Self care, skin care,
& nurturing Mother Nature.

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Living life with good intention, loving with soul, and consuming with a conscience

A Letter to My Body

"My body lets me down, betrays the real me to everyone watching - the me who is not the right kind of anything. It doesn't matter though. I'll cover this skin with new shades of black and grey; I'll become someone new. Through blood and pain and ink I can be remade. I have more to tell than this."
- Ink, Alice Broadway

Those words in one of my most recent reads resonated with me instantly. One part of me read it in a mocking tone - "who's this super-serious killjoy?" - but the other part of me, the part that the words struck a thousand cords with, that part of me related on so many levels. You see, body, me and you haven't really got along ever have we?

Loving your skin, your body, the fibres that make you *you* is something I always preach about and promote, but both you (body) and I know, I just don't practice what I preach: I don't really show you that love you deserve. So let me start by saying sorry for not always seeing your perfectly acceptable size 6/8 cusp body in a positive light in the mirror. Often seeing a grotesquely disproportioned individual staring back at me with a multitude of flaws has led me to neglect you, to not care for you and fail to nurture you, and to simply lock you away from view at times. I have and still continue to compare you to every other body I see - bodies that pass me on the street, bodies that grace my TV screen and social media feeds - I'm working on this, I promise, and I've come a long way but we've got just as much of a long way to go together.

These track marks across my thighs are normal. "Everyone has them" echoes from every body-positive person yet I feel so disappointed with them. They're signs of my growth. They're signs of my adulthood and my visible timeline of becoming a fully-grown woman. But I just can't love you. I can't parade you around with confidence and unshakeable self-assurance like some others can. I can't love your mismatched nostrils. I can't love your crooked teeth. I can't love your polka-straight thin hair. Flaws. That's what I'd describe many aspects of you as but there's a golden saying about "what you see as your flaws, others see as your best parts that make you unique" and maybe I need to start using that as a mantra for us to follow. I'm trying my best to tell myself that if all I see is flaws, that means that's all I'm actively looking for. If all I'm ever doing is actively looking for your flaws, I can never hope to praise you in ny sort of way because the flaws will blind me to any potential beauty - no matter how small or insignificant in my judgemental eyes.

Smothering and suffocating you under layers and layers of fabric in the hopes that you'll run out of breath and morph into something new like some real-time reincarnation has been an attempt to "fix" you in the past. Just as wearing very little in the hopes that someone else will compliment you because I can't has also been a failed attempt at some point in our journey. Right now though, I'm learning. Tolerance is a beautiful word and it encompasses a lot of what we share together. So for now, I tolerate your lumps and bumps. I tolerate your stubborn "pooch" on our tummy that won't disappear no matter how hard I wish and try to work it away. I tolerate your bright and dark veins that have the ability to make my porcelain skin look sore, bruised and award me with the "are you okay? You look really tired" comments from others. I tolerate your pain. I tolerate you not always working properly the way you were designed to. I tolerate your acne (but only just).

"I look at the stretch marks across my hips and the paleness of my skin. I get tired of the people who tell me how refined it is to be pale, how lucky I am. I'm not the right kind of pale - there's no alabaster beauty about me. I'm more of a dull grey. I'm not the right kind of anything. My breasts are too small for me to be curvy; and I'm sure my bum is too big for me to be slim. My face is too quirky to be pretty and too plain to be striking. My hair is too straight to be curly and too wavy to be straight, and no matter how many times I say I'll grow it long I always get bored and chop it short again. I know for a fact that no one has ever chosen to dye their hair the colour mine is: no one asks for mousey brown.

I do quite like my blue eyes, but whatever it takes to be beautiful I certainly don't have it. I see the purple lines clawing their way down my breast and feel ashamed. I notice a new stretch mark and try to rub it away. Surely it's not fair to have stretch marks on practically non-existent boobs? Where is the justice in that?" - Ink, Alice Broadway

We're not always going to be the best of friends and we're not always going to see eye to eye, but there are some promises I want to make and assure I keep from now on. The older I get, the more I realise there's no point in fighting you. There's no gain in hiding you away like a dirty secret and there's no sense in always seeing you as a hindrance. Tolerating you has been the first step but I promise to celebrate you in the future. It won't be all of the time and it won't be filled with love and overflowing praise and positivity, but if I make a slightly sarcastic comment with a sprinkling of "I guess me and my body don't look totally horrendous today", please know that that's me saying thank you to you, body. Thank you for being mine. Thank you for getting me from A to B. Thanks for putting up with the bullying, the put-downs, and the rare compliments I bat away from others about you. I promise I'm going to start accepting them with a big "thank you" and letting you blossom from them.

We've still got a whole lot of time to grow together so I promise to feed you full of nutrition, encouragement, tolerance, and one day, one day we'll get to "love".

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