Dear Body; A Thank You Note

It's time to stop hating your body for all that it "isn't" and time to start being grateful for all that it does.

Let’s say a family member knitted you a scarf as a gift; Maybe the scarf had a few mistakes in it, but you wouldn’t tell that person they suck and throw the scarf away. Maybe a friend offers you a ride to the airport, but their car isn’t brand new and doesn’t have power windows.  You wouldn’t turn down the offer because their car wasn’t good enough.  So why is it, that when it comes to our bodies, which all have a few mistakes, and all have a few years of wear and tear on them, that we beat ourselves up, and pick out everything that’s wrong?  Instead of hating on the only thing we’re guaranteed to have for the rest of our lives, why don’t we take pause, and say thank you to that hardworking machine for all that it does for us. 

As so many of us are prone to do, I’ve spent many years picking out the countless things that are “wrong” with my body.  Growing up as a ballerina, it was practically a given that I would become a little preoccupied with what I looked like in the mirror.  Like most people, I’ve been putting my body down since I first had to use a locker room and saw that other people looked different than me.

Thankfully though, age makes you a tiny bit wiser, and a lot more grateful for what you have.  In the past few years, I’ve asked my body to do ridiculous things, such as running marathons, surviving triathlons, jumping out of planes, and hanging upside down by one leg while spinning on a 14 foot pole.  At my first pole performance last year, I am embarrassed to admit, I was terrified of getting up in front of my friends, family, clients, and complete strangers, in little more than my underwear and some fake eyelashes.  Before we went on stage, one of the other dancers looked me up and down and told me “You have nothing to worry about.  You are beautiful.  And more importantly, you are STRONG”.  It gave me the courage to go out on stage and stop worrying about what others, but more importantly what I, thought about myself.  After the show, nobody came up to me and said “I noticed you have cellulite there”, or “I just realized you shouldn’t be a Victoria’s Secret model”.  No.  They said encouraging and congratulatory things, because that is all they cared about. 

Since that performance, I have started to love my body more and more for what it can do.  I’ve realized that it does incredible things and rises to the demanding tasks I ask of it.  Maybe my thighs touch, but I can run 26.2 miles on these legs.  Maybe I don’t have a six pack, but my abs are strong enough to let me hang upside on a pole.  Maybe my butt’s a little small, but that doesn’t matter when I’m squatting the equivalent of my body weight.

So I ask you to do yourself a favor.  The next time you’re about to hate on your body, or anything about your looks, or turn down a compliment,  instead, remind yourself of one awesome thing that your body did for you lately.  Our bodies don’t ask a lot of us, and in return, they allow us to do some amazing things.  They walk us up and down those San Francisco hills, recover themselves after nights of too much drinking, and if you train with me, survive Turkish Getups.  It’s a funny thing, but the more love and gratitude you show your body, the more beautiful you’ll end up being.