An Apology Note to My Body

Zia Pentescu

Sorry.

Not for the bruises inscribed in my knees at six years old,

or gravel-shaped cuts dotting my palms

after being kicked off my bike like a rodeo bull,

or even the sliver of a scar on my right index finger

from closing it in a van door when I was seven.


No, I have no remorse

for the innocent;

not a twinge of sympathy regarding the unfortunate results

of relatively harmless careless actions

and playful worth-it memories.

I'm sorry for the other things.


I don’t mean running

or swimming

or dancing

until the soreness embedded itself in my muscles, my

heart racing, pulse pounding

in my ears.

I don’t regret that.

I’m sorry

for the other things.


I’m sorry for hating you.


I’m sorry for all of the

preening and plucking and

shaving and waxing and

hair burning.


I’m sorry for the countless repulsed glances at the spot

where my stomach puffs out

and all of the daggers I stared into the place

where my thighs meet.

I am sorry for getting slashed at

by the perfectly intact glass

of the bathroom mirror, for feeling severed,

just by seeing its reflective surface.


I’m not sorry for taking up space,

but I’m sorry I ever was.


I am sorry for

switch off the light,

lock the door,

the scratch of fingers in my throat

and the starkness of the cold linoleum floor

routines

I practiced because I loathed

the way you curved

and the fatness of my pseudo-waist.

I’m sorry for falling into patterns of self-hate

that I aimed at you. Patterns

not unlike that of an alcoholic,

commencing with afternoon drinks or slightly restricted meals

and ending with wildly depressing stories to tell

and crying on stranger’s floors—

but there is no Lackers of Self-Esteem Anonymous,

no chips to collect

for every time I tell myself I’m beautiful

or, better yet, value more

than my appearance.

I am sorry for thin red lines that ran deep into my wrists

and I am sorry for the faint-inducing heat

that followed,

caused by the oversized and long-sleeved sweatshirts I hopelessly donned

to cover you up.

I’m sorry for discarding that one dress

(that you looked stellar in, by the way)

because I had degenerated into such an unhealthy

and addictively abhorrent relationship with you

that I feared

even the slightest tightness

in my attire.


I’m sorry for habitual body monitoring. I’m sorry

for using my fingers to count calories

and not positive attributes. I’m sorry

for all of the aforementioned repugnant routines

I’ve picked up over the past few years,

whether I’ve stopped them or not,

I’m sorry.

I am.

So, body, when I say

that this is an apology note,

I don’t mean I’m sorry for the time

I skipped salad and went straight to pizza,

or even the countless dinners when

I put an extra brownie on my plate.


No, I have no remorse for that.

I don’t regret that.


I’m sorry for hating you.

But, like a sinner coming up after sinking

in a blessed lake of holy water,

I am ready to fill my lungs with new breath. I will repent

with the radical act of self-love

and I promise that I will treat you better.