Undoubtedly, you have been through a lot. You have been invaded multiple times, your wants being ignored. You have clenched up out of fear and been violated and scared. You have been treated like an object belonging to someone other than you.
You have been hurt by disordered eating behaviors. You have been fed too much and too little. You have lost yourself in these actions. You have been criticized and not appreciated for your true purpose: to allow me to live, to go see friends, to enjoy ice cream.
Overall, you have been mistreated. You have not been treated like a friend, and for all that you do, you deserve better. For these things, I am so sorry.
I want you to remember that you and I are autonomous beings. You are not anyone else's. You have a say over what happens to you, even when you feel powerless. You are so able and strong and you will be respected. You deserve that; it is (or should be) a right instead of a privilege. I read one time that skin cells live about two to three weeks, meaning the skin that was damaged and disrespected is long gone.
Thank you for all you've done despite what I have done to you. You work so hard to keep me alive and keep my body functioning at its best. You love me so much and I have not loved you back in the way you deserve.
To the mind that's inside the body, thank you for getting me through the worst. You have survived chemical imbalances and mental health challenges. You have found a way out of the dark every single time. You weren't alone in this — friends and family definitely helped — but ultimately, you had the choice, and you made the right one. You deserve credit, too. At the end of the day, you're what I have, you're what makes the final decision.
Here's to better days with you; here's to being your friend. Here's to going to Zumba classes because they're fun, not because I want you to work off calories. Here's to knowing I have the power to try to stand up for you as best I can when people try to take what's yours. Here's to your favorites, like bubble baths and a cup of fudge brownie with chocolate peanut butter ice cream. Here's to hugs and warm showers and whatever food you're craving. Here's to sleep and relaxation.
Engaging in these activities and behaviors won't be easy. It's hard for me to ignore the calculator in my head when I eat because it's been with me for so long. Beating revictimization and self-worth issues will take time. Body, you are constantly going places to do homework and get involved with the campus community and see friends, which doesn't leave much time for sleep in a short 24 hour day.
But I will try. When you're happy, so am I. I know that I won't regret making strides for my well-being. I know that I'm stronger than I used to be and that I'm trying to make up for what we've lost and to work on improving. This is not the beginning, nor is it the end. This is knowing that I can and deserve to heal. This is for us.
Like Mary Lambert sang in her song "Body Love": "Our bodies deserve more than to be war-torn and collateral... my body is home."
With all of the love and appreciation you've deserved for so long,