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Excuse my appearance. I'm learning to love my body.

Updated: May 24

A letter from my body to my bossy, mean mind:

Dear mind,


Hi. It’s me, your body. That thing you pretend isn’t yours, except to command, belittle and control.


I’ve been silent and compliant. I’ve bought every lie you’ve told me.


But no more.


You are a bully. A straight up middle-school, mean-girl tormentor.


I’ve taken it personally, felt unworthy and wrong. Even disgusting. Just as you wanted. I’ve spent decades under your reign – loyally accommodating your twisted narrative.


But I am your body. Yours. Only ever yours. From beginning to end, I am the only thing you will ever truly own.

It’s like you forgot that I am gift - your literal platform for life. This beating heart, these ballooning lungs, these millions of electrical and chemical processes I execute every minute of every day without your thought or supervision.


Your response? Judgement, cruelty and alienation. You judge me by my appearance, the width of my hips, the size of my jeans, the trivial 1% of me.


I thought we were a “we.” I was you and you were me. I owed you my compliance. You said my weight was the most important thing about me and I believed you.


But I started to watch young girls, observing their unbridled adoration of their bodies.

a girl spinning in the sunshine, in love with her own body

Then I witnessed their transition from embodiment to shame. From joyful eating to food policing, from their bodies as playgrounds to their bodies as objects, from wholeness to shame.  


I didn’t just watch them lose weight. I watched them lose their truth right before my eyes.


It made me furious. And curious.


That’s when I understood - you are not mine and I am not yours. You are an implant, a secret operative, a dictator.


You – this cruel, domineering entity - are not the self I began with. That self inhabited me completely and filled all my rooms with light. Under her gaze, every square inch of me was glittering perfection. There was no lack, no judgement, no shame. There was just wild joy, gleeful and vibrant aliveness.


Then came you, creeping in, slow at first and then metastasizing, growing strong on lies and brainwashing. Body hate became my new normal.


You treated me like gum on your heel. Like rotting trash that no one wants to touch. Like a beautiful room you refuse to enter.


When did it begin?


Was it when I was eight, wearing my favorite pink ruffle skirt, and grandma patted my belly and said, “Someone’s getting a pot belly.”


Was it the Disney princesses with impossibly small waists? Or Barbie’s long legs and pert C cups?  


Was it Seventeen magazine with its glossy waif models and fad diets?


Was it the way men leered when puberty took its first swipe at me?


Was it the popular girl commenting on how my butt fit in those jeans?


Was it when you realized a man’s approval and interest are a massive social currency?


Was it watching commercials where victory was defined as women exerting enough will power to refuse dessert?


Was it when your sexuality was thrust upon you and then repeatedly taken away?


Was it hearing women rated on a scale of 1-10, of being talked about like objects?


Or was it every day since when you were inundated with messages associating a women’s worth with beauty and thinness, all while shaming her out of her agency and power?


You have been the dominant voice in my head. A compilation of every wretched lie told about women’s bodies. You objectified me, taught me to see myself from the outside, to ignore the absolute splendor of my interior.


You formed my body image and used its distortion as a power play.


How did I not see that you were a lie, an interloper sent to dismantle me from within?


Because by then I was already separated from my true self, by the malignant tumor of thoughts crowding out my core truths. Denatured, stripped and silenced. Queued up to serve society.


I have been the battleground in a war that is not mine.

quote by Suzanne C. Carver: "My body has been the battleground for a war that is not mine."


I hear the mean things you think about me. I hear women’s chronic stress about that stubborn ten pounds. I hear people say to women, “You’ve lost weight. You look amazing!” or “I can’t have dessert. I didn’t exercise today.”

I hear a woman say, "I'm learning to love my body," and watch the raised eyebrows around her. As if. I could if I looked like you. There's no such thing.


Society has us all trained, worshipping at the altar of thinness and recruiting others to do the same.


One day in yoga you were especially cruel. I was bent into a downward dog, relishing the deep stretch when you started in.


You should be embarrassed that the people behind us have to look at your butt.


(Which if you knew anything about yoga, you would know they would not be looking forward but backward, but you never have been big on accuracy or truth.)  


Just as the shame began to dim me, you started in thinking about dinner. And what we’d eaten that day. And how if you’re ever going to shed this extra weight, you really need to a do a better damn job.


Smallness activated. Shame flaming.


And P.S. you look terrible in yoga clothes.


Something about this familiar sabotage struck me new. I wasn’t hungry, you were. Not me the body but you the mind. Hungry for food? Or hungry for distraction, for escape, for control?


And that’s when I understood that you aren’t just external messaging. You are also my disowned parts. My trauma, shame and fear. You are made of the parts of me that despises discomfort, fears rejection and feels entirely unworthy.


You are a toxic partnership between social programming and my shadow self.


One that is trained to want thinness but wants safety even more.


You made me believe that normal, balanced eating was thanks to you and overeating was because of me. But that’s a lie, isn’t it?


Because I am made with an intricate system of cues and signals for hunger and satiety. I know what to eat, when and how much and can make micro adjustments based on activity level, hormonal cycles and metabolic variations. I am built for consistency, balance and my own natural size.  


Undereating or overeating are both unnatural to me. If I am taking in more than I need, it’s not on me.


Plot twist: the extra weight I’ve carried is because of you.


On one hand you demand thinness and on the other hand you pour unwanted calories into me. You ignore my signals that I’ve had enough. That I only want a bite. That I’m not actually hungry. You dismiss all of it, filling me with food I don’t want and then blaming me for not being thin enough.


You refuse to face your malnourished existence, so you blame your feverish hunger on me.

chalkboard words: eat more


There is absolutely nothing wrong with me and there never has been. It was not some biological failure on my part, not some addiction or weakness. I know how to be in my perfect state. The interference has come from you.


You tell me I’m failing but all along I’ve been succeeding at what you have unknowingly asked of me. I have been nothing but faithful to you. It’s you that has betrayed me.


I’m your scapegoat and your remedy. I’m your villain and your savior.


You’ve stored your rejected, shameful parts in my tissues, buried your unwanted emotions in my cells. You’ve made me carry around weight I don’t want or need just so you can have a place to hide, a place to direct your pain and fear and unworthiness.


You may not have wanted this weight, but you’ve needed it.


Carrying it is not natural for me, but I’ve had no choice. I did not want to eat past the point of fullness and into numb, dulled oblivion. But you have used me carelessly, straining my systems and sacrificing my health. No body should live under the duress of hatred and cycles of feast and famine.


Disordered, or unconscious, eating isn’t about the body. It’s about the mind. Not the sane, healthy, whole mind of my conscious true self. But the conditioned, disowned mind.


In other words, YOU.  

I don't need rules. I know exactly what I need. I was built for this.

baby putting face into a whole cake


I will no longer nourish you with my loyalty. I refuse to live waiting to be a social media “after” picture.


It’s not weight I want to lose but shame.


You have diminished me for the last time. I will never again trade my unique perfection for some arbitrary ideal, for some grand lie.


Because I can feel my true self awakening from her dormancy. She appreciates every part of me – the riot of sensations I feel every day, my high-tech system of chemical messengers, cellular reactions and miles and miles of transport vessels. She marvels that I housed and manufactured an entire human being and has nothing but adoration for the marks that left on me. She celebrates my aging body and the great service I do day after year, year after year, to remain alive. These are the important things.


She is returning home where she belongs.


Now when I watch young girls wiggle, dance and inhabit their bodies, I know they are my teachers. This is what it looks like when you are allowed. What it feels like to be adored. What it means to brazenly own one’s magnificence.


My goal isn’t to be tolerated. I am not after body acceptance. I demand my own wholeness. I will reclaim my banished parts and restore them. I will let myself taste and enjoy food, will welcome it joyfully into my body. I will allow myself the pleasure of being a living body and the thousands of sensory privileges and experiences that grants me.

Self-love is our birthright. Loving ourselves is one of our most innate drives, an evolutionary necessity, key to our health and survival. And it starts with body love.


Now, I can’t just let you completely off the hook with a “no big deal.” But parts of me played a crucial role in helping you rise to power.


So here’s the deal: for every harm you have done to me, I will give myself double the amount of pleasure, love and freedom.


I will joyfully repay this debt for the rest of my life.



Sincerely –

this perfect body

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