Letter to My Body

Dear Body,

I’ve always hated you.

I’m sure that doesn’t come as a surprise seeing as how poorly I’ve treated you all these years. From a very, very young age I knew you weren’t up to snuff. Everything around me told me so. You were too big, like an over-stuffed suitcase I couldn’t quite close and too cumbersome to lug around. I’ve always wanted to replace you.

Remember when I was around ten and had a sleep over with our neighbor friend, Kathy, and my sister? We woke up and her mom was making us pancakes. But. . . we were on a diet and didn’t want to be “bad” so I asked Kathy to ask her mom if we could just have cereal. Her mom got really mad and thought us rude. We left crying and walked the 5 blocks back to our house very dejected. I thought I was doing the right thing by trying to eat better but then I was punished for it.

Remember that time when I had my first crush? The yearbooks came out and Vince R., the crush, wrote, “You’re one big triple stuffed Oreo.” I was convinced he meant I was fat. No wonder he didn’t like me back. Stupid fat. You have always been to blame. Who cares if he meant I was really sweet? It stung.

I’ve tried to exercise and eat right. A lot of the time, as a kid, I starved myself and worked out in secret. Then I’d lie flat on my bed on my back and touch my belly because then and only then did it feel flat. I hated you for betraying me. I hated how you kept me from fitting in. How I couldn’t wear the latest fashions from Benetton or Esprit. I hated shopping in the sections of the store for women because I was too chubby to fit into the junior section.

I’ve always been ashamed of you.

Remember when I was 22 and had finally lost all that weight? We walked and walked and walked every morning and the pounds fell off. No one knew because we were away at school and perpetually hiding in over-sized overalls. When I went home for the summer, I kept working out. That one day we were heading back from the neighborhood track and those two young boys on their bikes rode by and yelled, “You’re so fat!” and kept going. It crushed me inside. I cried all the way home. Because of two rude kids. Because here I was finally thinner and still, I could not find acceptance.

I was thin for a bit. By thin I mean I was “passing.” I could shop at regular stores. I didn’t mind being naked. I felt a false sense of confidence. Inside, no matter what I looked like on the outside, I felt like the fat girl I had always been. Men hit on me more and more and I hated them for it. I was convinced they never would have seen me when I was heavy. I started to feel too exposed. I gained the weight back.

And now I hide in it.

Remember the men who told me that they loved me and in the same breath uttered things like, “You’d be really hot if you lost weight.” Or, “I don’t know what I’d say if someone commented on your body.” Or my personal favorite, “My friends look down on me because I date you.” I was mortified. I wasn’t enough. Or I was too much of one particular thing. I wished I could trade you in as to spare me these painful situations. I wanted to be rid of you.

My whole life I have never felt comfortable in you. I’ve judged you by unattainable standards. I’ve looked down on you, demeaned you, settled for second best for you, and used you as an excuse. I have never loved you and for that, I regret. That’s 34 years of time wasted. And that? That’s a fucking shame.

I’m so sorry for never loving you. I’m trying to look at you differently now. I’m trying to heal all those old wounds that keep us separated. Maybe, hopefully, the next time I write to you the letter won’t be full of apologies.

Yours,

Sizzle

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56 thoughts on “Letter to My Body

  1. I am so glad you are finally accepting your body. It makes me sad that you went through so much doubt as a child/when you were younger. I hate that our society puts so much pressure on what a person looks like instead of who they are inside. I hate that it makes kids concious of things like body size etc. that they shouldn’t even be thinking about at all. Reading this makes me wish I could go hug the young you that was hurting when people were unkind.

    My daughter is on the bigger side of normal and her cousins are on the smaller side of normal. I always feel for her because although I KNOW she is beautiful, often she expresses that she wishes she were smaller. We have worked a lot on recognizing how strong she is and noticing what her body can do and how thoughtful, etc she is. She has a pretty good sense of how amazing she is, but still I wonder about kids/people who might not be kind. My mother in law years ago patted my daughter’s stomach and said something about her needing to go on a diet and I was furious. I told her if she ever said anything like that again she would be banned from my house. I can not understand why people think it is ok to judge people by what they look like instead of who they are and what they do. It makes me sick and I am sorry that it happened to you and made you doubt how awesome you are.

    But I’m happy you are working to fix that and are working to know how wonderful you are.

  2. I’ve been there. Sometimes I’m still there… and that lying on the floor just to see the flat stomach? πŸ˜‰ That’d be me.

    But it’s just not worth it. Our bodies are more than pictures meant to be looked at. They kick ass in the very literal sense too, and that’s a lot more fun!

  3. It makes me sad that you were always made to feel inadequate and had a poor self image. I do understand the feeling though. Even when I was a size 6, I never felt good enough. And now looking back, I think all this preoccupation with my shape and weight was such a waste!

  4. I get it. I never used to, but 3 kids and many bad habits later, I get it. Although I’m definitely in the “want to get my body back” camp, I think it has been very convicting and very compassion-building for me to be overweight for these past few years. I very much hope I can reach my goals, but will always remember how it feels to be “invisible”.

    Best wishes!!

  5. This is amazing. And so sad. How young were you when you were on a diet asking for cereal? Girls are taught to hate themselves so early. I wish I could get past hating my body.

    Tori, Yeah for Moms like you! What a great thing you are doing for your daughter.

    Sizzle, you are beautiful just the way you are!

  6. Okay get the fuck out of my head! On the way to work today, I was thinking “hrm, what to post for tomorrow? I guess I could do that letter to my body finally”.

    Anyway, I hope you find that love for your body. I found that just drafting a letter in my head actually made me realize how many things I have to thank my body for…good for you for trying to rethink it.

  7. Amen, sister. Been there done that, and I finally lost the weight a few years ago. I feel a lot better. But most of the time, in my head, I’m still fat. I do try to appreciate my body and how it gets me around and takes care of me. It does help to focus on the positive instead of the negative.

  8. You know my thoughts and problems with body image – all too well. I do hope “the fella” never says or alludes to these craptastic comments because if so, I might have to kick his ass.

  9. This was brilliant Sizzle. Absolutely brilliant. And coming from someone who once weighed 235 (remember, I’m 5’1″), and then got down to 125 and is now back up somewhere inbetween? I understand. I vividly remember childhood remarks like “You’d be so much prettier if you lost some weight.” Or “You’re a really good swimmer, for a fat girl.” Or the time I overheard someone talking about me and he said “Why do all the fat girls always like me?” It doesn’t help matters much that my sister and my sister-in-law are both size zero.

    Man, this is kind of a downer of a comment! I just meant to commiserate and tell you I know how it is. I think more and more acceptance comes as we get older, though. Sending hugs!

  10. Can I please slap you about the head a bit? Sizzle you are SO beautiful! I really really hope that you can begin to see that. I wish I had something brilliantly constructive to say, but I’ll stick with the slapping thing. Oh and buy your body a new red lipstick to say thank you ;o)

  11. Wow. I can so relate to most of that. I wasn’t a huge kid, but never a skinny one. I got really skinny in high school, but not in a healthy way. Gained lots of weight after college…lost it all…and now have gained it and more back. It’s depressing and discouraging and I hope to do something about it soon. Thanks for writing this.

  12. your letter is dead on. I can so relate. and you should celebrate it. you are healthy and pretty and stylish and so full of life. you have a man who loves you and it’s obvious your family does too. you’ve got so much to be happy about. so screw the world and their standards. you are hawt!

  13. Sizz – I’ve been avoiding writing my letter… mine is pretty much yours…only the 34 would be a 37. Huge hugs, you are gorgeous and I think part of you knows it…you just need to get the other parts on board.

  14. I could just sign my name to the bottom of your letter, that is how much I can relate. It makes me sad to think about how much time I’ve wasted hating my body!

  15. I know I talk about this on my own blog fairly often so it’s not a surprise, but god I can relate so, so closely. Never being able to enjoy childhood sports and games because my parents forced me to do them all the time, thinking it would help me lose weight. Being pulled aside by my first boss to be told that my face was so pretty and it was too bad I was so large and why didn’t I try the Atkins diet, because of course I’d never thought of that on my own. The list goes on. And it sucks. But so many of us can relate. And I agree with La that people get more accepting as we get older.

  16. 13 years ago I weighed 280. I had to have a gastric bypass (Radical move back then) because my health was so poor.

    It’s gotten better, but all these years later I STILL have that girl with me all the time.

  17. In all of our correspondences, you’ve always been incredibly up front about your body issues. This letter was beautiful, even through the sadness. It is a shame kids berate one another, but it is unforgivable when adults do it. Thank god you have moved beyond those men and hopefully have someone who loves you for who you are.

  18. This is a wonderful, wonderful post, and resonates with me perhaps a bit too strongly. I regularly think how much time I’ve wasted hating my body, and then despise myself for letting that happen.

    Thank you.

  19. Dear Totally Insecure Dickheads Who Were Mean to Sizz,

    You’d be really hot if you grew up and didn’t hide behind being secure only when you were dating a Barbie.

    I don’t know what I’d say if someone commented on your intelligence.

    And, I look down on you for being a shithead. πŸ™‚

    Sandra

  20. I’m with Sandra. Now THAT would be a fun letter to write! πŸ˜€

    I hate my body about 40% of the time…mostly the boob part. Particularly now with what it’s starting to do to my back.

    I try to focus on the other 60% of the time. But it’s damned hard some days…

  21. Wow…sounds like a letter I could have written. It’s a shame that we are so judged by our bodies. It is only a vessel after all…our hearts determine who we are.

    I was laying in the University of PA Hospital…I literally just had surgery that saved my life. My cousin who is skinny as a rail….(and not so cute)……stood at the bottom of my bed and said “well you’ll never wear a bikini again.” That was in 1992 and I haven’t seen or spoken to her since. And as thin as she is…she is miserable and her husband cheats on her.

    I would much rather a) be alive b) be happy c) be chubby than to be ‘skinny…ugly….and married to a cheater’

    Felt good to get that out… πŸ˜‰

  22. Body issues, we all seem to have them. Will they ever go away? You at least have started making peace with yours : ) Loved your letter, very sincere and touching… I wonder if I should start writing mine…

  23. please tell me that guys did not really say those things to you? Men can be really cruel sometimes…. that is unbelievable.

    Thanks for being honest. I have a love/hate relationship with my body daily…. it’s reaffirming to know I’m not always the only one.

  24. Oh. My. That made me cry. I am so inspired by your honesty and willingness to share that deep shit with all of us. It only makes it that much easier for other women/men to come out and admit how they feel too. Thank you for that. I admire you for that. I hate that so many women despise their bodies, it makes me so friggen mad! Our culture can be so SICK. I pray that it gets better. I so pray.

    It’s weird, my friend just did a post about this topic too, check it:

    http://www.summerpierre.com/2008/03/skinny-girls-have-no-problems-and-other.html

    Peace.

  25. People. Are. Assholes.

    *HUGS*

    I have been there, done all of that… except probably totally come to terms with it. You’ve got me beat on that one.

    Seeing that about you losing weight and getting in shape and STILL being told you were fat makes me wonder WHY on earth it’s not socially acceptable to BE fat, but it IS socially acceptable to belittle those who are?

  26. I admire you for posting this. I hate how our society is so fucked up to make young girls and women be so very self conscious for being anything other than a flipping size 2. Ridic.

    You, are amazing.

  27. I’d like to add a big “ditto” to what everyone else said, but this made me curious… have you written a love letter to your body yet?

  28. Truly beautifully written. I wish I could write a letter to my body as eloquent as this. I feel so much of what you said about my own body, too.

    I could never wear Benetton either.

  29. You oftentimes write the very thoughts that have rambled through my head. This blog included. I love and envy your candidness. I go up and down with my weight – and after much hard work I’m at my lowest weight since having my kids (and my youngest is 15 – it took me awhile LOL). My daughter has an athletic body – she’s fit, beautiful, smart and has many boys interested in her. I can honestly say, that she is the coolest, most wonderful person I know. And yet, she continually says “Mom, I’m so fat!” because society has made us, as women, feel that if we wear larger than a Size 2 then we are less – less beautiful, less worthy of love, appreciation, admiration, and respect. Thank you for posting this πŸ™‚

  30. I know all about sucking in the gut to feel thin. Wish I could lay on my back forever and look hot in a bikini. πŸ˜‰

    As I’ve gotten older, my body and I are becoming friends. I now say…To hell with people that judge us on looks. To hell with our own bad opinions about ourselves.

    Live your life. Live happy. Love yourself ALWAYS.

  31. I’ve seen another blogger do a letter to their body too, can’t remember where. Very candid though, i think we all have a love hate relationship going withour bodies, wanting more but giving less.

  32. Wow, Sizzle, you are incredibly brave! Don’t give up the weight loss fight. It sucks and it’s hard, but you’ll do it! You’re very inspiring in your writing and I always enjoy your posts! You inspired a post of my own on the topic of women and weight. So thank you! Forget any stupid guy in the past that can’t see how beautiful you are! I think you’re incredible!

  33. I could have written this at so many times…

    Thanks for sharing this. I hope it helps on your journey to loving yourself.

  34. I can’t say anymore than what’s already been said by everyone.
    You are incredibly brave to be so candid about such a personal subject.
    Personally, I have / am still trying to learn to love my body. It’s not easy in today’s society.
    Kudos to you Sizzle for baring your soul to us on such a personal subject.

  35. Hi there. I was going to send you this in email so this didn’t seem like self-promotion, but I can’t seem to find your email address anywhere. I just wanted to say this was a great, honest post, and to share with you that about a year ago I wrote this post, and going back and reading it now, I almost can’t believe how much I love my body now compared to how I felt then (and for many years). And I’m not much thinner than when I wrote it.

    So I want to say, it can happen, that change from body/self hatred to love. And I think deciding I wanted it to happen was the first step.

    So I think that it will happen for you, too. I’ll be rooting for you.

  36. So honest Sizzle, I LOVE it!! I can’t imagine it was easy to put this out there, but you did a terrific job!

    I think you’re gorgeous, just so you know!

  37. I’m so glad you finally did this! As you know from reading mine, I feel the same way about my body. I had those same experiences while growing up. My mom put me on a diet at the age of 10, and wrote me a letter telling me how sad it made her to see me so fat. The only time in my life that I was thin was during the bulimic years of adolescence. So I can definitely relate to your letter.

    I hope someday, somehow we both (and our sisters in amplitude) find a way to resolve the issues that make our own flesh toxic to us.

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