I’m sorry for all the times I made you go hungry.
Dear Body of Mine,
Just quietly, this is a slightly awkward letter for me to write to you, given the extremely close proximity you and I are forced to coexist each and every day.
And as I write this, I honestly cannot help but feel like the very worst kind of passive-aggressive roommate. The kind of person who makes awkward small talk with you in the hallway as they leave for work, moments before you wander into the kitchen to find a list of snide ‘housemate rules’ they believe you’ve broken taped to the fridge door, when all you wanted was some toast.
But that’s sadly almost what you and I have become now, isn’t it? Uneasy yet permanent roommates, living in tandem and only ever bothering to really talk to one another when urgent household matters need to be discussed.
But before I go any further, yes, I know you have a lot of cause to be angry at me thanks to all the ways I’ve psychically hurt you over the years.
Your hit list against me must read like the very worst page ripped directly from the binding of a teenage girl’s burn book.
I can see now that causing you to fall from a broken parasail in Thailand, thereby making you crash onto golden sand that ended up feeling like a sheet of cement, was a poorly made decision on my part.
As was that time I forced you to down shots of illegally strong vodka in some dingy pop-up basement bar in Moscow, leaving you so ill on a side street that a lovely homeless man felt sorry enough for us to offer up his water.
And I can see now that dyeing our hair an intense shade of Ronald McDonald red in high school, until I’m pretty sure it actually died of embarrassment and started falling out from the roots, was also the wrong call on my part.
But as much as those questionable decisions caused you extreme discomfort, we both know the deepest source of the real pain I’ve caused you has had nothing to do with overseas adventures gone awry or with my failed quest to mimic Lindsay Lohan’s Parent Trap era hair.
It has to do with the embarrassment and shame I’ve felt around you, and with the cruel things I’ve done to you to mask those growing feelings and thoughts, particularly last year.
For all those things, I need to say that I’m sorry. Because, and please forgive me for using perhaps the worst pre-Tinder break-up phrase ever uttered in the history of man. But in this case, it’s really not you, it’s me.
I’m sorry for all the times I made you go hungry. When I would tell myself over and over again that withholding food from you was an act of willpower and strength, when really it was just an act of punishment.
On those days all you had done was kindly carry me to work (on a train, pressed awkwardly up against a group of sweaty strangers for most of the trip, no less). Then you would patiently wait as I left you sitting at a desk all day, all while forcing myself not to take even a nibble of food until you were left shaky, dizzy and even more confused than a Baby Boomer at a Harry Styles concert.
I’m sorry for all the days you missed, the days I kept you trapped at home, locked away from the world like a modern-day Rapunzel waiting on a prince who was never going to show up. Days I kept you away from the beach or blocked you from going to pool soirees with our friends, all because I was ashamed of how you looked or how you would be looked at.
There were parties I decided you’d ruin because I didn’t feel right in you anymore, and so we impolitely ditched them. There were lovely dates we could have gone on, but I didn’t feel good enough about you to bring you along and so we just stayed home. There were holidays to see loved ones that I allowed neither of us to go on, all because I didn’t want people at home to see you like that, even though at this point you could have really used a hug.
Some days, there were even stories I felt my fingers itching to write but I never let myself put the words down, all because I knew a photo of you would need to be featured alongside them and I just couldn’t let that happen.
So many days, so many moments, so many chances all lost forever. All because I decided to be cruel to you just to make myself feel better and it ended up just hurting us both.
I guess I’m writing this letter to you now, at the beginning of the year where I like to think everything feels just a little bit more hopeful and new, not just to say how sorry I am, but to say I’m going to try to do better for us.
Of course, we both know there’s no magical fix for this problem we’re facing, no resolution that we’ll be able to keep nor a magical way of thinking that will fix our broken relationship with just the click of our fingers.
But maybe this year we can just start to like each other a little bit more. To go from roomies who leave each other nasty notes in the kitchen to roomies who like to indulge in a chat over a glass of wine on weekends.
And maybe this way, there’s a better year ahead for both of us.
Yours in solidarity and the sharing of fingerprints,
If you liked this story, read more like it on mamamia.com.au:
My Eight Year-Old Daughter Is Already Struggling With Body Image. And I Know How She Feels
Kristen Bell’s Beautiful Advice For A Young Fan Struggling With Body Image
What Is A FUPA? A Quick Explainer On The Taboo Body Part Beyonce Spoke About In Vogue.