Today I have decided to tell you that I love you. It’s taken me a great many years to figure this out and express it. Sorry. Better late than never, I guess? It’s not about what size jeans I fit in to, or what I look like in a mini dress. It’s about loving you for everything you have done for me, and most of all, it’s about respecting you and your needs.
Thank you for carrying me from adventure to adventure when I was a little girl. So many falls, scrapes, knocks and trips, but you stayed strong. You allowed me to crawl, walk and run. To climb trees, to skip, to play chasey with my friends, to dance and squeal with delight at being able to stay up past dark and play spotlight in the trees. Because of you, I got to play and play until I was breathless and exhausted every day, then crawl into bed and recharge to do it all again the next day.
The teen years – urgh! Horrid puberty, the onset of periods, growing of breasts, explosion of pimples and regular broken hearts. But you stayed strong, despite my stupid idea to take up smoking because it would help me to control my weight and make me look cool – it didn’t of course, but I was too ignorant to understand the damage I was doing to my Bronchitis-plagued and Asthmatic lungs. Consumption of too much diet cola drinks instead of water – my poor, poor kidneys.
My twenties – God bless my kidneys and liver because lord knows they did more than their fair share of work during my twenties. Too much partying, not enough sleep, working too hard and not eating the right foods, drinking enough water or thinking long term about my health, because I was invincible. Although I did give up cigarettes when I was twenty-two ; one of the best things I have ever done. Suddenly, at the age of twenty nine, I realised my body had to last me a life time. A LIFE TIME. Time to wise up. Time to change.
My thirties – despite years of abuse and neglect, and only a few of kindness, you managed to create, grow, deliver and nurture four big, healthy babies in seven years. Four fat little bubbas, each with a huge head (Karma?) and a strong appetite. During this time I was pregnant for a total of three years, I breast fed for a total of four years and lost approximately two years of sleep with their around the clock feeding. But still, not only was my body strong enough to survive extreme sleep deprivation, exhaustion, pregnancy and births, it was strong enough for me to continue all of my other activities, like working, relaxing, being a wife, friend and co-worker as well as a strong return to fitness.
My forties – they’ve only just begun. But it’s now that I realise what an incredible gift I have in my beautiful healthy body. It has stretchmarks from pregnancy, but I like to think of those as tiger stripes. It has separated abdominal muscles from four large bubbas, meaning that tight tops or bikinis are out, but I prefer to think of it as a ‘renovation’ to the home my babies grew in. My thighs have cellulite, but I prefer to think of it as hail damage from weathering all the storms of my past. My hair is greying (prematurely) and my skin is developing lines, but that’s ok because a lot of worry and hard times have gone into those greys, and millions of smiles and laughs have creased my once smooth skin. I don’t look like a supermodel, but then again, I never did, so why beat myself up about it now?
I do Yoga to heal my body from my teens and twenties, from my breeding thirties and to calm the constant chatter in my mind from being a super busy mum, wife, friend and employee. My body needs to last me for, maybe, another forty years, so if it’s falling apart now, what hope does that give me for the state it will be in when I’m fifty, sixty or seventy? No, I love my body. I listen to my body. I am going to do everything in order to ensure my body is in the best possible health for the rest of my life, because, hopefully, that’s going to be a long time. It’s the least I can do for it – considering how much it’s done for me.
Lots of love and gratitude,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, LOVE YOUR BODY.