We Thought We Were Beautiful
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We’re so close, I just take for granted that you know; still, I should tell you right out– I love you. I’ve been through more with you than I have with a single other person in my whole 32 years. That’s a long time, babe– thank you for sticking by me (and I know I haven’t always made it easy on you). It’s been wild and wonderful, fearsome in more than one sense of the word.
Remember when we put nesting toy cups on our toes and plodded around the living room, pretending we were ballerinas en pointe? We thought we were beautiful– and we were. Then we did real ballet for years and years, and you danced til your toes were raw with blisters, and anyone could see from your sharp piqué turns and elegant arabesques that you were made for it. But by then we’d learned to hear lies as truth, and strong legs weren’t good enough– they had to be skinny. We weren’t so sure we were beautiful– but we were.
And I know you remember all the boys– I don’t know what the hell we were thinking, but was it ever fun. But we settled for sex because it felt easier to come by than love. I didn’t look out for you because I thought you were just having fun, and when I realized it wasn’t so fun anymore, I didn’t speak up because I didn’t think I had the right; I am so deeply sorry. I didn’t know we were both worth it– but we were.
But we’ve grown, haven’t we, both sturdier and softer. I’ve had to ask so much, and you’ve sacrificed, fully willing. You’ve given yourself to my every cause, and look what I owe to your doing: Five perfect, fat, healthy babies. You know how profoundly I thank you. We thought you were amazing– and you were. I can’t help bragging about you, what you did that last go-round, when you held my two matching girls safe inside until it was fully time to hand them over. I love belly laughing together about the moment in the hospital when I corrected the nurse on your behalf when she assumed it had been a c-section; I’d never let you push out 14 pounds of baby and not get full credit. Damn, girl.
But I got all the babies, and you got all deflated in more than one sense of the word. We trained hard together to fix you back up, but planks only go so far to fix shot abdominals and body image, and no one’s ever found a natural remedy for crumpled, paper-thin “twin skin” or confidence. And it’s not fair, I know– we’ve seen the moms who can still flash bare tummies, even after as many kids, even after twins. They’ve got good skin elasticity, good muscle tone, good genes, good luck, good grief. And I so wish that you did, but the very shitty truth is you don’t. You have more than proverbial battle wounds, dear friend– you have wounds you cannot heal.
We both think it was worth it– and it was. You have every right to wear your wounds as sweet, saggy badges of honor. But I know you exactly as well as I know myself, and we don’t need teeth-gritted nobility right now; we need the relief of restoration. So, this time, it will be my pleasure to help you. I will take you to a doctor who is gifted to repair muscle and skin, and you will never be exactly as you were, but none of us ever is, and isn’t that the point of growing anyway? But you will become better for the restoration, and that you’ll also look better will be a lovely side benefit.
And don’t you worry if there’s talk. You saw me with the well-meaning nurse; if anyone mistakes necessity for vanity, you better believe I’ll set them straight. You needed me once, and I didn’t take care of you; this time, I’ll show you you’re worth it. And you are.
This is my contribution to SheLoves Magazine’s synchroblog, A Love Letter to my Body. I encourage you to write and add your own to their link-up!