Hi. Its been a while since I've paid much attention to you and I'm sorry. But here I am reaching out to you to bring you back home to me. A few years ago I lost you, you must've gotten lost in the chaos of trying to find yourself.
Growing up we were pretty close, but somewhere along the way something happened. We went from running around the play ground with scraped knees, not a care in the world, wearing whatever we wanted and eating whatever we wanted, to hiding in the comfort of our home eating bags of chips while watching TV. If I had to pinpoint the exact date I lost you I'd say it was the first day of sixth grade. At eleven years old, shopping with my mother as most eleven year olds do for a perfect first day of school outfit- something happened.
Standing in the old Limited Too store in upstate New York, I looked in the mirror and realized there was something different about me. Looking at the skinny, blonde haired and blue eyed, eleven year old model in the poster hanging above the cash register. Looking back at the overweight, brown-haired, olive skinned, eleven year old girl in the mirror sent me into some sort of paralysis which I was stuck in for another seven years.
The second time I realized you were detached from me, Body, was my first relationship. At 15 years old, after four years of running on my local track team and counting every calorie, I was almost 40 pounds lighter than I was in Limited Too. I wouldn't say I completely hated you, but I'm so sorry Body for treating you so badly. A positive addiction to running which I had acquired, was accompanied with a negative addiction to losing weight.
Every night after going to bed with a pang of hunger so strong that it would sometimes wake me, I would run to the mirror to monitor my shrinking body in the mirror. At 15 years old He asked us out. And at 15 and a half he told us he loved us. But that Love was later replaced with anger. They say anger is a healthy emotion, but Body, I'm so sorry for the scars his love left on you. Constantly worrying about whether you were good enough, you started to give in to the demons telling you you weren't good enough. Struggling to be his ideal, struggling to meet the standards which he had set for his "dream girl", I left my two hour long track and field practice to return home and complete another hour of exercise. After losing another 10 pounds you began to retaliate.
One herniated disc, a few stress fractures, a broken heart and an age of 17 I began to try to find you again. Running, having been my only connection to you for so long, came back to me. I began running- six miles turned into eight which turned into 14 and before I knew it I was running across the finish line of the Saratoga Springs Half Marathon at 18 years old. I ran and ran, until my lungs were left breathless, my legs filled with lead and my heart pounding out of my chest. I ran past it all, past the girl in the mirror at Limited Too, past the girl who could never be his "Dream Girl", past the girl who desperately wanted to love and be loved. I ran into you Body.
I gained 5 pounds of muscle during my marathon training which I can attribute to learning how to eat like a normal person again. And with the extra 5 I gained in college which made me temporarily hate myself, you, Body, responded with a little extra bounce in my step. My runs no longer felt forever long, my body no longer felt forever week.
So, Body, now that we meet again I have an apology for you. I'm so sorry for everything you've been through these past seven years. The 800 calorie days, the long runs on no food, the verbal and physical abuse I put you through after a day of normal eating. I'm sorry for all of the awful things I've said to you, the public embarrassment felt when you caved in and fell to the floor in Walmart, then again in ShopRite behind the cash register. I'm sorry for ignoring you when you were so hungry in fear of being "fat".
Not only am I sorry Body but I am thankful. Thank you for putting up with me. Thank you for keeping me alive and keeping my heart beating. Thank you for bouncing back from the blows which I dealt you with resilience. Thank you for having strong legs which carry me through my morning runs and keep me dancing at my favorite concerts. Thank you for having a voice so loud, one which finally reached my head and told me to to recover.
(This blog post was originally shared on the Odyssey Online)