Sarah Loverock

A letter of apology to my body

Dear Body,

It has come to my attention you have now decided everything is painful.

A blanket that is too bobbly or heavy feels like glass against our skin. Resting our legs on top of each other while trying to sleep is too painful. Every food makes us nauseous, even tofu and strawberries.

You want to go back to the days of binge eating chocolate in bed. I sympathise with your dream but not every day can be spent in bed, unfortunately we live in a society that values work over all else-even health-so I'm going to have to ask you to start pulling your weight.

There is no need for the ache in my hips, the pressure on my chest and neck, the stiffness in my back and shoulders. Every couple of seconds it's pop pop pop squeezing out the tension like I'm a human accordion. Then there's the burning pain, like being scolded by a kettle or the hot needles jabbed into my joints.

I would like one more night without a racing, anxious mind, the constant tugging need to roll over and check my phone. (Has he replied? Will I ever find love?) Being so exhausted and unable to fall asleep is just unfair, let's not mention the muscle spasms that jerk my hands and feet, the electric shocks buzz through us, the echo of my heart palpitations, reminding me that I'm alive, I'm awake and yes, still in pain.

I am sorry I despised you for a decade. You have to understand, girls like me are supposed to be a myth. They won't let you be tall and broad as a girl, they won't let you take up space. You've got to be thin and quiet and beautiful. They don't have any use for girls with big noses, big hands and big hearts.

Are you punishing me for all the binge eating? For all the times I looked in the mirror and started crying at the cystic acne and oily skin? How about my teenage years when I wanted nothing more than to carve off the layers of fat on my stomach like strips of butcher's meat?

I remember the crippling period cramps you gave me, when I'd scream on the bathroom floor and punch my own abdomen, trying to make them stop. I'd give anything for my uterus to be ripped out and flushed down the toilet. It should have been an omen, then, that there'd be some kind of retribution for rejecting you.

You're the only body I'll ever have. And I've hid you behind oversized hoodies and sweatshirts, trying to bury the dark hairs, the stretchmarks and cellulite. I let my head of hair grow long and unkempt, down to my shoulders. I let the bangs sweep away half my face because of the asymmetry few people noticed. But I noticed and I hated it. I hated myself.

Then when I finally decided I was beautiful, when I looked in the mirror and thought, 'Gods, someone will love me one day,' and when I felt you out, ran my hands over my breasts, traced my nails against my skin with a delightful shiver and let my hands linger further south, you turned on me.

I remember the night before the hospital-the horrible searing pain from the lower back down, running down my legs and turning my muscles to stone. The cramps were excruciating, the pain lasted even when I'd numbed both legs with ice and I was sobbing on the bed. I couldn't put weight on them for days afterwards. I didn't sleep for a week, kept awake by agony and nausea and dread.

This is it, I thought. No one will love us now.

In all these months I've learned that you're just as beautiful as before, if unreliable. I wish I didn't have to fight with you. I wish we could do things together, go on long walks and museum trips and go to craft fairs without getting exhausted and achy. I really hope you won't hold me back from life and intimacy, that this won't be a thing that turns into a complex. Gods know I've got enough body image issues to boot.

But you're still the one I want. You're the only body I'll ever have-the only one for me. And I know you're tired and that you're in pain. And that you're angry with me, for all those able years wasted, crying by the side of a bathtub or gaslighted by our parents but we're still valuable. We're still worthy of love.

We can get through this together. We can learn to co-exist.

With love,
Your most gracious consciousness,
Sarah Loverock.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Sarah Loverock (she/her) is a writer, poet, and MA Creative Writing student. She has been previously published in Streetcake, ang(st) zine, Perhappened and Pussy Magic. She loves all things witchy and spiritual, history and mythology, and cute animals. She is available on Twitter @asoftblueending.