This Open Letter to My Body is like the library book in the back seat of my car, way overdue!
I’m writing today to ask for absolution of the sins I’ve committed against you over the years. I know I’ve treated you like the friend who’s always going to be there for me no matter how much I’ve neglected her before. Oh sure, I promise you I’ll take better care of you – give you exercise, eat right, clip your toenails – only to break those promises the next day.
Ok. I know, I know. I’m not being truly honest here. I don’t usually make it to the next day.
And what do I ask in return? That you be there for me through thick and thin. (Ahem, that is something to be taken literally.) I feed you junk food and ask you to look fabulous in jeans. I don’t exercise you enough, but ask you to keep me going strong throughout my busy days. I slurp down the caffeine which means I can’t give you the rest you need and still…I set the alarm for 5:30 am. Is this enough self flagellation or should I continue?
I know you have a lot going on inside. There’s so much about you I know so little about. And frankly, there’s some things I just don’t want to know. Like colons? I’m sorry, that’s just gross.
I get it. I’ve been a bad friend. I know this because I’ve looked up the symptoms of being a bad friend. It includes some combination of these:
- I ask you to be someone that you’re not. Since we’re being completely honest here, I do wish there were some things different about you. For example, you’re a lightweight when it comes to calories; I wish you could handle a few more. I don’t really think that’s asking too much. But, it’s been awhile now and that’s just not changing. I guess it’s time I get over it. You are who you are. Someone told me once you can’t go to a steak restaurant and order tofu. Well, you can if you don’t mind getting a slab of white, unmarinated tofu on a plate. (Trust me, I’ve had this happen and it’s not great.) You’re tofu. With a little marinade and seasonings you can be fabulous, but you have to know what you’re working with.
- I promise you things, and don’t follow through. Sure, I say we’ll do things like exercise, stretching and eating right, and then I just don’t get around to it. In my defense, though, I only gorged on chocolate so many times because I read something once that said it was good for you! It’s not because I loved the taste of it or anything like that.
- I only think about you except when I need you. I obviously have mistreated you and only pay attention to you when you’re not there for me. But you know you’re a part of this problem too. If you could have learned to speak up a little louder when I was younger, I would have gotten better at this one sooner. Now you’re finally getting your voice and I hear you loud and clear. No more jumbo size bags of potato chips in one setting. I promise!
- I show you too much disrespect. Sure, I openly say how much I hate you in front of others, I just didn’t know you were so sensitive about it. Jeez!
I’m inconsiderate. I get it. I’m a louse.
Today I want to change all that. I want to be a good friend. To prove it, I looked up the qualities of being a good friend. Here are some of them:
- Listen – I need to learn to listen to you. What makes you feel your best? I already know what makes you feel awful – all you can eat greasy pizza buffets? Forget about it! But I also need to learn what makes you feel less than tip-top.
- Be kind – I need to do a better job getting you the exercise you need. Like my dog that needs a good run at the dog park, I need to get you out to play and run and enjoy movement. No, I’m not saying you’re a dog. Oy, I forgot how sensitive you can be. I’m just saying we need to find more fun ways to get exercise, not just trudging through another 30 minutes on the treadmill.
- Give a little – I’ve got the whole “taking” thing down when it comes to you. Now it’s time I need to learn to give a little. Sure, I may want a second helping of that delicious meal, but I know it’s going to make you feel like a ton of bricks are sitting on you. I guess I’ll give to you by taking less for myself.
- Be real – I may want to add more hours to the day so I can keep up with my “to do” list, but I know there’s only so much you can give. But then again, if I learn to treat you better, who knows what heights we can reach…together!
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”
You and me, we’re like old friends. I’ve been stupid (more times than I care to admit). Thanks for being there for me in those stupid times. Now I want to say thank you for being patient with me as we move toward smarter days.