Written by guest blogger Lauren Darlington
As I sit down to write this this morning, its early and chilly as the sun slowly rises and as I sip on my warm lemon and apple cider vinegar water I find myself closing my eyes and allowing my thoughts to flow. Thoughts around body image and the world we live in. Thoughts around the different body shapes and the figures we see. Thoughts around the comments both we say and hear about how we look. And I find myself overwhelmed with how to word all of this and the compassion I feel for these woman, and yes myself. So please bare with me as I attempt to put word to these feelings.
A letter to my body, your body, the bodies of woman
My beautiful shape, shell, the home to my soul; I apologize. For years now I have taken you for granted for the sake of belonging. I have disregarded your true worth and service to me in this life, and abused you for what you lacked, what you weren’t. I have disrespected you with words, actions and neglect. And at times I have allowed others to do this through their words. I have turned a blind eye to you in times I should have seen you with love, and avoided feeling what we both needed to feel. I have set expectations for you without consulting you first, and I have ignored your cries for help when they have risen. I am sorry.
I have grown up accusing you of being wrong. Always making excuses for how you looked and blaming an external force for your appearance, action or lack. I have spent countless hours assessing you in your most vulnerable state and pulling you apart for how you should be. I have cried too many tears in frustration for how you are. I have pulled at you, squished you and attempted to force change your shape. I have cut you, burnt you and scratched away your precious layers. I am sorry.
I have withheld food from you, leaving you to struggle and use whatever you stored away. To only then force feed you constantly, to the point you are left unable to move. I have restricted you when you have yearned for nutrients but I have also nourished you in many ways. You have been confused and faced inconsistency and for that, I am sorry.
Hours have been spent scrolling through photos of women who I declare I should look like. Analysing photos of different shapes, apparently more superior to my own. Only to be followed by more frustration and verbal abuse to you for not meeting this standard. I have compared you to women of all shapes, regardless of photo shop use, professional help or enhancements, to me it doesn’t matter; you were told you weren’t enough.
I have abused countless diets, quick fix solutions and disordered views on eating in attempt to change and transform you, hiding behind the shield of ‘health and wellness’. I have abused the guidelines set to improve my quality of life in attempt to heal my relationship with you. I have lied to myself about my obsession with you, but we both know the truth; you over took my mind and I berated you for that. I am sorry.
You see, for so long I viewed you as my enemy. You were the reason I was unhappy. You were the reason I wasn’t enough. You were the reason I didn’t belong. I used you to strive for my inner worth and create a purpose for myself. I became you and only you, there was nothing more to me in my mind. But this pressure, became more than you could bare. You told me no more, and for that I thank you.
I thank you for fighting back for me when I gave up on you. I thank you for keeping me alive every day despite what I put you through. I thank you for standing strong in the face of the abuse I put to you. I thank you for remaining you when I tried to constantly change you. I thank you for keeping me healthy when I deprived you. But above all, I thank you for loving me when I didn’t love you
Beautiful women, our bodies are exactly that; ours. They are not societies, they are not your friends, they are not the medias; they are ours. And they are incredibly beautiful and magnificent whatever shape, size or look they carry. Because they are you. But they are not all of you, they are you shell, the home to that beautiful vibrant soul inside you. They encompass your wise intelligent mind, your loving compassionate heart and your control centre which keeps you alive. How can we not love them for this?
Love your bodies as they are for what they do not how they look, and then work to loving them for how they appear to you. Of course, there is no shame in getting plastic surgery if you believe that it would make you feel more confident. A friend of mine recently treated herself to a mommy makeover and she claims that she has never looked or felt better.
So, go on, be bold. Thank your booty for being fabulous and curvy, thank your legs for being thick, thin, strong, bony, whatever they may be. Thank your arms for holding love ones but also for being soft to hug or strong to feel. Whatever your body is right now, love it for that. And then if there is still something that you want to change about your body, then it is your prerogative to do so.
You can still look to change your body while you love it, just love it along the way and hold on to that. Don’t change your body to fit a certain ideal or standard, change it because you love watching it mold and transform, and applaud it for how it listens to you with love! Celebrate your body and never ever pull yourself apart for this. This is no arrogance or cockiness, this, this is necessity, this is our right, this is love.
So what do you need to do to let go of the chains you have around your body? What needs to be said to your beautiful home to release the holds you have and the fears left? What do you need to apologize to yourself for?
Remember beautiful soul, you are more than enough right here and now
Check out more articles from Lauren on her site Letters from Lauren