Hi. I know we don’t really talk much (unless I’m cursing your very existence). It’s even rarer that I stop to listen to what you have to say to me. I want you to know that’s all going to change. I’m ready to talk now. I’m willing to listen. There’s really no reason why you should believe me, considering the years of verbal, physical, and emotional abuse I’ve heaped upon you, but I promise…I am changing. I just hope it’s not too late.
There are many people I’ve hurt in my lifetime. Every vicious word I’ve ever spoke, every selfish deed I’ve ever acted- they stick in my brain the way Duncan’s murder re-plays in Lady Macbeth’s. I shudder to think of the people out there who believe I have an ugly spirit- especially the ones with good reason. Through following 12-step programs and reading countless other self-help books that encourage the same thing, I’ve written dozens of sincere apology letters to those people over the years. Some, I’ve sent off (to various degrees of response). Others sit at the bottom of the dusty bins in my closet…both written and kept more for my own benefit than anyone else’s.
But in all those periods of reflection, I never once thought to ask forgiveness of you. You, who have definitely got the worst of my abuse and are still hanging around. You, who have remained remarkably strong and healthy, in spite of the long lapses of exercise and unending cycles of binging, purging, starving and other bad eating habits I’ve inflicted. You, who have managed to earn compliments from people even in the same breath of receiving a heap of insults from me. You, who have been attractive enough over the years to have countless men and women willing to explore your most intimate caverns. You, who wear your history on your sleeve- literally; from the crepe iron burns on your forearms, to the scars on your breast from the reduction that took so long to become a reality. From the stretch marks across your hips (due to years of losing and gaining and losing and gaining), to all the other scrapes and bruises that recount a life well-lived. You, who wear my tattoos like daily love letters to my sister, my father, and my favorite writer. Do you know my latest one is a reminder for me to be kind to you from here on out? My left forearm now reads “thinking makes it so”. It is taken from a quote in Hamlet, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Now, I can look down when I am going through the hassle of dressing myself in the morning and remember: I can choose to think my arms fat, disgusting, and too unacceptable to be shown in public. Or, I can be full of gratitude I have two arms to write this letter, hug my friends and family, and dress me in the first place.
I’m now exercising on a regular basis. I’m mindfully planning most of my meals. If I can’t bear to wear something that shows my arms or back for a full day, I commit myself to just sporting that outfit for a trip to the store or the bank. I go out and see a play, even when every cell in my brain is telling me I should not go out in public. I know this process may seem slow to you, but please be patient. The steps I’ve taken in recent months may seem inconsequential, but I weigh them in leaps and bounds.
I vow to you that one day I will be able to love and appreciate you wholly, just as you deserve. Step by step, one day at a time, I am getting there. And the thing is, you don’t have to change at all. You can stay exactly as you are and I will do the changing for us both.
Thank you for everything you have done for/given me over the years. I am very lucky to have you. I’m sorry that it’s taken me so long to realize it.
Haley (the conqueror)
Here are some more body letters from other people.
Are you ready to write your own?