A Letter to my Body.

Dear Body,

I refuse to make this post a whinging rant about you. Sure, it would be nice to pass the blame and talk about how miserable you make me, but that is not what this is about. I could talk about my multitude of flaws, but it's not about that either.

When push comes to shove, I just want to be comfortable in you, I really do. I don't want to have to hide you, or feel paranoid in public. I don't want to flinch when my other half looks at me, or have him disappointed in me because I'm not what I'm supposed to be, whatever that is. I don't want to feel like this forever.

I'm sorry that I compare you to other people, because it's really not fair. You are different, you don't fall into a particular size or shape category. How is it possibly healthy for me to walk into a room and automatically assess if I'm going to be the largest person there.. again, and yet I continue to do so. Why do I do this? What is it achieving? What is that doing for me, or for you? It's any wonder I can't be happy, with all the negativity that is going on in my own mind.

If I'm being blatantly honest, the thought of our relationship in the future frightens me. If I can't be comfortable in my own skin at twenty-three, how is it going to be in another five, ten, twenty years? I should be spending my twenties enjoying myself, getting out and about without worrying about body image, but I'm not. I'm unhappy. I treat you badly, I know I treat you badly, and yet I continue in the path of self destruction.

So what is the next step? How do I get to the stage where I can wake up in the morning and be? How do I get to the stage where I am simply thankful that you are functioning and mostly healthy? How do I end this ridiculous cycle of events?

I guess it all comes down to looking after you better - because I'm not looking after you.

I can already hear my inner cynicist retaliating at that statement:

What? But what about all of those days I spent exercising? And eating well? And obsessing over calories? What about those thirteen kilograms I lost last year? What the hell am I supposed to do? I'm never going to be a thin person. Never!

Valid questions, sure. But the logical part of me has rebuttals ready to go:

And what happened after you hurt your leg? You went from exercising daily, to not exercising at all. You slacked off. You pretended you could get away with relaxing, that you were maintaining, that you were happy. You turned a blind eye when your jeans got tighter, when you realised you were gaining weight again. You tested the waters, you got comfortable. Denial - it's not only a river in Egypt, love.

Damned if my logical mind isn't correct. I've let myself go. That's not to say I'm stuffing my face with food or not moving from the couch - but I have let myself down. The good habits that took months to create and months to see results, have disappeared, replaced with laziness and complacency.

I used to be able to pick things about myself that I loved - my hair, my legs, my smile. These days though, I'm so caught up in the negatives that I feel as though I am quite literally falling to pieces. I don't know why my weight is always at the top of the list, but for the longest time I've believed that if I fix my weight? I'll have fixed the problem. If it was as easy as that, I would have fixed the problem years ago. I hate that it's a problem to begin with. I hate that it's my problem.

I've got to learn to love you, body. I'm learning. I'll always be learning. And to sum it all up? I'm dedicating a song to you, which is going to be my mantra from now on.

Climb up over the top, survey the state of the soul.
You've got to find out for yourself whether or not you're truly trying.
Why not give it a shot?
Shake it, take control. And inevitably wind up,
Find out for yourself all the strengths that you have inside of you.
- Jason Mraz: Song for a Friend -

I promise I'll be giving it a shot. And not just starting tomorrow, either. Starting now.

Always stuck with you,


(This post was written as part of a BlogHer initiative.)

25 Comments • Labels: ,  


Riayn said...

*hugs* Self-acceptance is so hard. I have been struggling with my weight since I was about 16. At almost 33, I am still struggling. However, I have learnt that whilst it is a good thing to eat healthy and exercise, my life is not determined by my clothes size.
But yeah, I still enter a room and assess if I am the biggest person there.

Zandria said...

What a fabulous, introspective post, Alynda. I've really enjoyed reading all the responses to the "Letter to My Body" initiative. I hope this will end up being part of a healing process for a lot of people.

Vanessa said...

Fabulous post! Something I think we can all relate to on a deep, gut wrenching level. Thanks for shining a light on this so bravely.

kerrianne said...

I love this. Why is it a perpetual struggle to be comfortable in our own skin? I don't have that answer, but I'm looking forward to (you and I, and everyone) perpetually overcoming that difficulty.

Deutlich said...

That song is one of my all time favorites EVER and my best friend and I constantly leave each other messages with just that phrase right there.

Jamie said...

I've working up a post for this in my head.

I love yours. It's fantastic!

grungedandy said...

Hey just hang around with me more then you won’t be the fattest one in the room that will be me! LoL (not that I would consider you fat by any stretch of the imagination but it’s obviously what you’ve got it in to your head because you will say some thing to the affect but you haven’t seen me naked it’s horrible, which of course I haven’t & I’m sure it’s not!) & to be honest I’m used to being the biggest in the room & yes I do try (I’ve lost 1 & a half stone in the last year that’s 21lbs and kept it off ) but I’m also relatively happy with myself (and it comes with age & confidence) god I used to be thin, bulimic & miserable! In my 20’s I’ve have had to fight my weight every step of the way since I was about 8 when they (doctors & everyone at school) pointed out that I was fat! I didn’t know I was happy as I was, I just wanted to be friends with people I was told that they didn’t want to be friends with a fatty & that’s why they didn’t want to talk to me & why I wasn’t invited to parties as I’d eat all the cake! So then dieting began & when that didn’t work the starving, when that didn’t work the not eating at all, then the eating too much & purging & finally the excessive exercising as well. Oh and the self harming! So you see you can do as much damage to you body & your mind trying to fit what other people want (and what you think you want too) I was later told by another doctor when I was sorting my head out that from the photos there was nothing much wrong with me & that all I needed to do was maintain my weight & I would have grown into it but with all the stuff I’ve put my body through I’ve completely messed it up so now even though I eat normally my poor body doesn’t even know what normal is, so it’s even easier to gain weight as I can’t do the 30 hours a week of exercise I was doing on 2 oranges, an apple, a banana & 5 cans of diet coke a day and some times a low fat yogurt. My joints are all shot now & ache & stiffen like I’m 63 rather than 36. And before anyone asks yes my mother did try & stop me but I’m very pig headed & kept most of it secret from her. So sweetie the thing to do & it really is the hardest thing on earth & those skinny girls & boys that are out there have the same problem just different focus is to look in the mirror each day and actually look at yourself (and you can laugh for a bit but then you have to try & keep a straight face) and say out loud “I’m ok, I’m all right, not perfect but I will do, I can be loved” and mean it or something like that, that you feel comfortable with BUT not derogatory! Start off small & build up to saying & meaning it.
Wow do ya think I might still have some demons in there? Sorry that’s a long one but ya got me again. Seeya hugya *G*
Ps even after all that dieting at school they still didn’t let me come to the parties or talk to me so it wasn’t worth it, but by then I was hooked & thought if I could just loose a little more maybe they will talk to me.

Julie said...

Love you twin.
This post made my body cry.

But in a good way.

Jacinta said...

This is a great post - and I will be taking a better look at BlogHer soon. I have also spent a long time - too long in fact - worrying about the way I look. It still concerns me at times, but at 40 (and I can't believe THAT I'm 40) it's not so bad.
I do look back sometimes and wonder why I worried so much.
I have never met you in 'non-blogging' life, but you DO have a wonderful smile and the way you write shows you have a multitude of other things going for you too! Be good to your body and look after it... lose some weight if that's what you need to do - but don't let it effect the way you perceive yourself. Life is way too short for that!

Jen said...

Oh Aly. *hugs* It is sad to see someone so beautiful hating their body so much. I feel like anything I say will be hypocritical- I'm desperate to lose weight, but I eat so much junk and treat my body like shit, too.

I think what's in your head needs to change. The thoughts telling you bad things about you and your body. Because you deserve to be treated better, and think wonderful things about yourself.

Tina Vaziri said...

Such a strong post, def. something a lot of us can relate to.

kirby said...

MRAZ! awesome.
made me smile so fully! Those lyrics are so perfect. Genius.
love you, pup.

Lady M said...

Wishing you the best in feeling good about yourself! I happen to think you're really pretty, but I know that's not the point of the post.

Keep enjoying London - I'm living vicariously.

Noelle said...

If it's any help, I'm so much more confident with my body now than I was when I was your age, seven years ago. It might have something to do with all the swimming I've been doing, because now that my body can actually DO something, it's quite nice. But really, I think that as I've gotten older, little things have been bothering me less. This could just be me, though.

Jess said...

This is so well-written and does such a great job of expressing all those conflicting feelings about bodies. I'm glad you have that rooted knowledge that your body is a great thing ultimately, whether or not your relationship with it is perfect.

Ashley said...

I can totally relate to this...I am making it a goal for the next year to really take better care of my body, no matter what. Love this post.

1218Blog said...

I absolutely love this post! I guess no matter what shape or size or color we all really do feel the same.

Tali said...

What a fantastic post, Aly. If your body could write back, I'm sure it would say that though you've been through hard times together, it will still loves you 100%, no matter what =)

heidikins.com said...

This is such a well written post, I think many people can relate to your emotions and opinions towards your own skin.

Love you chook! *hugs!*


Chiada said...

I totally know how you feel. All my life I've been "the big girl". Even when I wasn't fat, I was still the big girl, due to my bone structure and heighth, I guess. Now that I'm fat AND tall AND big boned... it's awful.

I've been reading about Fucothin, and I checked it out at my local health food store. It was 30% off plus it came with a free book called Perfect Weight America, by Jordan Rubin who is the author of The Maker's Diet. He also founded Garden Of Life products (vitamins, supplements, food bars, etc.). I'm only on chapter 1 (the prologue was quite lengthy), but it's a start. I need to lose weight not just for me but for my health, for my family, for my husband, and for my cousin's upcoming wedding that I am a bridesmaid in. Mainly for me, though. I guess I have to start somewhere. And I'm so over this "obese" thing. Sheesh. BMI? Whatever.

I'm with you on this journey. Hope it goes well for you. Let us know - check in from time to time!

Laurel said...

What a personal and eloquent post, Aly. I know I've said this before, but exercise (running) is the most important thing in making me feel good about my own body. You are totally on the right track--if you take good care of your body, you'll feel better in it.

(BTW, I totally didn't have that figured out at your age... so you're actually on the fast track!)

AuburnKat said...

It is hard accepting who you are at times. You just have to look at all of the wonderful qualities that you have!

Bee said...

I hear you loud and clear.
Was going to post something about body image the other day but chickened out. Your post has inspired me to do it.
You are inspirational.

ashley said...

We should all appreciate ourselves and love ourselves for who we are. But it's just so damn hard. A toast to you for taking the initiative.

Tara said...

great, heartfelt letter, good luck!

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