For most of my life I hated you. Hated the space you took up and the things you couldn't do. And, god, I hated the stares you brought me, the rage and pity you elicited from others. I was evil and cruel to you – starvation and self-injury, ignoring your needs, taking from you instead of giving. But I don't hate you now. Not anymore.
Though I still struggle to see us as one; always viewing you as a separate aspect of my being. The other side of a coin that is me but not really. I spent so many years disassociated from you that, sometimes, I don't even know who you are. But I'll change that.
Now I touch you like a lover whose body I want to learn. Stroking, pushing, prodding against skin, veins, muscle, and bone. Trying to memorize every texture and curve. Rolls of flesh. Skin that ebbs and flows. Amazed by the legs that hold up 350 pounds, insides that survived scalpels and reconstruction, veins that pump blood, and lungs that expand and shrink. My beating heart inspiring awe. I touch you with reverence, amazed by your abilities.
I'm sorry I doubted your strength. Thinking you couldn't survive one more emotional blow, one more cruel act, one more fist. I thought you'd break. And when you finally did, I thought you'd stay shattered forever. But hearts healed, tears mended, and scars faded.
I slip and I fall – pulling on jackets when it's too hot, stopping hungry mouths as they slide between your thighs because I feel too shy, too ugly to receive that pleasure. But I'll try. Again and again I'll try.
I'll wear dresses without sleeves and allow the sun to touch your pale flesh. I'll swim and float in any water I can find. I'll paint you nails and color your hair. I'll take the pills that keep you alive. I'll see friends and meet strangers, no matter how scared or anxious I am. I'll drink more water and eat the foods you crave and need. I'll stretch and move and sweat and ache. I'll have amazing sex with people who appreciate and adore you. I'll learn to sit silently and breathe. I'll find a way to get you massaged. I'll see doctors. I'll create a home that makes you feel safe and comforted.
One day I'll look in the mirror and I won't see you and I; I'll see us. One day you won't be something I visit, you'll be something I am. And on that day, you'll wrap yourself around me tightly and whisper, “Welcome home.”