A friend took me out for a belated and delicious birthday brunch this past Sunday—as we sipped Mimosas and caught up on our lives, she told me that she was likely to go for surgery. The same one her twin sister had undergone when we were in grad school together and that their mom is now recovering from. She was nervous for the surgery, which was normal and she was also concerned about the scar as it would be in a very noticeable place on her body. Her main concern was it being visible for wedding photos, should the time come for her to get married.

As she talked about her surgery, her fears and the scar (and its healing), my head started swirling with thoughts on bodies, the things we put it through and the scars…and how in the end…they all tell a story. Sorta like that scene in Jaws where Quint, Richard Dreyfus’ character are comparing scars that have become part of them, including the removal of a tattoo from Quint’s time on the U.S.S. Indianapolis—the US Boat that delivered the Hiroshima Bomb. Ironically I had a similar event occur over lemonade and vodkas in a small cabin/pub in the Alps in Austria with someone who ended up becoming one of my best friends. (here is the link to the “scars” scene http://youtu.be/dLjNzwEULG8 and here is the next scene about the U.S.S. Indianapolis if you are interested http://youtu.be/u9S41Kplsbs )

I told her it won’t matter with the scar—it will heal well enough by then. And if it is still an issue, it can be covered up with a necklace or some clever airbrushing. I told her I wouldn’t worry much about the scar. It is a symbol of so much that I wouldn’t dare hide it. It’s part of you, part of your story. Will people you meet notice it? Yes. Will it matter at the end of the day? No. What it does show, I would argue, is that you are a fighter, you take chances and you live your life without concern of getting a bit roughed up along the way.

After brunch we went to see Crazy Stupid Love and aside from several Ryan Gosling distractions, my brain was still puttering on this whole scar thing….and then Ryan G’s abs…then wondering if Ryan G has any interesting scars…lol… 😉

Eventually, the movie ended, my attention shifted from Ryan Gosling to getting my run in and, as I changed into my gear, I looked at my legs…and I mean really looked at my legs….they are full of marks and scars from all sorts of events in my life. As I looked at the scars from my two knee surgeries….from soccer games…from icy wipeouts…from a few too many drinks…from traveling around the world…from a poorly executed butterfly swim stroke demo while in the pool atop of the W hotel in San Francisco with a guy whom I was madly in love with. ….and then I remembered other scars on my body—like the one from a sports bra that chaffed during a twenty-mile run. I had to have my dad peel it out of my back (OUCH).

All of this really made me appreciate all of things my body can and has done for me…and its something I’ve never really done. I’ve always hated my body…cursed it for being too flabby, too big in some parts…too small in others…malfunctioning and sore in some areas…but it really is amazing what it can do.

It has taken me through 31 years of life, many hangovers, suspected concussions, 6 half marathons (one completed with an ankle fracture and a nearly severed tendon in my ankle),

Post half marathon treatment for a nearly severed tendon and fractured ankle

a marathon, gymnastics competitions, international travels, knee surgeries, two university degrees, friends weddings, Christmases, Birthdays, soccer tournaments, special occasions, yoga classes, macaroni and cheese challenges, obesity, poor eating habits, eating disorders and so much more. And yet, it still keeps coming back for more…it’s strong, it’s powerful and when it’s set on a goal, it won’t stop til the job is done.

Today it lasted 60 minutes of cardio (30 mins biking, 10 minutes skip rope, 10 stair climber, 10 minutes of rowing) and some weights, including a total of 50 push ups until I could barely lift my arms. Speaking of push ups–my body also survived a push up challenge with some Kiwi boy in Las Vegas last summer on my birthday–I won me and my girls bottle service that night after 98 REAL push ups in a row. My competition dropped out after only 80.

So as I begin to wind down from the night, stretch from my workout and mentally prepare for my physical tomorrow (which I always find stressful) and my 10 mile run, I want to finally give my body the love it deserves.

Dear Leesah’s Body,

Despite all the abuse you have encountered in your 31 years of life, you continue to show up and be relied upon. I have never given you much respect and in fact, mostly criticized you for not doing enough, not being smaller, stronger, faster, more toned, less headachey. I have come to realize that you do more than you should, given how I have treated you in the past. I will be kinder to you from now on and listen to the messages you send me, whether they be calm down and relax or kick some ass. I will not binge eat and follow it up with a purge as that is disrespectful. I will fill you with wholesome food, and aside from the odd treat, it will be unprocessed food. I will shrink you down a bit, as I know it is when you feel, function and look your best, but I will do it in a healthy manner rather than undertake the extremes I have gone to in the past.

Thanks again “body” for always being there and ready to rock. I love you, scars, flabby bits, muscles and all.

Yours always,

Leesah

So yeah…needless to say, this post has made me feel like a million bucks…and i feel like I am well on my way to achieving the “loving myself” item on my “list.” Thanks for listening everyone! Mwas to you all!

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