I am sorry that it has taken me this long to write this letter to you. I know you’ve been waiting a long while – eagerly at first, patiently after, and later with waning hope. It has been a bumpy journey for us. I wish it was a classic love story – girl meets body, girl loves body, body loves girl and they live happily ever after. But it has been rougher for us two.
From the beginning, the stars were aligned against us. You see, I was born at a time when society only approved of tall, thin, fair-skinned bodies. We didn’t stand a chance with your fat tummy, stretch marks, flabby arms, thunder thighs, and rolly cheeks. Even before I could begin to understand our relationship, society came down on me – with their snide remarks, jokes, and hurtful comments. I was forced to look at you as an enemy – one that I was constantly at war with. And so our relationship became toxic.
I spent most of my life trying to change you, so others would approve of us. I blamed you for the mean jokes that heartless people made at our expense. I blamed you for not being able to find a man to love us. I blamed you for the nights I went to sleep on an empty stomach. I blamed you for shutting myself from the world in the fear that they would judge us.
But I failed to see how you made sure I was the best damn player on the basketball team. And how you kept me safe from all illnesses despite my not taking care of you. And how you kept up with the college drinking sessions. And how you kept me going through all the pain you felt. And how you were always there even when no one else was.
So, today I want to say I love you, irrespective of what anyone else might think of us. It has been a tough journey for us but I promise the journey ahead will be better. I vow to take care of you – to eat right and make sure I keep you healthy. I also vow to never force you to be something that you are not – to love you, just as you are.
Happy together forever.
This post was inspired by two things –
- My dear friend, Lebogang’s series on body positivity. Definitely check it out, if you haven’t already.
- Last night my mum came from a trip and she was telling me about the people she met. She mentioned how this acquaintance was looking great because “she had lost a lot of weight”. So I mentioned to her how “losing” weight should not be seen as a compliment because we never know the underlying reason behind the weight loss. Illness, depression, eating disorder, money problems, drugs etc. – could be behind the weight loss. And I was amazed when my mum agreed instantly that she would not talk about people’s weight as a compliment/issue in the future. (It is possible that she agreed cause she has seen me struggle with weight all my life.) But it gave me hope that we are moving towards a more body positive society. I have gained weight over the past year because of my poor mental health and I dread meeting old friends because I know this is the first thing that will come up. I have also dreaded going on dates because my confidence has waivered because of my weight. But I met two good friends recently after 2 years and neither mentioned anything and it lifted this weight off of my chest. And the few men I’ve met on dates have made me feel so comfortable in my own skin. So I truly feel like a positive change is around the corner where all shapes and sizes are considered beautiful. (Having said that, I follow this YouTuber who gets body shamed on all her videos for being big and every time I read the comments, it breaks my heart.)
Here is to us changing the world and making it a better place for all of us to thrive in.
If you haven’t already, check out my other recent posts –