This post is in response to the BlogHer “Letter to my Body” campaign/project/thingy.
So I thought we’d take part in this because, you know, our relationship hasn’t been all that smooth over the years. Probably because I live too much in my head and haven’t appreciated often enough what you bring to this existence. Even this letter writing thing seems like a capitulation to a platonic dualism that I really used to buy into but am not so sure about anymore. You know, where you were just a vehicle for the “real” me; the soul/intellect/mind.
I want to thank you for being patient as you’ve taught me that actually having you is the main reason we’re “here” to begin with. That manifestation thing and all. I’m getting to really know how thoughts and emotions effect the matter and how the physical feels effects thoughts and emotions. It’s all a rather complicated and intricate system, isn’t it?
Way back when, in high-school I was always a little disappointed in the shape we took. Specifically, at that time, the fact that we had no curves. Seems even back then I was counting on you to make me/us worthy to be loved. Mostly because I/we’d been told so often that our attitude and manner wasn’t really doing it for people. Well, at least those people. They didn’t like how direct and emotional we were. So you know, I/we spent a lot of time wishing the look was different and trying to control those emotions so that we’d be loved. Turns out they were wrong and the whole idea pretty toxic.
We gave it valiant try, didn’t we? Heck, we even picked a husband who we thought could teach us all we needed to know about controlling that emotional thing. And you know, I want to thank you for over the years taking all that abuse of trying to stuff so much down. I realize now that the migraines since I was 7, the chronic pain in my late twenties, the fatigue of the thirties and knotted muscles were all your attempt to get my attention. You stored that emotional pain in the cells, because that’s all you could do when I kept adding on the stress.
And sorry for all that eating to try to fill that emotional hole.
And now with the DD’s and the hips and bit of baby-fat belly still after 14 years I admit to continuing to buy into that idea that you were somehow the reason X (and others since then) couldn’t really love us. But the last year or so, I’m starting to come around to the idea that you really are beautiful. And you’ve got the moves to make it all work. I’m learning to trust you. From the singing to the love making to the golf. It’s really been a pretty awesome year.
And we battled that depression thing for a long time. Sometimes alone (together) and sometimes with the help of counselors and medicine. It was through all those episodes that I began to listen to you better and understand how much of a mistake that platonic dualism is. Living through depression, it’s unclear whether it’s mental, emotional or physical. I think we’ve determined the answer to that question is: Yes. It’s all of those.
And through all of that you created two new human beings, enabled us to kick-ass in at least two jobs at a time, and care for our family for all those years. All without the kind of support you needed to do it well. I’ve run you hard and just about the time someone else would have collapsed, I pushed you harder. And you kept up with the demands. Well, mostly.
And in a lot of ways, we’re pretty healthy. Yes, we lost that gall bladder, but so far, that’s all. And only one little broken bone. So that’s pretty good, right? Hard to know the hit those internal systems have taken from all this, but so far there are no big symptoms.
I haven’t always given you the best food and certainly not the exercise you needed to flush out all that stress, but we haven’t really gone overboard on the drinking, and there’s been no smoking (except for those couple of times in 10th grade) and none of that other stuff either.
But here’s the deal. We’re getting up there. Genetically, we’ve probably got at least another 50 or 60 years to go. But if we’re going to realize that potential we have to renegotiate the deal here. Because really, we’re running out of time on some of the good stuff, and we both know that spending the last 30 or more years in a wheel chair drooling and wearing diapers isn’t really going to do it for either one of us.
So, here’s what I commit to you. Better food, more water, more regular rest, more orgasms, more laughter, more exercise, more fun and more stuff that feeds the spirit. So that means avoiding the people and activities (as much as possible) that drain us or are toxic. Let’s limit the energy we spend on sadness, unless it’s to purge out the stuff that’s stored up. And let’s re-establish that “no virtual violence” rule. Not to mention the “no live violence” rule.
Now, you know that I hate the exercise thing more than cleaning toilets. Or maybe it’s you that hates it. I don’t know. We hates it, we do. We’ve tried over and over and over. And over. We’ve tried asking friends to “be our exercise buddy.” We’ve tried signing up for classes. None of it has worked very well for very long. The best thing, and most consistent was when we were doing all that walking during CPE a year or so ago.
But let’s give the structured thing another try. I’ll join the YWCA this week and sign up with a trainer. Because, you know, with the stress of the two jobs and the loss of that special friendship, I’ve been doing that emotional eating thing again and we’re up in the weight department instead of continuing our steady trek towards better BMI. Maybe if I pay for a dozen training sessions and schedule them, it will work to get us in there and moving. At least for twelve sessions. Because really, my thinking and outlook was better when you felt better. I know that. But still we can’t seem to do it alone.
And I also recommit to the healthy good food thing. More veg and less meat. And good grief, let’s not buy any more of that grocery store meat because, you know, we’ve been watching the news and that whole meat recall thing is just disgusting, physically and emotionally. I know we just operate better when we eat better. And Lord knows, if we’re going to make it through the next 23 months of this dual job thing we’re going to have to work smarter rather than harder.
The other thing I commit to you is to make Sabbath time every day. You feel better when we spend intentional time on the spiritual health.
As I was thinking about writing this letter, I realized that one of the things that we’re grieving the most is the loss of touch. We’ve been running low on this for a long time. Chronically. Even when we’ve been in a relationship.
I’m not quite emotionally ready to begin looking for another relationship, but I know how much better we feel when we are touched regularly. Remember back in high-school, when that research came out (or was rediscovered, I don’t remember which) that said that to be healthy a person needed 10 healthy hugs a day? Even at the height of the thing with Mr. Hockey we weren’t hitting that on average and certainly most of the 20 years of the marriage didn’t hit that. Kind of sad. We’ll hug the boys and friends more, because, helping them get their hugs in will help us too. And I’ll commit to more regular therapeutic massage. We can get them at the Y, too. And maybe that will help us release more of that stored sadness and stress too.
As for the 200 meaningful orgasms a year that Dr. Oz recommends…well, it’s a goal we’ll keep in mind for when the time comes, OK? And I commit to you that the next guy we pick will love the touching and the hugging and the kissing and the making love as much as we do. (good luck to that guy, huh!?!)
And thank you for grabbing my attention when things really spin out of control. The pain hasn’t ever been fun, but you sometimes have to shout to get my attention, don’t you? And really, the kids are the best gift ever. We really did a great job spawning those two.
I know these are all big commitments. But we also know the tears that flowed when thinking about writing this letter. Tears of regret and thankfulness at all we’ve been through. And tears of hope. Hope that the we can re-partner, re-integrate starting today, so that the next 60 or so years are the best ones. Hang in there, baby. We’re in this together.