This is a re-written version of this letter to myself.
I was never even a little bit kind to her. We’d been pushed together the whole of our lives without any choice at all, really. You’d think after 38 years there’d be some sort of peace offering, acceptance, or even a simple agreement. I couldn’t. It wasn’t right. Everyone else seemed just fine with her, but I knew. I knew she wasn’t good enough, and I wouldn’t pretend as such, for that may cause the worst of outcomes—she’d stop striving to be better… perfect.
There is little to no doubt I’ve been the worst offender—blatantly rude, royally cruel in every way. I said awful things; things I wouldn’t dare say to or even think of someone else. I didn’t attempt to understand her much less properly care for her. I constantly waivered with my wants; sometimes I pushed too hard and other times too little—never finding a consistent balance. I could not come to terms with the fact that she just wasn’t the way I wanted her to be. No matter how hard she worked. And she did work hard—in all ways really, but never enough to satisfy my scrutinizing eye and judgmental mind.
When the signs crept in warning me something wasn’t right, I ignored them for far too long, even after surgeries, doctors, pain, and loss… mind-numbing loss. Time and time again, I obstinately pushed aside the notion that this might just be what is, refusing to accept she wasn’t built for it. At every turn I convinced her, rather easily I might add, just one more time. Let’s try just one more time. And she did; eager to please, handling each go with humility, strength, and grace. More than I deserved for certain.
After four years of infertility and a second emergency surgery, it occurred to me (most obnoxiously overdue, of course) just how admirable she has always been; how in awe of her grit and resilience I should be… and was; how she kept showing up—never letting our past color her outlook or willingness to endure. I began to recognize the warrior in her, at times fighting and pushing even harder than me toward our goal. Rather than my typical feelings of shame, hate, and degradation, I began to feel proud.
This revelation was far from the end of our story or her perseverance. We spent two more years undergoing surgical procedures, navigating a seventh miscarriage and three IVF transfers. Her voice became essential—the answer to every question and the core of every decision. Eventually, I asked her to tell me when she was ready to stop, when the medical intervention became too much. But, I should have known she would never wave that white flag; she would remain fierce in her pursuit; she would drive until total destruction. It would be up to me to save her from herself.
It was time to put her at ease and allow her to fully heal. Not just from surgery and drugs, but from a lifetime of harsh conditions and freely giving without proper nurturing in return; doing everything to please without ever truly being seen. It was time to hug her and let her know she is beautiful and welcomed and loved no matter what. It was time to be humble and grateful.
To my strong, able, beautiful body:
Thank you will never be enough, but still, these are the words I have for your willingness, strength, and endurance. You have done everything I’ve asked of you…needed of you…wanted of you.
We’re going to stop now.
No more injections. No more hormones. No more procedures. No more schedules. No more blood draws. No more specialists.
I know you wanted it, too. In fact, I led you to believe carrying a child was our purpose, the best thing we would ever do. But that is a lie I was told and then believed and then passed on. I know now it is not the only thing we were made for. And it is time to focus on things that make us feel vibrant and extraordinary, rather than bruised and damaged.
We’ll travel. Let’s spin the globe and visit all the places we never thought we would and climb all the mountains and see all the things that take our breath away.
We’ll soak up the little, brilliant things that make our world remarkable; like waking up to J. and snuggling the pups and sunrises and belly laughing and warm campfires. We’ll revel in all the goodness.
We’ll grow things. Bringing color to life feels like progress and healing and serenity and wonderment. And we need more of that.
We’ll write and paint every day because that makes us feel most alive and human and grateful and challenged and vulnerable. Creating is our never ending pool of joy and the best of who we are.
And finally, we’ll mother. It won’t be traditional or as simple as we originally thought or wanted. But it will be glorious just the same.
I’m proud of you. I see you. I love you. And I will take care of you.
It’s time to rest now, my sweet, dear body.
Ironically, it was only when my body failed spectacularly I was finally able to surrender to the grace she had always held for me. I never wanted another body; I simply longed to love the one I had. I just didn’t realize that was ever an option, when in fact, it is the only option. You’ve got one body with which to experience this world; love it with the greatest abandon.