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June 25, 2015

Dear Body.

U.S. Navy

Dear Body,

Do you remember those times when we didn’t get along?

When I would despise you and shy away from my reflection in the mirror? Or stare to find an acceptable angle to look at you? When I thought you weren’t pretty or skinny enough?

I blamed all my perceived failures on you, my physical appearance and the size of my clothes were my biggest defect and one that I could not manage to solve. Now I know it was all utter crap.

Deep down I was just looking for a scapegoat for my insecurities because for my rational mind it was a lot easier to blame my unmotivated teenage sadness on you, than to accept the unsettledness of the moment and go with the flow. I know it now because a few months back I went through those exact thought processes.

I was struggling, so I slowly lapsed into blaming you again.

Only this time, there wasn’t anything for me to blame while getting dressed in the morning. My stomach was flat, my cheekbones came out quite nicely. I could see the muscles tense in my forearms while I cooked, write or fasten the button of my shirts. So now I know that it was all an immature way of dealing with growing up and being uncomfortable as many other girls do.

I feel I owe you an apology for all the criticism.

For all the days I skipped lunch or tried some extreme fad diet—and also for when I would eat a whole box of cereal in any afternoon (then skip dinner). For all the nail biting, cuticle pulling and chewing at my lips of which I am still guilty today. For comparing you to other girls and wishing you looked like them.

Despite all, you have not given up on me.

You were born strong and you fought through all this, breaking only once. I still believe that my injury was your way to warn me, and it worked: you stopped me in my tracks and turned my life upside down. I am still grateful for those six months without running.

You are a great teacher.

You’ve taught me that boundaries can be stretched to the point of achieving the impossible, or what I thought to be so. Once I started running, you’ve taught me how much truth is in the saying “Mens sana, in corpore sano”, “A healthy mind in a  healthy body.”

You’ve taught me to appreciate you for what you can do, not for what you look like. That it does not matter if I need a bigger size of jeans to cover my marathon-running thighs. That a flat stomach is secondary to a strong core which keeps me injury free.

You’ve helped me to find peace and calm when I run.

Most importantly, you’ve taught me patience, the patience to wait for life to unfold at its own pace.

Never in my teenage years I would have imagined that I was going to drop almost two sizes in clothes or have a flat stomach.

After years of attempts to lose weight, you morphed in that toned version of myself I dreamed about, almost overnight. I sometimes wish I had not stressed so much about you and just enjoyed myself a bit more.

As I can’t change the past, I am practicing your lessons everyday for when I stress about the future.

Now I take a deep breath, give thanks for all I have today and focus on doing my best.

Life will take care of herself.

Thank you so much for being there and for being strong.

~

Relephant Read: 

Life Lessons from a Six Day Run.

~

Author: Sara Tomassini

Editor: Renee Jahnke

Photo: US Navy-Flickr

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Sara Tomassini