Dear Body

March 21, 2017

A repeated theme has been appearing as of late. And it’s you. And my soul’s gentle yet obvious lack of attention to caution in regards to you. 31 years of living, surviving, holding up and holding on. You have bumped, bruised, and wounded your way through those 31 years: From falling off of the Napali Coast in a near death experience (the closest I have been anyway) to wrecking a scooter without a helmet on. From splitting your head and chin open from multiple falls, including the hoped to be forgotten phase of trying to drop in skateboarding, to unsuccessfully skiing through trees in the dark. And the not to be forgotten lock jaw experience in a glacier lake in New Zealand and the resulting fear of dentists and accidently yawning too wide. My soul continues to throw caution to the wind, and you, have continued to survive.

You have also done some amazing and successful things too. You have summited the Grand Teton, run races, biked across the city, backpacked through favorite wildernesses, traveled the world in the company of those you love, as well as by yourself, and continued to carry the load of a grieving, broken, yet happy heart.

Here’s the thing, you are probably going to grow and shrink and ebb and flow to meet the needs of my growing soul, for the next 31 years. And I want you to know, that I appreciate you for that. Though through practiced shame and embarrassment, I have failed to realize how grateful I truly am for you. Thank you for changing and growing with me, and showing me a way to understand life from a different perspective and view.

You see, I always believed that my life was only as good as my body looked. And though you have been so good to me, I’ve hated you. I’ve hated you for not looking, acting or being a certain way, the way I thought you were supposed to be. The way I was taught you were supposed to be. My whole life I believed and trusted that my failures, successes, accomplishments, and relationships were only as valuable and valid as my body was perceived to be. And often I perceived my body as anything but valuable. My hips too big, voice too loud, ambition too wide.   

My vision is clearing, however, and I am seeing that we are exactly what we need to be, you and I, never too much of any one thing. And so, for the next 31 years, I am going to practice thanking you and valuing you. Thank you for allowing my soul the space it needed the last couple if years, to be able to focus on my mind; My mental health, clarity, peace, healing and comfort. Though you seem to have been placed on the backburner of importance, I would not be where I am without you, scars and all. And we are not done. We have a lot of adventure, love, heartbreak and growth ahead of us.

For now, you carry the mind of a soul who believes she can accomplish and overcome anything. And that is enough. Because as it turns out, I am not my body, I am more.    

Lovingly,

Your soul

Carly Cahoon

Carly Cahoon is a full-time nonprofit professional, as well as working for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Salt Lake. Her undergraduate degree in Experiential Education from the University of Utah helped shape her career and passion, leading her to pursue a Masters in Community Leadership (Masters of Art in Community Leadership) from Westminster College. Her thesis focuses on building body image resilience through a connection to Nature. In her spare time, she loves to garden and spent time with green things outside. Carly recently started a website called Amethyst & Aspen (amethyst are a healing stone and aspen trees are the largest living organism) - a healing community and space for women to tell their stories and have their voices heard.

3 Comments

  1. MB

    March 21, 2017

    I am glad to read that you are emerging from the “I’m only as good as my body looks” trap and moving on into gratitude/appreciation mode. I love watching that process in good-hearted people that I love. So right. Cheering you on. Well written.

  2. Catherine A.

    March 22, 2017

    This is beautiful Carly. Reminds me what miraculous gifts our bodies are, and how very much they teach us about what matters, about resiliency, and about their interconnectedness to our spirits. As I care for my mother whose body no longer moves on its own and is resigning its duties, I am filled with love for the way bodies that don’t work, provide opportunities for us to serve and care and love.

  3. Kim from Virginia

    March 22, 2017

    Carly,

    Thank you for a perfect post — just what I needed!

    I’m back at Weightwatchers — for the 4th time. And I’m realizing healthy eating is only going to work THIS time, if I love my body just the way it is! You gave me great vibes with your thoughts.

    Thanks!

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