Words and image by Laci Hoyt
I am writing you this letter because there are so many things I never say to you even though I speak to you daily. There are so many words that I have for you yet I feel like I don't even know where to start... but I suppose anywhere will do.
You have carried me through just shy of 40 years of life so far. It's crazy to think about that much time having passed. In some ways I still feel far younger than that, but as you know, in other ways this body feels much, much older.
I spend so much time hating on you, I know. And I know it isn't fair. You put up with so much abuse from the way I constantly run into things to the way other people comment on your existence... it is so incredibly cruel of me to add my own hurtful comments on top. But I promise you, I'm trying to change this. Really, I am.
We've been through so much together and despite the really bad years we've had recently, you've continued to carry us both forward, making possible what feels insurmountable to my brain. I've been so surprised over the last year to see how much recovery you've been capable of. I never thought we'd walk without a cane again, yet we haven't needed it in months.
Look. I know I've been hating on the rolls around my middle and the way that fat has pooled in my torso. I know that I've been cruel about my thighs and how no part of my body fits anymore into clothes I've had for at least 10 years. I want you to understand how hard it is to get used to this new body after having the same body for most of my life... but I also know I need to be kinder.
The fact is, I'm not mad at you for changing. I know it seems like I am. But I know it isn't your fault. It isn't your fault that we're sick and that we can't do life the way we used to. Neither one of us asked for this. And the truth is, you've handled this thing amazingly. I hate to think of where I would be had you not shown so much strength over the last seven years.
So I'm trying to change. I am trying to notice the strength of our legs, rather than the bulk. I am trying to love our squishy center regions. I am trying to learn to look in the mirror and see beauty and remind myself daily that all bodies are good bodies.
Please know that I am amazed by you. Just last week when I sliced my finger, I noticed how you set to work right away to heal the broken skin and I was in awe of the process. You are made perfectly and you are so wise and I promise I will learn that size doesn't matter, though it is going to take some time. Slowly, I will learn to lean more toward the awe at what we can do. Already I see glimmers of this in those moments when I look in the mirror and think, "This body actually looks strong and healthy." With time, these thoughts will not be as fleeting as they are now.
And I will defend you when people comment on how we look because I am so tired of other people thinking it's okay to talk about whether or not they think I am too big or too small and I know that you deserve for my opinion of you to be favorable and to outweigh what anyone else thinks of you.
Lastly, thank you. Thank you for carrying us through everything we've been through. Thank you for figuring out how to rise again and again. Thank you for giving me warnings when things aren't right and for signaling to me when we need help... and, remember a few years ago, when we could have died? I never thanked you for surviving that, for helping me know that we needed emergency help and then for healing through that. I never thanked you because that's when this body really started to change and I wasn't grateful for the change. But I am, and always was, grateful to you for surviving that. And I promise to learn to be kinder to you, to love and appreciate the whole you as much as I appreciate our hands.
With growing love and hope,
About the Author:
Laci lives in a little town in upstate NY with her husband and two teenagers. She writes about living with chronic illness, love and relationships, and any other thing she can’t get out of her head. When she isn’t writing she can be found with knitting needles and yarn or hunched over the sewing machine making all the things.