Dear Body

Dear Body

I’ve hated you.
I’ve hated you so much over the years.
Never good enough, thin enough, fast enough or strong enough.
Stomach that was too round.
Arms too flabby.
Calves that were too thick.
Shoulders too broad.
Hips too wide.

 

I would punish you and run you into the ground.
Hours at the gym without eating.
Forcing you to get by on less sleep than you need.
Convincing you that you could survive all day on one pita bread and a slice of provolone cheese.
Or a bowl of cereal. There was always a bowl of cereal.

 

You’ve tried to speak up -
through injuries and sickness and headaches and stomach problems.
I guess it took a second major surgery to finally get my attention?

 

I’ve counted your worth by your appearance.
I’ve stood in front of mirrors and torn you apart piece by piece.
I didn’t respect you and all that you are capable of doing
and all that you have graced me with the ability to experience.
For that, I’m forever sorry.

 

But we’re working on it, right?
We’re communicating better? I’m listening?
You deserve better.
You deserve to be loved and nourished and cherished.
Thank you for not giving up on me.
Thank you.

 

************************************

 

Last week was National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDA). While it’s great that there is a specific week dedicated to raising awareness about this issue, it really needs to be in the spotlight every single day.

I’ve read beautiful posts by Lisa and Sarah in which they wrote a letter of apology to their body and another by Lindsay that highlights the different ways that we are beautiful aside from just physical appearance. Their posts made me think about my own relationship with my body and food as well as my own struggles with body image and disordered eating.

Inspired by their post, I wanted to add my voice and to continue this conversation past the “official” NEDA Awareness Week. We need to. Disordered eating affects so many people. In fact, I’m pretty sure that everyone knows someone who has been affected by disordered eating – which was the theme of this year’s NEDA Awareness week.

The statistics are telling:

  • 42% of 1st-3rd graders want to be thinner
  • 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat
  • 70% of 18-30 year olds don’t like their bodies
  • 60% of those in middle age remain unsatisfied

But we’re more than that. There are so many things besides our bodies that make us beautiful.

It’s taken me a long time to arrive at a place where I feel comfortable in my own skin about 85% of the time. It’s still a work in progress. Yoga, running and surfing have helped. My kids have helped. They don’t judge. They look at me and say, “Mommy, you’re beautiful.” Or, my personal favorite, “Mommy, I like your eyeballs.” Hey, I can’t argue with that. I haven’t taken the time to fully appreciate my eyeballs.

While there are still things that jump out at me when I look in the mirror, I’m not more apt to appreciate what my body is able to do – less as a shell and vessel and more as a gift.

Will you continue this chain letter? What makes you beautiful?

 

{Linking up with Shell at Things I Can’t Say for Pour Your Heart Out.}

*************************

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Comments

  1. says

    Omg. This is amazing. I am near tears. Whew. Thank you. For sharing.

    I would love to add to this letter with my own.

    How incredibly personal and so wonderful of you to share. We all beat ourselves up and find ourselves sad and dissatisfied. Sigh. But thank you.
    Andrea recently posted..That girl.My Profile

    • admin says

      Thank you Andrea and I would love to read your letter if you do write and share it. It’s amazing what we put ourselves through, isn’t it?

  2. says

    Aw! Reading this made me so sad. I am so appreciate of EVERYTHING about me, every flaw, everything I like, the fact that I can walk, hear, see, feel, taste, talk, etc… I don’t take anything for granted and embrace what I have been given. It obviously takes strong will to be secure with one’s self, but it can be done!
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted..Angelina Jolie and Kale: Separated At BirthMy Profile

    • admin says

      No matter how crappy I’m feeling, when E comes up to me and tells me that he likes my eyeballs, my heart melts a little.

  3. says

    This is amazing. I love your honesty!
    And you’re so right about the kids – when my son asks why I working out and I say “to shrink my butt” he says “your butt isn’t big, Mom!”. Like I’m totally crazy or something (it’s so cute). :)

  4. says

    I am so glad my letter has inspired so many people to look at their bodies in a different light. I try to always look at someone and remember that they were a child, it creates instant compassion and I started to think why don’t I do this same thing for my body and my self? Why do I treat others well and not myself? Your children are so wise, your eyeballs ARE amazing, think about it for a moment… they give you sight, they are the windows to your soul!
    Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted..A letter of apology to my bodyMy Profile

  5. says

    You DO have amazing eyeballs! ; )

    Powerful post, really well written! You would never come across to me as someone who has struggled with body image. But it sounds to me like you are completely on the right track and that’s so good to hear. Keep up the good work.
    misszippy recently posted..The 10-year ruleMy Profile

  6. says

    Oh man! I could hear myself reading this and I would’ve thought I wrote it! It’s so true. We are so abusive with our bodies, we critique them on things that aren’t worthy of a critique.

    Now that I knwo I’m going to have a little girl, I’m even more sensitive to this. I DO NOT want her getting off on the wrong foot.

    Beautiful post!
    Katie @momslrb recently posted..Wednesday Words of WisdomMy Profile

    • admin says

      Being a parent has definitely made me more sensitive to this issue, even as the mom of two boys. It’s also made me very conscious of the comments I make about myself and my body in front of my kids.

    • admin says

      I know, isn’t it crazy?? I hear some of my son’s friends start commenting about looks and weight and stuff and it makes me incredibly sad.

  7. says

    I think it’s amazing to learn just how MANY females have dealt with disordered eating – and females that I view as strong, successful, and confident. I have yet to talk about it on my blog (one day) but it was an all-consuming part of me for many, many years. It wasn’t until I found out I was pregnant with AJ that I finally broke away from it all. But I still have days where I look at my body and think the same things you wrote so beautifully above. Thank you for being so open and honest as always – xo
    Michele @ Nycrunningmama recently posted..PRO Compression Socks ReviewMy Profile

    • admin says

      Oh man, pregnancy was a tough time especially post-partum. It took me a while to stop beating myself up after having my kids. It is crazy how many people struggle with this issue.

  8. says

    I love this, and you’re so right our bodies deserve more than so many have given. It’s taken be a long time to accept who I am on the outside and therefore a long time to accept the me on the inside. I’m always a work in progress and I think I may always suffer in some way but each day I do my best to look at myself and say “I am pretty” “I am strong” “I am happy” and most importantly of course, “I deserve this cookie”
    Taylor @ LiftingRevolution recently posted..Pleasantly Surprised By Ellie Fitness Attire: 20% Off Ellie!My Profile

    • admin says

      That’s true – I do think that yoga does have a lot to do with it, learning to be kind and generous to ourselves and others.

  9. says

    Thanks so much for this post. Not only is it so important for us as woman to feel comfortable in our own skins, but also important to give it back to the little girls in our lives.

    And yes eyeballs are certainly underappreciated bodyparts!

    • admin says

      Thank you Heather. You are absolutely right and also, as a mom to two boys, I don’t want them growing up hearing constant criticism about our bodies and make it seem OK for them to criticize a girl or woman’s body. And yes! I have not appreciated my eyeballs nearly enough!!

  10. says

    Wonderful and frightening post! Those stats are scary! And sad! We should celebrate our bodies and everything else wonderful about us! We take our physical capabilities for granted!
    Jess recently posted..Parental CriticismMy Profile

  11. says

    A beautiful and eye-opening post. As women, we need to says these things out loud and accept ourselves and work on our relationship with our bodies. Those little girls are watching us!

    • admin says

      Thank you! I think that becoming a parent was what really made me stop and think and change my thinking because they watch and notice everything! And I want my kids to grow up having a kinder relationship with their bodies.

    • admin says

      Thank you – I’d love to read your letter if you do write and share it. I have a feeling it would be pretty amazing and insightful.

  12. says

    Beautiful post!! I couldn’t have said it better myself. I’ve made my amends and found my balance – but I feel that internal struggle for many of my friends and fellow bloggers who have not reached that point yet. It is a hard road and I agree if should be something we focus on more than just one week out of the year.

    • admin says

      Thank you Michelle and I’m glad to hear that you’ve made amends and have come to a more peaceful place. I love that this conversation has continued beyond just NEDA week and I hope that we can learn to speak more openly about this issue.

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