I loved you when I was a little kid. I would puff out my stomach and rub it and love it and adore this belly of mine. I ran. I danced. I tried all sorts of sports. I scraped my knees and ate lots of broccoli and wore bikinis. I had the immeasurable amount of confidence that young girls have. But somewhere along the way, something shifted. Instead of strong, you became weak. Instead of beautiful, you became ugly. And instead of my friend, you became my enemy.
I spent years trying to mold you into the perfect shape. I stood in front of the mirror and pushed and pulled and squished the skin around my tummy to make me look thin, as if my worth was measured in the size of my waist. I stopped playing sports. I stopped eating broccoli. I stopped wearing bikinis. I tried so hard to fit into the box that society placed me in, and I’m sorry that I dragged you down with me.
I was sad for a really long time.
And then, I got fed up.
And I started swimming.
And I began to nourish you with fruits and vegetables.
And I chose the outfits that I wanted to wear, not the ones that society wanted me to wear.
And slowly, but surely, I began to start loving you again.
I gained back my confidence, and looked at your curves and stretch marks and cellulite with adoration. I began rubbing my tummy again — not in a creepy way, but in a loving and kind way. The way that my mama used to rub my back to help me sleep.
We became a team again, and once we started our lifestyle change, we took on the world. We became strong. We became beautiful. We became friends.
But now that I’m in college, I’m surrounded by people that are still battling their insecurities, and I can feel myself slipping back into my old routines of self-sabotage.
So, body, I ask you to be patient with me. I may not love you as much as I did last year, but I promise I’m working on changing that. I promise we’re going to be strong again. I promise I’m going to think you’re beautiful again. And, most of all, I promise we’re going to be friends again. It just might take a little longer than expected.