An image of a blurred silhouette of a woman

I’ve been meaning to write this for a long time. I guess our relationship has been pretty complicated since the very start. I know I haven’t been as nice and appreciative as I should have been toward you. I would like to make amends.

You have been nothing but supportive my entire life. I need you to know that.

There are so many things I need to apologize for. I’m sorry I’ve been unkind. I’m sorry for all the insults I’ve thrown your way when I thought you didn’t meet my expectations and ideals. I’m sorry for all the times I’ve looked in the mirror and you looked right back at me, and all I could see were flaws.

I’m sorry for all the times I’ve looked in the mirror and you looked right back at me, and all I could see were flaws.

I’m sorry I denied you the rest that you so desperately needed. For all the sleepless nights, the obsessive working out and the long days of running around between projects that clearly did not serve us. You have performed wonderfully. You kept me up and running despite being pushed way past your tipping point.

I’m sorry for starving you. I’m sorry that some sick thought has crept its way into my mind and clouded my judgment. It has made me embarrassingly resentful with how you looked because you were not identical to the pictures I saw online and in magazines. It amazes me how—despite being deprived of basic fuel—you still kept going, supporting me unconditionally. How unfair that was of me!

I’m sorry I wanted you to be smaller. I’m sorry I was adamant about not allowing you to take up the space you clearly deserve, that you rightfully need. You shouldn’t have to shrink yourself for anything or anyone.

The way you are—loud, bright and excited—is perfect and delightful. I need you to know that you deserve the place you claim in the world. Anyone who tries to silence or control you simply does not belong in your life.

I need you to know that you deserve the place you claim in the world.

I’m sorry I’ve been rude and ungrateful. I’m sorry that while you were busy healing bones, fighting flus and regenerating cells, all I’ve been focused on was the space between your thighs and the shape of your breasts. I couldn’t see the miracle that you truly are because I was so focused on my insecurities.

I’m sorry I have pushed you past your tipping point. I ignored your cries for help, the warning signs. I’m sorry that the stress and duress I have put you through with exhaustion and neglect have taken a toll on our mental health. I’m sorry I put us through depression and crippling anxiety without addressing the issues behind them. I’m sorry I didn’t catch on sooner.

I’m sorry I let boys touch you who did not deserve you. I’m sorry intimacy has been violated, and I couldn’t show you love and affection. I should have cared for you and protected you. I was hurt, you were hurt and I was afraid no one would believe it.

I’m sorry I called your features “imperfections.” How could I have thought that stretch marks, which are nothing but proof of your healthy growth, were anything but perfect? Why was I so adamant about accepting the folds in your skin when they are nothing but nature and resilience, protecting you from the outside world?

I’m sorry I called your features “imperfections.”

There is nothing “imperfect” about you. There is only the real, beautiful canvas that deserves praise and love.

I promise I’ll do better from now on. I won’t blame you for things outside your control. I won’t disrespect your limits. I won’t waste your energy. I will let you rest when you need to. I will love you daily, and I will never fail to see just how incredible you are.

You have done so much for me. Now, it is time I do the same for you.

Have there been times in your life when you have not honored or cared for your body? Why is it important to honor and esteem yourself?

Image via Brian Tropiano, Darling Issue No. 16

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