August 7, 2012

Dear Body: An Apology. ~ Alysa Auriemma

Photo credit: Courtney Emery

Dear Body,

Hey. It’s Brain talking to you.

Remember me?

I’m that voice that told you when we were 19,

“Hey, Ally. You’re single, 200 pounds, and a size 18 in jeans. Your life is a joke. Maybe it’s a good idea to eat everything in your kitchen. Meet you at the bread drawer with a jar of Nutella.”

Or a few years later, conversely,

“Yo Ally. Good job! You lost 70 pounds and now you’re the skinniest you’ve ever been. You know what would be awesome? If you didn’t eat anything today and then went to the gym for 4 hours. And diuretics. Take those!”

I’ve blown you up with fat. I’ve shrunken you down to the bone.

I’ve stuffed you with binges and dehydrated you and purged you out at the gym.

I’ve fed you and spit it out into toilets, trash cans and forest floors.

Fainting, crying, shaking and confessions.

And I was never even on a season of Big Brother.

There’s a lot of things I want to apologize for—there’s a lot of things I have to apologize for.

So let me just get right down to it.

And I made a list because I wanted to include everything (and there’s a lot to be sorry for unfortunately):

I’m sorry I compare you to everyone else.

There’s only one of you. I should make you as special as I can, right?

I’m sorry my habits took away your menstrual cycle.

I didn’t have a natural period for three years and I’m sorry I took away your fertility so I could fit into size 0 jeans.

I’m sorry I taught you fear of sex and fear of men.

When you were obese all I wanted was someone to love you just as you were, but I made you chase after idiots. They broke your heart and made you diamond hard on the inside.

And even after the weight came off and I became smaller, bonier and frailer when I should have been expanding, the love I chased with all of my might never materialized because I still didn’t love you first.

Conversely, this isolation kept you protected from feeling any sort of scary emotion.

It kept you “safe.” It kept you from meeting people who would have been kind to you, who would have loved you and honored you and done you good.

Through yoga, I am inquiring into my deepest self, and I can feel you and I open further with every step we take on our mat.

I’m sorry for calling you ugly.

I hated my classmates. I would look at the faces and bodies of my perfect, blonde WASP friends and just tick off the problems with you.

You were too short, too ethnic, too hairy, too awkward.

Your jaw was misaligned.

Your stomach pudged from your pants.

Your eyebrows didn’t separate until I learned how to pluck you when I was 13 years old, the same year I started wearing makeup to school in order to hide my real face.

You were goddamn beautiful child and shame on me for not recognizing it until now.

I’m sorry I denied you food, nourishment, love and self-worth.

That time you passed out in the bathroom of the community theater you worked at because I had pushed you to your breaking point was my last straw.

We had to get better. Or rather, I did.

For one solid year, I robbed you of the greatest joy in your life. All because I wanted to whittle you down to a nub, to make you fit into those pants you bought that a Russian pre-teen couldn’t fit into.

Gone were the flushed cheeks, the thick hair, the glowing skin. I was destroying my ahimsa, the precious yoga law of world non-harm that must always come first from your own self-care and self-worth.

I harmed you for a long, long time.

And oh holy hell, I’m sorry I didn’t realize how insanely hot you are.

Sure, I’m not a svelte supermodel nor a toned beach volleyball player.

I’m an Italian and I have hips. But I have an ass. I have biceps. I have strong thighs.

I may not have gotten the body I wanted when I first started practicing yoga, but yoga gave me the body I need. It gave me back my strength, it gave me back my curves and it gave me back my ass.

Thanks, yoga. And I’m sorry, Body, for taking all of those delicious delights away.

Kind of a metaphor, eh? All the while I was trying to correct you for something you never messed up to begin with.

You never needed any changing or dissection or pain or shame or the aching loneliness I crammed down your throat in the shape of Dark Chocolate Milanos for so many awful years.

You were lovely. You are lovely. You are radiant. You are you.

And shame on me for punishing you when you did nothing wrong.

So I am sorry. I am deeply, deeply sorry. And I hope one day you can forgive me.


Alysa Auriemma is a writer, teacher, devoted Kripalu and Baptiste yogi and lover of hot chocolate, even in the summertime. She practices Kripalu and Pranakriya vinyasa yoga under the guidance of elephant contributor Anne Falkowski along with several other beautiful teachers at her home studio. You can find her teaching, reading, writing or on the web at www.theculturebarista.blogspot.com.


Editor: Jamie Morgan

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