Dear Body, I’m Sorry for Hating You


Dear Body,

I’m not sure how to write this letter. We’re not exactly good at communicating with each other, you and I. I guess I should start by apologizing to you for that.

So, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for what I’ve done to you. I’m sorry for the times I spoke badly about you, using you as the punchline to a joke while I secretly meant what I said. I’m sorry for the times I punished you for not being what I wanted you to be, what I had been told you should be. I’m sorry for wishing you were smaller. And I’m sorry for starving you and cutting you and punishing you in an attempt to fit a false vision. I’m sorry for seeing you as a mistake, an error, something to be fixed and hidden. I’m sorry for hating you, for hating you so much that I couldn’t see anything else. The years of self-harm and bingeing and purging and restricting and pinching and squeezing and poking and prodding and slapping and burning – I’m sorry for all of it.

You deserve better. I deserve better.

I’m not sure exactly when I learned that I should hate you. But somewhere along the line, you became my enemy. It wasn’t your fault. You were just doing what biology was telling you to do — when I wanted to die, you were doing your best to keep me alive and I resented you for it. I resented you for every pound, every zit, every stretch mark, every wayward hair, every roll and sag and bump. I was told a lie, a lie that said my body wasn’t supposed to have those things, and I believed it. I’m sorry that I believed it. I’m sorry that I believed it so deeply that I became convinced that the only way to be happy was to make you disappear. I’m sorry I believed that in order for me to be something more, you had to be something less.

I wish I could promise that I won’t do it anymore. That from now on, I will love and appreciate you for everything you do for me. That I will feel grateful for the jiggle in my strong thighs. That I’ll hug my round stomach and I won’t look at someone else’s body and wish that you looked more like them. But that’s not realistic. You and me, we live in a society that wants me to hate you and it’s hard to resist that message some days. It’s hard to love your shape when I’m told that your shape makes you – and, by extension, me – ugly, disgusting, lazy and unloveable. It’s hard to love you when I’m told that you are a direct reflection of who I am as a person, and if I were just more determined, more controlled, more virtuous, you could be better. It’s hard to love you when I’m told that you are a flaw and that I am flawed for having you.

So, I can’t make that promise. I can’t promise that I will always speak to you kindly or treat you gently or celebrate you readily. But here’s what I can promise: I will try. I will try to be a little kinder to you. I will try to challenge the narratives telling me that you are too much, or not enough. I will try to to resist the urge to torture you for things that are not your fault. I will try to forgive you for not being what I want you to be. I will try to nourish you with food and kind words and good thoughts. I will try to love you a little better than I did the day before, and a little better the day after.

And I will try to be gentle with myself on days where I can’t do those things. I will try to be gentle with myself in those times where loving you feels impossible and selfish. I will try, I will try, I will try.

It’s an uphill battle. But we’re in it together.

Sincerely,

Lee

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via panic_attack

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Eating Disorders

An illustration of a beautifully designed silhouette

The Unexpected Body Image Struggle I Had After Giving Birth to My Youngest Child

Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741-741. When body image is discussed alongside the subjects of pregnancy and breastfeeding, it tends to appear the context of the woman’s feelings about her changing body and [...]

How Grieving My Eating Disorder Set Me Free

After struggling for a long time, I finally decided to accept treatment for my eating disorder, depression and anxiety. I had been using negative coping mechanisms to push down the intense emotions I had experienced in life, and eventually, I became numb to all emotions. This is where I was at before I entered treatment. The first [...]
The writer and her horse

To the Horse Who Gave Me a Reason to Fight My Eating Disorder

My main “therapist” during my eating disorder recovery probably did not look or talk like yours — unless your therapist weighs 1,200 pounds, has four hooves and neighs. My therapist was named Chester, and yes, he was a horse. Chester was not only my therapist, but my friend, my teammate and, as I often called [...]
Doctors and nurses pushing patient on gurney through emergency room

Why the ER Can Be Dangerous for Patients With Eating Disorders

Late into the first Wednesday night of 2017, yet another emergency room doctor said the unemotional words my wife and I had learned to fear, “You’re OK, we can send you home now.” My wife insisted that we see a cardiologist, but the doctor grimaced before telling her he was busy dealing with “things that [...]