A Letter to My Body

A Letter to My Body

Or a letter to anyone who feels bad about their own.
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"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me."

Well that’s some absolute bullshit. If words were sticks and thoughts were stones, my body would be the victim beaten to a pulp from a hate crime. I bet that most people can relate.

In this day and age, words have such an impact on people’s mental health and body image that it causes eating disorders and many mental health issues. The scariest part is that all of the mental effects from words, social media, and body image are becoming more and more common, so much that “…approximately eight million people in the U.S. have anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and related eating disorders” (The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders).

Even though we know that the "body goals" we see today are mostly photoshopped, we still compare ourselves to an excruciatingly detailed level; we can’t seem to help it. We pick apart every single feature of someone, set it up in a harsh comparison to our own bodies and then feel upset and shamed when we don’t have any or some of the features that someone else has because our bodies are surprise, different.

To whoever’s reading this, I’m sure you’ve heard all of what I just said before. Of course you know that almost everything is photoshopped, that we have a sick need to squint at ourselves in the mirror and snarl “you’re not good enough.” And of course, you know that yes, a lot of things surrounding body image today is negative and it needs to stop. And obviously it’s not going to happen with one article or overnight. It’s little steps that need to be taken, one of the first and most important being to apologize to your body; thank it for being strong enough to take what you do and say and still carry you through life. Because without our bodies we would look like this…

And that's horrifying.

So without further ado, here’s a letter to my body.

Dear body,

Let’s start with a long over-due and much needed apology. I am sorry. I am sorry for everything I’ve said to you; none of it has been positive. I’m sorry for every time I’ve denied you food, and I’m sorry for every time I poked, prodded, cut, and scratched at you, telling you that you’re ugly, fat, jiggly, and too big.

I’m sorry to my thighs for despising the way you jiggle when I walk and drive, for hating how you’re riddled with cellulite and how you have no gap between. For groaning every time you chafe when I wear shorts, and for all the days I wear leggings in 90 degree weather because I’m ashamed of what you look like, I apologize. You’ve literally carried me through life. You’ve given me the ability to be the equestrian I am today, and you have given me the strength to run, jump, and play.

I’m sorry for my chest for berating you constantly about how you’re small, how I compare you to every single girl I see and how I’ve let the societal idea that small chests are embarrassing take hold and twist a completely acceptable and normal body trait into my most hated feature. Honestly thank god for your size because if you were any different I’d have more back issues than I have now and I’d get hit in the face every time I rode a horse.

I’m sorry to my hips for every day I look in the mirror and pinch you, immediately following it with a disgusted look. For every time I hike up my pants to cover you from creating an unsightly lump in my figure, and for all the times I stood in the mirror squishing you back to see if I’d be prettier with slimmer hips… you help me dance (even though it might not be good), you help me feel sexy by swaying, and you let me hip check my friends when we’re walking side by side (they go flying and it’s hysterical).

To my stomach, I am especially sorry. You’ve taken most of the beatings. So I am incredibly sorry for every minute that I suck you in so hard I feel like my ribs are going to crack and for the pops that actually have happened. For each time I pull my pants up over you to attempt to keep you contained, and for loathing the way you collapse into rolls when I sit. For standing for hours in front of the mirror, staring, cursing and crying at you, for changing outfits over six times because even though to someone else you look perfectly fine, in my eyes I just see shame and a curve that is considered the height of undesirable in society, I’m sorry. I feel awful for every time I try to hide you, hugging a pillow each time I’m sitting down or placing my purse on my lap to cover you up; you’re normal, strong and you’re not undesirable.

To my face, I am also especially sorry. You’re the thing I spend the most time critiquing and fixing because you’re the one thing I can really change. I’m sorry for every time I’ve made myself late because I felt the need to put on makeup to make you look better because for some strange reason a black line across my eyelid is my rite of passage to walk out the door. I’m sorry for every hour I spend one inch from the mirror cross eyed trying to pluck and pick you into being better and prettier. For every time I’ve covered you in eye makeup because makeup is the one thing that gives me confidence to go out, and for every time I stare at you with anger and disappointment after I take my makeup off because how the hell can I look like that? Thank God I’m one of the only people that has to witness my bare face. For every product I buy in hopes it’ll make you look actually semi-acceptable (even though you’re much more than that), for every type of concealer I’ve used to try and cover up blemishes, I’m sorry. For every time I’ve said I hate how you’re splashed with freckles and moles and how I consider them honestly hideous, how my smile is crooked on the right side, for the roundness of you and for the double chin you have. You’ve given me the ability to show my emotions with your unique way of being very expressive and you’ve allowed me to see, hear, taste and smell.

Body, I’m sorry for constantly comparing you to other people’s, for wishing and praying that you’d look different than how you are, and for berating you so much that you’ve felt nothing but darkness. I regret the scars you hold, the anger you’ve felt, and the frustration that shook you. So, body, thank you for staying strong through all of it. Every insult, every ounce of hate, disgust, anger, sadness, shame, disappointment and judgement I’ve thrown at you, thank you for staying strong. I’m ready to start loving and appreciating you.

-Amy

I think Tina Fey said it perfectly; “Every girl is expected to have caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a 10 year old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. This is why everyone is struggling” (Tina Fey). We’ve been conditioned to believe that we’re only attractive if we have the perfect body or with whatever traits are considered hot in today’s society. It's time to celebrate body variety. We can't change what we've been given, but it's time to realize that what we have is beautiful. Every person is fighting their own battles. Each person is different and therefore lovely; every curve, mark, scar, lump, freckle and bone is beautiful, and I hope whoever's reading this believes that just a bit more.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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To All Lawmakers, Keep Your Laws Off My Body

My body, my choice.

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This past week, Ohio and Alabama received a lot of attention in the media after bold decisions were made regarding abortion laws in these two states. Alabama has signed an extreme abortion ban into law which gives no exception for even rape or incest. Women and doctors could end up facing 99 years in prison for performing an abortion in this state. In most cases, rapists only serve about 6 years of jail time. This means that a woman could spend more time in jail for attempting to abort the fetus than the man who planted it inside of her. In Ohio, similar laws are being put in place that denies women from getting an abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected. However, that is only 5 weeks into the pregnancy, or one week late of a period. Most women do not even know they are pregnant at that time.

I originally was very hesitant to write this article. Not because I did not know what I thought about the issue, but rather because I was afraid what other people would think of me writing about this. I'm typically not one to post anything too political but there comes a time when something must be said.

When it comes to abortion laws, pro-life advocates often argue that the fetus could be the next Einstein or the person to cure cancer. However, the women who are going to be taking care of the child could have potentially done the same. Instead, they are often forgotten about and their lives are changed for good. There are so many women who will have to give up so much such as their education, career, and happiness as a result of the laws that are being put into place.

Furthermore, if a woman is not capable of taking care of a child at the time she gets pregnant, the child will end up being the one to suffer the most. If the woman has no option but to keep the baby, the baby has the potential of growing up in an unstable home where it will not have the resources it needs to live.

Pro-life advocates push for women to just give the child up for adoption, but that has its own set of problems. If the woman puts the baby up for adoption, there is a ginormous possibility that the child will live their entire life going in and out of our country's broken foster care system. Lawmakers should not be advocating for the protection of fetuses unless they are able to make sure the fetus will be able to grow up in a stable environment.

Putting laws to prevent abortion into place isn't going to stop abortions from happening. Instead, it is going to make women turn to hazardous practices that could end up with them harming themselves. Many people, including some pro-life advocates, have even admitted that the bills being put into place are too far.

The most amazing thing to me about the bills being signed into place is that the support for them is heavily reliant on men. It is very easy to jump behind supporting something that doesn't affect you. These men will never be able to experience what it is like to carry a child around for nine months and care for it after. That is why it makes absolutely no sense that they are able to tell women what they can and can't do with their bodies.

Being pro-choice is not necessarily being pro-abortion. It is being for women to have the freedom to do what they believe is best for themselves. A women's right to make her own choices should not be a conservative or democratic issue. It is a human issue. It shouldn't matter what the circumstances are. If a woman feels she is not ready for a child she should have the ability to do what is needed to be done. I hope that as a country we are able to take the necessary steps to prevent us from moving back in time. So to all lawmakers, keep your laws off of my body.

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