Dear Body - A Love Letter

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Dear Reader,

Today, the clouds outside my window are grey, the air is wet with rain, and at least 10 different languages are buzzing in my ears. Traveling through Europe is interesting. So much of my life feels familiar, the rain trickling down the window, the cold breeze on my rosy cheeks. But there is also constant change, different languages bouncing off the walls, new cities every few days, and ever-changing flights to book. After all, just one week ago I was in Geneva, Switzerland.

Traveling, in large part, is about experiencing new places and soaking up everything they have to teach me. Often, traveling pushes my boundaries and allows me to live amidst the discomfort (at least temporarily). But there is also something to be said for creating safe spaces for yourself in foreign cities.

In Geneva, my space of bliss and peace was none other than The Bain Des Pâquis — a charming spot on the lake, home to saunas, polar bear plunges and delicious food.

Today, I want to share the words that arose from this safe space, and a reminder that although discomfort is important and incredible in so many ways, we can also learn essential lessons about ourselves in cozy, warm, safe spaces. And ya’ll we can create those spaces anywhere (any country, any continent — it’s a skill we build as wanderers).

In Geneva, I found myself truly craving solitude, healing and positive vibes. So, I sought that out and gave myself the gift of the Bain Des Pâquis. Sitting in the saunas, looking out at the lake, I was filled with this incredible love and appreciation for my body. It was a deep and unfamiliar love, I was in total awe of my body and her power.

I sat, coated in sweat, dead skin peeling on my ankle, breath hot in my throat and it hit me like a wave: a deep connection with my body.

For once, I was listening. I had been fighting a number of different physical ailments, and I wanted to honor my body my giving her the care, rest, and positivity she needed to heal.

And ya’ll, because I listened, because I honored her, sitting in that sauna I felt as if she was giving me the gift of truly seeing her.

I ran my hands up and down my thighs, over the freckles on my arms, through the curls in my hair and my mind buzzed with words. And with that, I clumsily clambered to my locker and grabbed my journal, where I let my words flow onto paper.


Dear Body (A Love Letter)

My fingers glide

across your surface,

surprised by your softness.

You hold memories,

of boys who ran their fingers

across you,

in movie theater seats

whispering adorations

for your softness.

I was surprised then too.

I had not lathered you in lotion,

I did not want to be soft

for them.

I wanted to be strong.

Now I understand,

I can be both.

You are so much more

than soft.

The stretch marks

lovingly painted

like desert sand

on your left thigh

speak to your strength.

I run my fingers

along your stripes,

perhaps for the first conscious time,

and they feel incredible,

softness and strength

intertwined.

Your stripes fade

on my right thigh

and are replaced

by black vines

sprouting from pale skin.

Vines once, short

sharp

and course,

controlled

by distain.

But in acceptance,

they have grown

soft,

safe

to grow in their home.

I sigh in gratitude,

realizing how rarely

I explore you.

Smiling down

at the birthmark,

inside my legs,

spotted,

light brown,

reminiscent of dried blood.

A mark, I didn’t discover

until my 16th birthday.

How is that possible?

To live in a body,

for 16 years,

and not truly know it?

But the more I explore you,

the deeper I fall,

for you.

From the scars on your shoulders,

once excavated

by my fingers,

softened by time,

sit like lady bugs

kissing your surface.

To the hardened skin

on your toes,

made strong

by the gentle caress

of my hiking boots.

You are a masterpiece

of complexity.

Deserving of

exploration,

love, and

celebration.

Not just for your softness,

but your strength too.


Travel has taught me LOADS (my favorite British/Aussie expression)…by pushing my boundaries and immersing myself in different cultures I have learned unbelievable lessons and made incredible memories.

But, I’ve learned just as much about myself in the safe spaces I have cultivated for myself around the world.

When we show our bodies we know how to listen, when we make them feel safe enough to open, they will teach us unmatched lessons, about love, acceptance, health and pleasure.

So, no matter where you are in the world, no matter how long you are there, take the time to listen to your body, to create a space to listen (even if it’s only for 10 minutes) and see what you can discover!

With love,

Annalise