You may know me as the woman who writes love notes to her body. And you may have heard me share my passion for writing love notes to your body’s parts as a way to heal your relationship with your body.
Let me show you just how powerful this journaling practice can be by deconstructing one part of my love-note writing journey to make peace with my body.
I am forty-four, and I’ve had four knee surgeries, three of them major:
- ACL reconstruction on the right knee at sixteen
- Rebuilding my tibial plateau with donor bone at twenty-two
- Arthroscopic procedure to clean out scar tissue at twenty-eight
- ACL reconstruction on the left knee at thirty-seven
I had a lot to unpack with my knees. Obviously.
When I wrote the first love notes to my knees, I started with sunshine—my gratitude for all they’ve healed, that I can still walk, that they are mostly pain free. All so very true, but also just one part of the experience.
By giving myself permission to be honest in my love notes, I began to write about the darker parts.
The way the physical pain snapped me into an alternate universe that made my belly slick with nausea. Every muscle clinched against the moment when the pain would flatten me. Dissociating from my body so I didn’t have to feel it. Surrendering. Feeling the pain everywhere. Forcing myself to breathe, to hold back the raw scream, to suck up the tears. All in a blink of time.
The way fear of that pain kept me from participating, from trying, from trusting my body.
The way I took risks so that I wouldn’t be left out when I was healing.
The way I was terrified to be a burden.
The way I feared being abandoned by my friends.
The way I struggled to receive care. Feeling equal parts gratitude that I had loved ones to help me and rage that I needed help.
The way I stopped wearing supportive braces in ninth grade because I was embarrassed about the way they made my legs look lumpy and fat.
The ways I felt like a burden and the tricks I’d pull out of my hat to combat that version of me. Sure, I need a wheelchair to get around campus, but I’m also super fun and super smart. Watch me go!
The way shame made me believe my knees were bad. That I was bad.
The way people were curious about my scars. The stories they wanted to hear about my injuries. The worry that the truth was a boring disappointment.
The way I avoided looking at my legs in the mirror because they seemed misshapen.
Fear. Anger. Grief. Shame.
I dove deep.
All those “negative” emotions had been waiting for years to be loosed. Each love note I wrote resurrected memories I didn’t even know I carried. Word by word, line by line, I reflected. I finally felt the feelings underneath the pain, and I released.
I practiced forgiveness—for my knees, myself, a doctor who didn’t help, my parents, myself, myself, myself.
Writing love notes to my knees, over a period of months, allowed me to sink slowly into the healing process. I could tiptoe in, process a small bit, and tiptoe out again. Giving myself this grace, to take the time I needed, and space, to journal without constraint, allowed me to gather courage to face my biggest fear of being abandoned because I was too burdensome.
This practice combines the powerful and therapeutic practices of journaling and titration, which is the process of slowly working through difficult experiences in small doses. It also allows you to mix in the love grease that is gratitude.
Writing love notes to your body’s parts will transform the way you perceive your body AND it can help you heal.
Are you ready to begin?
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