Dear Body: An Apology. ~ Alysa Auriemma

Via on Aug 7, 2012
Photo credit: Courtney Emery

Dear Body,

Hey. It’s Brain talking to you.

Remember me?

I’m that voice that told you when we were 19,

“Hey, Ally. You’re single, 200 pounds, and a size 18 in jeans. Your life is a joke. Maybe it’s a good idea to eat everything in your kitchen. Meet you at the bread drawer with a jar of Nutella.”

Or a few years later, conversely,

“Yo Ally. Good job! You lost 70 pounds and now you’re the skinniest you’ve ever been. You know what would be awesome? If you didn’t eat anything today and then went to the gym for 4 hours. And diuretics. Take those!”

I’ve blown you up with fat. I’ve shrunken you down to the bone.

I’ve stuffed you with binges and dehydrated you and purged you out at the gym.

I’ve fed you and spit it out into toilets, trash cans and forest floors.

Fainting, crying, shaking and confessions.

And I was never even on a season of Big Brother.

There’s a lot of things I want to apologize for—there’s a lot of things I have to apologize for.

So let me just get right down to it.

And I made a list because I wanted to include everything (and there’s a lot to be sorry for unfortunately):

I’m sorry I compare you to everyone else.

There’s only one of you. I should make you as special as I can, right?

I’m sorry my habits took away your menstrual cycle.

I didn’t have a natural period for three years and I’m sorry I took away your fertility so I could fit into size 0 jeans.

I’m sorry I taught you fear of sex and fear of men.

When you were obese all I wanted was someone to love you just as you were, but I made you chase after idiots. They broke your heart and made you diamond hard on the inside.

And even after the weight came off and I became smaller, bonier and frailer when I should have been expanding, the love I chased with all of my might never materialized because I still didn’t love you first.

Conversely, this isolation kept you protected from feeling any sort of scary emotion.

It kept you “safe.” It kept you from meeting people who would have been kind to you, who would have loved you and honored you and done you good.

Through yoga, I am inquiring into my deepest self, and I can feel you and I open further with every step we take on our mat.

I’m sorry for calling you ugly.

I hated my classmates. I would look at the faces and bodies of my perfect, blonde WASP friends and just tick off the problems with you.

You were too short, too ethnic, too hairy, too awkward.

Your jaw was misaligned.

Your stomach pudged from your pants.

Your eyebrows didn’t separate until I learned how to pluck you when I was 13 years old, the same year I started wearing makeup to school in order to hide my real face.

You were goddamn beautiful child and shame on me for not recognizing it until now.

I’m sorry I denied you food, nourishment, love and self-worth.

That time you passed out in the bathroom of the community theater you worked at because I had pushed you to your breaking point was my last straw.

We had to get better. Or rather, I did.

For one solid year, I robbed you of the greatest joy in your life. All because I wanted to whittle you down to a nub, to make you fit into those pants you bought that a Russian pre-teen couldn’t fit into.

Gone were the flushed cheeks, the thick hair, the glowing skin. I was destroying my ahimsa, the precious yoga law of world non-harm that must always come first from your own self-care and self-worth.

I harmed you for a long, long time.

And oh holy hell, I’m sorry I didn’t realize how insanely hot you are.

Sure, I’m not a svelte supermodel nor a toned beach volleyball player.

I’m an Italian and I have hips. But I have an ass. I have biceps. I have strong thighs.

I may not have gotten the body I wanted when I first started practicing yoga, but yoga gave me the body I need. It gave me back my strength, it gave me back my curves and it gave me back my ass.

Thanks, yoga. And I’m sorry, Body, for taking all of those delicious delights away.

Kind of a metaphor, eh? All the while I was trying to correct you for something you never messed up to begin with.

You never needed any changing or dissection or pain or shame or the aching loneliness I crammed down your throat in the shape of Dark Chocolate Milanos for so many awful years.

You were lovely. You are lovely. You are radiant. You are you.

And shame on me for punishing you when you did nothing wrong.

So I am sorry. I am deeply, deeply sorry. And I hope one day you can forgive me.

-Brain

Alysa Auriemma is a writer, teacher, devoted Kripalu and Baptiste yogi and lover of hot chocolate, even in the summertime. She practices Kripalu and Pranakriya vinyasa yoga under the guidance of elephant contributor Anne Falkowski along with several other beautiful teachers at her home studio. You can find her teaching, reading, writing or on the web at www.theculturebarista.blogspot.com.

 

Editor: Jamie Morgan

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40 Responses to “Dear Body: An Apology. ~ Alysa Auriemma”

  1. ann says:

    Just beautiful. I'm speechless. Welcome home.

  2. Powerful stuff, Alysa.

    Thanks for being here.

    Bob W. Associate Publisher
    Enjoy Best of elephant journal

  3. Thank you.
    Many Blessings
    xo

  4. Love this Alyssa: "You were lovely. You are lovely. You are radiant. You are you.

    And shame on me for punishing you when you did nothing wrong."

    Thanks for writing it!

  5. Anne Falkowski says:

    Alyssa you are so beautiful and brilliant. Keep on shining your light. Your writing rocks.

  6. Jasmine says:

    Thanks for this, while reading my brain and my body could relate and it spoke to my heart.

  7. Wynona says:

    The raw honesty you’ve shared is bittersweet – too many of us share this storey. Thank you.

  8. KM says:

    I could have written this. In fact, I think I have written this almost exact same letter (but I’m not Italian, I am Dutch, also with hips), but saved it somewhere. Isn’t this a beautiful place to be in, right now? I can totally relate. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Frankie says:

    I am just starting my yoga journey. I hope one day I can feel this way about my mind and body.

    Thank you.

  10. Bonnie says:

    Thank you for sharing your honesty about all that you put yourself through. I have a similar story and am now helping people learn to love their bodies. XOX

  11. Allyce says:

    Wow… My name is Ally too and when I read that a huge ball of emotion came right up into my throat. I have also struggled with eating issues and today was having a particularly hard time silencing the negative voices that always remain in the background even though they talk alot quieter now thankfully =)
    Thankyou for your honesty, you literally hit my very own heart.

    • Ally says:

      Allyce: The voices for me never really went away. I just try to stop listening, or channel them into different tones or dialects that affirm positive thinking. Hang in there, you've got this.

  12. [...] and recognize when I am out of sync both on and off of the mat. I feel so in tune with my physical body, and that’s something I didn’t know existed before [...]

  13. Gina says:

    Thank you.

  14. Kristina says:

    Such a strong and beautiful article. What a discovery you've made! Thank you for sharing.

  15. [...] 15. Pick flowers. 16. Give the flowers to someone. 17. Tell someone they’re beautiful. 18. Tell yourself you’re beautiful. 19. Do something nice for someone and don’t tell anyone you did it. 20. Lay in the sun naked. 21. [...]

  16. Kelly says:

    Thank you for saying the things I don’t think I’ll ever be able to. You are strong and brave and lovely

  17. Meghan says:

    Thank you for writing this.

  18. catnipkiss says:

    thank you for your honesty and for sharing your story with us! Hugs – Alexa M.

  19. lisa says:

    such a raw and beautiful and honest post. thanks. this will help many others…and i can certainly relate on so many levels. we dissect ourselves with broken eyes…i did…xo~lis

  20. [...] the positive characteristics that you have. If you have access to yoga studios or yoga videos, movement is a great way to heal from body shame. I encourage you to take a class and start to view your body in a positive [...]

  21. Kathleen says:

    I love this. Thank you. :)

  22. Beautiful writing, beautiful lady. Your story is extreme but most could have written a few of these lines at one time or another. Congratulations on finding and sharing yourself so lovingly.

  23. Tracey Jackson says:

    This really speaks to me. Thank you Ally.

  24. Ash13y says:

    At this I am speechless, my eyes fill with tears as I sob from a place of pain but also love and gratitude. You have reached a place I have seen and working to come to know, and the timing couldn't be more perfect. Thank you for sharing this dialog it means a world to me and I am sure many others <3

  25. Cami says:

    Yes. Yes. Yes. You spoke from my past, my own experience, my own heart.

  26. Kama says:

    Wow what an incredible post. Thank you so much for sharing, I am sure we all have something to learn from this.

  27. [...] would still be body image and self-esteem issues, but I never went into yoga the same way again. My practice transformed into surrender and [...]

  28. [...] my first article for this website was like taking a butter knife and scraping it along my bones. It brought up a lot of memories. It [...]

  29. [...] noticed for a while now how quick people, and especially women, are to say sorry. And for no good reason other than needing to order a glass of water, get out of a huffy [...]

  30. [...] I have dieted to the point of losing my menstrual cycle (so imagine my surprise when I found myself pregnant during one such phase) and then during the off season I bulked up, just to diet down again. [...]

  31. [...] spent many years and many more dollars poisoning this body with cigarettes, alcohol and a colorful list of drugs. I’ve extended the damage with a misguided [...]

  32. Great, this can be exactly what my wife and I needed to learn

  33. [...] order to stay aligned, so that we are available to receive gravity’s gifts, we must engage in a process of unwinding and unraveling the tension and holding patterns that accumulate in our bodies as a result of all-too-commonplace [...]

  34. jess says:

    Oh, my heart. Yes.

  35. Alexa GK says:

    Can totally relate, thanks for writing this. beautiful.

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