Dear Body,

(If you pay any attention to my sidebar, you may have noticed a linked titled “learning to love my body”. That’s a letter that I wrote to my body on May 15, 2006. I am re-posting that letter today for BlogHer’s “Letter to my Body” initiative.)
Making peace with you, learning to love you is harder than I imagined it would be.
You gave me my beautiful children, my three beautiful children. It should be easy to love you for that reason alone. I do love you for that. I do.
But, my God, I hate you too.
I hate you because I am a slave to you. I hate you because there are so many things in life I’ve not been able to do because of the fears and insecurities I have about you.
Your sagging breasts embarrass me.
Your gaping hole of a belly button repulses me.
Your stretch marks humiliate me.
Your loose, hanging skin infuriates me.
The excess fat that you continue to hold onto so tightly angers me.
My husband loves you. He desires you. He thinks you’re beautiful. Sexy, even. I don’t understand how he can feel that way. I truly do not.
I want to feel the way he does about you. I want to love you. I want to love looking at you, or at the very least, not want to puke when I look at you.
It’s hard to look at you without crying. Especially when I compare you to other, beautiful bodies. Or to the way you used to look.
You used to be so beautiful.
I know it’s not fair to compare you to other women, or to your young self. But it’s hard not to. Everywhere I look, I’m bombarded with images of bodies that look nothing like you. It’s hard not to feel like a freak of nature when all of the images I see look so completely different than you. I once saw images that looked similar to you. It was a campaign for “real beauty” and I cried with joy and suddenly didn’t feel like such a freak. But then? I heard people talking about how ugly those bodies looked and how they were repulsed by what they had seen, and how those women had NO business taking pictures in their underwear because no one wanted to see all of that and suddenly, my tears of joy turned once again to tears of shame and hatred towards you.
I’ve become more comfortable with “The Clothed You.” I would have NEVER taken Aerobic Dance Class in the past because I would have been too ashamed and self conscience of my Lumpy Ass, or the Jiggly Arms. But after having shed a few pounds, I have learned to accept my Clothed Self.
But when the clothes come off, HATE HATE HATE what I see.
I’m tired of hating you, of fighting with you, of wishing you were different. So very tired of wasting all of my energy in that way.
I just wanted you to know that I don’t want to hate you or be ashamed of you anymore, I’m just completely lost as to how to NOT feel this way anymore.
But I’m working on it. Be patient with me.
(photo removed.)

62 thoughts on “Dear Body,

  1. Mama DB

    When I think about how much time I wasted, hating my body pre-kids, I could just slap myself. I do miss that old body. My belly has a pooch now and the stretch marks are horrifying. The only thing that stops me from absolutely hating my body right now, is that I know in 10-20 years I’ll look back and want to slap my now 36-year-old self for hating my post-kids body.
    It is a vicious cycle. Hang in there Y. The hash has to calm when the medication eventually balances, right?

  2. witchypoo

    I thought the dove women were beautiful, but the older I get, the more I see beauty in my fellow humans. I guess I have extended some of that to myself. I refuse to allow somebody I don’t care about to define me. There’s a new tv show I caught a glimpse of on Oprah. It’s called “How to Look Good Naked”. It isn’t about losing weight. It’s about transforming how you see yourself. My wish for you is that you can learn to see yourself as your husband does.

  3. cardiogirl

    I am truly awed by your honesty. Every thing you said. Amen. Amen to that and the Real Beauty Campaign *and* what people said about it.
    I feel the same.
    Psst. I awarded you the Flower Smellers Award. Come, see!

  4. Dianne

    I can relate to every word and don’t know if I could say it so openly, like to think I could.
    I found you through cardiogirl’s blog and I am so glad I did.
    you are fierce and awesome – and beautiful.

  5. Kathi in swfl

    Dear Y, Love you, love your blog. What if you were fat and flat? Like me. You have big bodacious tatas, something I’ve wished for my whole life. Now I’m approaching my golden years and it ain’t going to happen. Also, after a certain age, it just gets worse. Gravity is not our friend, it pulls everything lower. Good Lord, if the women in my age group allowed themselves to mourn over the condition of our bodies, we’d never be able to function at all. I went out to dinner Friday night with a bunch of friends and looked around the table at us. Not one of us looks as good as you do, But we were having a wonderful time talking and laughing and enjoying each other’s non-beautiful company. So my feeling is that you need to suck it up. Snap out of it and get on with your life. I don’t want to sound mean, I just think you could focus that energy in a more productive direction. That’s just my humble opinion.

  6. supertiff

    the daisy fuentes clothing is awesome, but YOU are more awesome.
    i can’t ask you to post a picture, because i couldn’t even post a picture-less post as bare as this…
    but, i will say thank you.
    seriously, thank you one million times over.

  7. Y

    Kathi, I appreciate what you said.
    But, I also think you should know that my feelings have changed a lot since I wrote this. I wrote this almost 2 years ago. That was how I felt at the time and I can’t change that. But I’ve grown a lot (physically and mentally) since then. I probably should write a new letter, to express how I feel NOW, but for now, I’m leaving this up as part of the “letter to my body” initiative.

  8. MammaLoves

    hmmm. You wrote my letter for me. Though I wonder if my husband could even desire mine. And my breasts??? I never loved them, I always thought they were too small, but now??? How is it I’m actually considering surgery?

  9. Noble Pig

    By any chance did you watch Oprah either Thursday or Friday on learning to love your body. All these women were saying the same things you did. They went through all these excercises to learn to love their body. I wish you could see it.

  10. Y

    I didn’t watch it, BUT! The good news is that I do believe they were recorded on my dvr, so I will make it a point to watch them today. Thanks. 🙂

  11. Hazel

    If you have never visited this website, you might find it interesting. It has helped a lot of people come to terms with their own body.
    Believe me, I know how you feel. I had thyroid cancer and my thyroid was removed. I’ve been on Synthroid for years now. I am 100 pounds overweight and diabetic with thinning hair, excessively dry skin, and am very tired all of the time. You are not alone.

  12. Lulu

    I hardly comment because I’m more of a silent admirer. You are funny, very real and honest. I am so sorry you feel this way about your body. Yet I can relate to the harsh way you talk to yourself. Keep on truckin’, girl. You are LOVELY.

  13. supermama

    I have loved reading your blog because I can relate to your words so deeply. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for your honesty. I hope for all of us, women, that we can grow to be more happy loving ourselves just as we are – wherever we are (big, small, large breasted or not, tall, short, etc) and appreciate the beauty in human variety. And it might also help if Us magazine stopped posting asinine articles about Jennifer Love Hewitt’s weight gain to a size 2 (or if I stopped buying the damn things). 🙂

  14. lani

    I remember when you posted this, Y. And reading you over the past few years, I think you’ve made great progress in learning to love your body. Now you have this not so little thyroid obstacle in your way, but you’re gonna get that kicked some day soon, too. You are beautiful, just like you’re writing, and don’t let anyone tell you any differently. Not even yourself! Hugs.

  15. mandy

    These words mirror my own thoughts too. Man, there sure are a lot of us who feel this way. It’s such a shame. I know it is an old letter, so I am glad you feel better about things. I hope to get there soon.

  16. Amanda

    I’m inspired to delurk to say I love this letter – this is one of the most honest things I’ve ever read. You’re not alone, for sure.

  17. Susan

    You say: “I just wanted you to know that I don’t want to hate you or be ashamed of you anymore, I’m just completely lost as to how to NOT feel this way anymore.”
    Just a gentle suggestion: How about you write a letter to your body, citing the ways in which you love and appreciate it? Its strengths, and the way it amazes you at times?
    Don’t we all deserve some love and positives mixed in with the negatives?
    ((((HUGS)))) – and, believe me, I can SO relate.

  18. Dmull

    JHC! I don’t think anyone really likes the way they look in the mirror. I’m a guy, and I’m not plump – I’m fat. One of my best friends (a woman, size = maybe 0) thinks she has problems. She’s had 4 kids, and claims that her stomach is poochy, her boobs look like an old dog that’s had a dozen litters, blah, blah. She looks fine, and lady, so do you. I’ve just about decided that OK is defined by the following:
    Can you tie your own shoes? Can you wipe without a stick? If you drop something on the floor of the car, can you retrieve it? (sometimes a prob for me) Can you buy clothes anywhere but Nashville Tent and Awning? If you answer yes to all these, you’re fine.

  19. Jules

    I think you’re very brave to publish this letter – I admire you for it. I have struggled with body image issues my entire life and no matter what size I’ve been I always saw the flaws.
    You rock Y.

  20. Write at Home Mom

    The letter expresses how I feel about mine, these few days. Last week, I loved it no matter what. But on the previous weekend, someone asked, “Oh, you’re pregnant again? Good for you! 5 months? Or, Six?”
    And, I could only say, “Nine!” although I wasn’t pregnant at all.
    Great writing, and thanks for sharing…glad that I’m not the only one…

  21. Becki

    It takes a strong woman to not care what others think Y. But it also takes someone nearly inhuman to not listen to what others say and not take it to heart. I think one of the most harsh things I ever heard that hurt me was when my 6 year old son told me that he hated me because I was fat. Ouch.

  22. Frannie

    I think that’s a good idea, to now write the things that you love about your body, yourself in general. I love how open, deep and raw this was though….brave one! 😀

  23. chanelireli

    I love how honest your are. If only we could just embrace our bodies. My son (at 3) told me he thought it rocked that my tummy was striped like a zebra. Awe, embrace the zebra. That’s my mantra 🙂

  24. Lottifish

    I understand how you feel and I sympathize. Please remember that most bodies you see in the media are totally airbrushed and have professionals working on them around the clock and yet, those girls still hate parts of their bodies too.
    I love the campaign for real beauty. I think those women are gorgeous as do most people I know. The people who speak negatively about those girls are shallow people who’s opinions I wouldn’t value anyway.
    I’m working on loving my body and evertime I achieve a little more love for it, it loves me a little more too.

  25. Izzy

    I’m not wild about my body, either. But I also didn’t like it when it was perfect (or damn near) and tight and undimpled and unsaggy and unfat. It seems I’ve spent a lifetime not liking it, which is kind of sad. But in more recent years, I’ve learned to look at my body in context. It’s 40 yrs old ad has bore two children. To compare it to a 30 yr old body would be unfair, let alone a 20 yr old body. It is what it is and I try to love it as much as I’m able. You will, too.

  26. KimberlyDi

    It took a picture of me to see what was happening to my body. I avoided looking at mirrors. Ignored the fact that my clothes were hurting me when I insisted on trying to squeeze into the same size. I inherited my mother’s larger clothing and now I can’t squeeze into that either.
    I joined a health club. For the first time. I was intimidated by the machines but I tried it anyways. 15 minutes on a bicycle. 15 minutes on a treadmill. A few attempts with the weight lifiting machines using the lightest settings. 2 weeks into this pathetic attempt and I’m seeing results. Better than that, I feel good after a workout-pathetic as my workout is.
    I’m about to turn 40. Previously, I could always diet. These last few years, dieting didn’t work anymore. I felt helpless & depressed. Now, I have a tensy bit of hope. I feel like I have gained a tiny bit of control over my lazy metabolism. I’m kicking it into shape.
    I only go 3 days a week. I’m sharing because this is working for me.

  27. Elizabeth

    I’ve written this letter to my body a million times in my mind…come to think of it, fat, thin, or in between, it seems to have been the same letter with a zillion different P.S.’s I too, could kick myself for EVER thinking I was gross before..what was I thinking?…
    I had to giggle at your haircut entry…I’ve done that too. ..more times than I care to admit.

  28. Cindy

    Hi, I’m new to your site from Blog Her Letters to Your Body. Wow! What a touching letter? Since you wrote this a couple of years ago, how are you feeling now? You’re looking great in your pictures. How are you feeling toward your body, now?

  29. Jamie

    I’ve been reading your blog for what seems like forever. I know this post is a few weeks old, but I wrote my own letter to my body today on my blog. I just want you to know. You are inspiring, whether you believe it or not. As a 23 year old, with awful body image issues, I finally got the guts to open up and write about it. I want to thank you for being open and honest and inspiring me to do the same.

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