A Love Letter To My Body

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We danced around the room, wanting everyone to look at us.  You followed my every command.  The fun we had as we ran through the grass and slid down slides.  But as we grew older, we grew further apart.  I didn’t know you anymore.

You confused me.  When all my hurts and pains in life began to arise, you were not there for me.  You made me look bad.  Parts of you developed quicker than others and I didn’t know if you were still a little girl or a woman.  Every day I looked at you, I was haunted by the image staring back at me.  You taunted me.  You laughed at me.  You weren’t there to hold me together.  Others laughed at you and commented on how big your nose was or pinged elastics at your newly developed breasts, joked about your large hips and skinny legs…and especially made fun of your pinky toe.  It made me sad when they hurt you but more so it made me angry.  How could I ever feel comfortable with you?

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I’m sorry I abused you.  I’m sorry I didn’t have the strength to stand up for you and love you just the way you were.  I’m sorry I pulled your insides out and ruined your whole digestive system to cope with my pain.  I’m sorry I tried to get rid of you again, and again and again.

I’m sorry that when others began to appreciate you and like you that I still didn’t and I’m sorry that in that time I allowed others to do whatever they wanted with you.  I’m sorry.

In time I began to really like you and even flaunted how good you looked.  You made me feel more confident in myself.  But it saddened me that the only way I could really like you was if you looked good and made me look good.  That is not love.  I soon realized that when you grew bigger and bigger and bigger.  All I could see was fat, when all you could see was the beautiful child growing inside you.  Once again I found myself in complete chaos and confusion.  I thought we had finally worked things out.  I thought that we understood one another.  As long as you stayed thin, we could be friends.  But you changed.  You changed everything!  I was so mad at you.  I was mad that you made me feel old.

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I am sorry for that.  I know now that you were helping me to see once again who was on the inside.  You were changing me for the better.  As I started taking care of you and helping you remain healthy, you kept me healthy on the inside.  When you grew again, the second time I didn’t get mad at you. We had already learned some great lessons.  This time I understood that when you grow and create a new life in you, you become larger but it was my responsibility to take care of you and love you no matter what.

You may not look exactly how I want you to look but that’s okay.  Love is not conditional and in order for me to love you and to love myself I have needed all the lessons you have taught me most of all, this lesson; that in order to love you, I had to first love who I was on the inside.

Now you carry the scars and the marks of our life together.  You show me what I have experienced and the wisdom I have discovered along the way.  I love you because you are unashamedly you.  You are not perfect…you are YOU..and I will continue to love you as and teach me many more lessons and as we age gracefully together. I vow to treat you with care, with love and with dignity. xox

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Annette

Today my best friend faces her last chemotherapy session.

Tired and busy running her daughter’s 2nd birthday party, she looked as sensational as she always does donning a large brimmed black hat and cute black sundress.

On Saturday we went to Gwen’s birthday party.  Annette had invited us out and there she was on her last weekend before her final chemo round, throwing a party for her daughter to make her feel special.  Though I could tell she was tired, Annette moved around her guests, making them feel welcome, putting food out, chasing after her daughter and smiling, smiling, smiling….something she does very well.

My dear friend is the brightest shining light I know.  Ever since I first met her that day at an acting workshop and she sparkled her shiny personality across the room, I knew there was something different and special about her.  After being friends for 5 years now, acting together, starting a business together, going through pregnancy and child birth, girls nights out, fundraising and producing films together, a holiday to L.A, supporting each other in our marriages and…Annette being diagnosed with cancer.  So much has happened during the course of our friendship and I have only grown to love and respect her more.

Today I celebrate and honor my friend Annette Reilly.

She is BRAVE, VIVACIOUS, GRACIOUS, GENEROUS, HARD WORKING, SPUNKY, HONEST.

It hasn’t been easy going through chemo as a mother and young wife.  But here are ‘some’ of the things she achieved while cancer invaded her body and then as she fought to cast it out and go through chemo.

  • She birthed her first child (she was potentially even pregnant when she had cancer.  Any mother will know this is a big feat in and of itself.
  • She re-booted her career; got her self an agent and started booking gigs.
  • She directed a play.
  • She directed and produced her first film (which received 3 nominations at an L.A film festival)
  •  After hearing the news of her cancer she continued to give to others and worked on producing a film that raises awareness on human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Canada – and she acted in it as well!
  • She took a 3 day trip to L.A for the screening of this film and returned the night before a chemo day.
  • She started her own Arbonne business that has been very successful so far.
  • She has been a full time Mom, wife and friend to so many.
  • She has led the worship team at her church and supported so many others.

Through all of this, Annette has been there for me in more ways than one.  Here she was with a very valid excuse to shut away life and people.  Be selfish.  Be mean.  Be emotional.  And yet she has shone her light even brighter than ever.  My friend is one of the most beautiful people I know.  It has broken my heart to see her face this but she has faced it with courage and inspired many of us.

If you know her…tell her how great you know she is.  Tell her what she has done to inspire you, to love on you, to build your dreams and “make no excuses.”

Annette Reilly…YOU ROCK!!  This is the last (and I am fully believing), the LAST of your pain in this chemo journey.  You have been to that hard place and back.  God has carried you and walked with you and shaped you and now is the time for healing, for renewing.  It is not a new start or a new beginning but a re-awakening.  Now you will carry your story and your journey with you in to the next chapter as a grown woman and walk in to HIS blessing using the challenges you have faced, the lessons you have learned and the people you have met and grown with.  IT WILL ONLY GET BETTER and I cannot wait to share in the joy and success with you.

I Love you my friend.