny glance.  I am sorry for not wanting to see you. For not allowing you to be seen.  I am sorry for ignoring the reflection of your truth, all you were and all you wanted to be. 

I am sorry for the times I wanted to stuff your mind into the garbage can because you thought too much and and blurted out those thoughts and made me feel unlikable, unlovable. Because you thought too much and cared too much and were wiling to risk too much. And you wanted to change things. And there was no room for this. You took up too much space. All the ways you spoke differently, said things that you thought were true, made other people hate you. And so I decided to hate you, too, because I thought you were doing me wrong. That we were wrong. I am sorry for asking you to just be normal, to just be liked. To just be pretty.  To just be quiet. I am sorry for telling you over and over again to shut the fuck up.

I am sorry that I didn’t believe it wasn’t your fault when those thoughts and ideas, when your voice dared to quiver with your truth, ended up getting you hurt. Hit. I am so sorry I thought it was your fault, that your mind was a reason for a girl to get thrown down. That your voice was a reason to be pushed around. I am sorry my NO didn’t work. I am sorry for shaming you for shooting your mouth off much and that too much became a bruise on my arm and mark around my neck. I am sorry I didn’t hit back. That I didn’t fight. For your voice. For your skin. For your right to say what you meant.

I am sorry I blamed you for not being prettier. Everyone loves a pretty girl.

I am sorry I wished you could just sit still, be quiet and be pretty.

i am sorry for wishing you would stop being pretty and you start being smart so people could see you for more than the wide dopey eyes, the smile, the hair, the ass, the open heart. Everyone hates a pretty girl.

I am sorry I blamed you for nobody listening to me. If only you could be smarter, I would say, if only you could look like you really feel, which isn’t pretty. 

I am sorry I sucked your stomach in so much I stole you of breath, of life force, of filling up on cleansing air.

I am sorry I made you wear the girdle I found in mom’s drawer when I was 13. Bondage and jailed inside the heavy elastic, afraid to move freely, afraid the boys would see it under my short.

I am sorry for all the times I starved you. To make you fit into the room. To make you fit into the jeans. To make you fit between his legs in the way he wanted. I am sorry I did not feed you roasted figs and cheese. Fried chicken with gravy. Spumoni ice cream. Cream filled cupcakes. All the flavors in the world. I am sorry I didn’t feed you all the bowlfuls you wanted and deserved. I am so sorry I starved you, so that you became nothing but what you were suppose to be, nothing but what you were told to be. The jeans fit. There was nothing to grab and nothing to pull and nothing to put underneath them. I was too skinny to exist. Maybe I would disappear. Maybe my stomach would stop hurting. Maybe I could just pass by everyone without being seen.

I am sorry for all the times I stuffed you. So full. But if I stuffed you then maybe you’d shut up. Maybe all the thoughts and ideas would finally be pushed so far down that you wouldn’t have to deal with them anymore. Maybe if I stuffed you full of everything that made you sick you would sit down and be good and be quiet and tolerate everything that was going on around you. What everyone wanted you to do. To make money. To make babies. To make the bed. To make things pretty. For everyone else. To ensure that nobody was mad or angry. And that the house stayed calm and clean. I am sorry that I continued to stuff you because I wanted them to stop looking at me. Stop needing me. Stop hating me. To stop reaching out and trying to take me away. From me.

I am sorry for all the times I let them get into you. All the times you tried to close yourself like a clam shell, to hide the jewel from the sea, deep inside. I am so sorry I let your treasure be taken. I am so sorry I didn’t kick harder or say no louder. I am so sorry I didn’t stop sooner. I am so sorry I didn’t hold you high and walk in the way that says fuck you, this is a queen. Do not touch. I am sorry I played with fire. I am sorry I let you be burned. I am sorry about the random places I walked you into that were not safe or right. I am sorry I thought it was your fault. It wasn’t. I am sorry for not seeing how powerful you were. And how frightened you were. And how resilient you have been for me.

photo credit: Danielle Cohen

photo credit: Danielle Cohen

 

I am sorry for the times, even after you held 5 children. Three of them born and living and breathing. Three of them coming out of you. With no help. From anyone or anyting but you. And them. I am sorry, even after you made milk day after day, night after night, year after year, that I didn’t see you as you are. I am so sorry I never treated you the way you deserved. A hot bath. A salt wash. Water. Sleep. A new pair of silk pants. Loving hands in massage. A day trip to somewhere beautiful, alone, to write. I am sorry that I did not love you more when you have done so much. You brought me everything that matters to me.  Everything there is. All the love that exists came from you.

I am sorry for all the times I have wanted to dig my hand deep into my chest and pull out your heart and rip it out because sometimes it is just too much to have a heart, to feel this kind of sadness and love. It is almost too much to feel. I am sorry I have wanted to rid you of your heart, your blood, your beat. 

I am sorry for all the times I have tried to beat you up under the disguise of exercise or try and tell you that fun was at the bottom of a bottle or endless rolls of tobacco. I am sorry for all the times I have punished you pretending that I am doing some good when all you wanted was rest. to be loved. to dance alone at night. with candlelight. to have your nails painted. and your maybe a decent hair cut. a deep slow stretch. or nothing at all.

I am sorry for all the times i dragged you from city to city, state to state, house to house, man to man. Trying to find the right place to be. And never seeing that you are my only home. That you are the only real home. That you are my holy homecoming. No matter where we are.

I am sorry for all the times I never said I loved you.

I am sorry for all the times I refused love for you.

I am sorry for all the times I didn’t trust you.

I am so sorry for all the times I thought it was you to blame.

I am sorry.

I love you.

Forgive me

From here on. You are yours. You are yours. Only yours. Mine alone.

There is nothing more and nothing less than this body.

This body will be free.

photo credit: Danielle Cohen

photo credit: Danielle Cohen

 

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