We were instructed to start the letter: "Dear Body,"
The homework for the week had been write a letter to your body or self.
How can you thank your body? How your can you forgive yourself?
What do you owe to you?
I first met Darcy in a body positivity support group, and I knew we would be quick friends. The first thing I heard as I entered the group video chat was, “OH WOW I LOVE YOUR DRESS,” and that’s absolutely her energy! She is one of the most uplifting and empowering women I've ever met.
I quickly found her to be an incredible listener who gave great advice. It was obvious she had put in so much time on her own self love journey - I was inspired. During my second session in the group, we were asked to share our experience with our letters.
Our facilitators had asked us to write letters to our bodies or selves - to thank and forgive them.
As we shared, I was incredibly touched by so many of the responses, but Darcy's letter spoke to me profoundly. I cried so hard I had to turn my video off and take a moment for myself. I was so moved, I asked Darcy if she would be willing to share her letter. Her writing was so raw, genuine, and compassionate.
And you know what? She agreed.
These photos are just one of the amazing steps on her journey to self love - and I'm so grateful she allowed me to share them with you.
There are so many things that I would like to apologize to you for. I have spent the vast majority of my life actively hating you because that was what I was taught to do by my parents, by my family, my peers, my teachers, by society as a whole, simply for not being some unattainable, perfect, airbrushed specimen of femininity. I could say that I owe you all of these apologies, and yeah, I do... but it’s much more powerful that I want to apologize to you and correct my behavior toward you because you deserve better.
Maybe neither of us will get better treatment from most of the world around us, but if I start with you, with apologizing to you sincerely and make a concerted effort to do better, to treat you right, to love you the way I would like for you to be loved, then it gives me a baseline for how I ought to expect others to treat me. And it gives others a good example of the way I expect to be treated. I would like to set a standard and no longer accept behavior from anyone, including myself, that does not meet that standard.
That said, my dear body, there are some very important things I would like to discuss with you.
I am so very sorry for hating you. From a young age, I was taught that to be fat was to be unattractive and unlovable. To be fat meant that you were lazy and a pig. It meant you ate too much. It meant you didn’t exercise enough. It meant you didn’t try hard enough. It meant you weren’t good enough. And so, because, genetically, you were predisposed and inclined to being heavier, I was just supposed to hate you.
I was bombarded on all fronts with images of the ‘ideal’ female shape – on tv, in magazines, in advertisements, at clothes stores. I have spent most of my life dreaming of being a size zero so that I would deserve love and happiness and decency.
And you, body; you were never meant to be a size zero. An ideal size for you, health-wise, is around a 14. But if we are talking about value... well, you, dear body, are priceless no matter what size you are. You are beautiful, whether your curves arc outward or inward. You are incredibly sexy and lovable just as you are, and you always have been.
And I am so sorry that it has taken me such a very long time to recognize that.
Because let’s be honest – none of us are perfect, no matter what. Society has set our entire paradigm up so that each of us feels lacking – fat girls need to be skinny, skinny girls need to be toned and muscular, muscular girls need to be more feminine, her nose is too big, her skin is flawed, her hair is thin, whatever. It’s a vicious cycle, all designed to keep us easily controlled and buying shit we don’t need in order to attain some unattainable ideal.
So, now I know. I know the secret. You will never be perfect. And yet... you are perfect as you are. Or, maybe, good enough. I don’t want to claim perfection, because that would mean that I could stop learning and growing, and I’m certainly not ready for that. But, my dear body, you are certainly good enough, and you always have been.
I am so very sorry for not taking care of you the way that I should have, body. Yes, there have been periods of time when I have eaten food that was good for you, that nourished you, when I have exercised and given you the kind of movement that you needed to be healthy. But for a lot of my life, I really haven’t. Sometimes I ate garbage because I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to cook, sometimes I ate it for comfort, and sometimes, I ate it for spite.
My relationship with food is a complex one. Complex and honestly, unhealthy in a lot of ways. As a child, I was denied anything sugary – soda, candy, snacks, any kind of desserts – and was made to eat non-fat everything. Meanwhile, my brother was given every kind of ‘junk’ food he wanted, no matter what size he was. I understand now that it was my mother’s ignorant attempt to provide a healthy diet for me... but much like her intention of grinding the will to not be fat into me because she honestly believed I would be able to be happy if I was anorexic turned into half a lifetime of self-hatred, her intention of controlling my diet has quite similarly taught me to have a love-hate relationship with food, fueled by guilt and spite and shame.
Maybe by addressing this, because this is really the first time I’ve actually acknowledged my relationship with food as being unhealthy, I can work on it. I know what I need to give you, body. I know what is healthy, and what you need as a regular diet. I know I need to drink more water and eat more vegetables; I know I need to cut out processed foods and cook for myself with fresh ingredients. I know I need get up and exercise you, body. Right now, it’s hard, because I have let myself stay sedentary – moving is painful and exhausting... but body, you need this, you need to move, you love to move, and I owe it to you to start moving again.
And finally, I am so incredibly sorry for giving up on you for so long, body. I lost hope in ever being beautiful, in ever being sexy, in ever being physically attractive, and so I hid in a video game where I could be all of those things. For years.
And during that time, I neglected you, body. And I hated you more and more, I resented you every day for not being what I wished you could be, for not looking like some fantasy avatar on a computer screen.
I gave up on you. For so long.
I gave up on me.
I almost said that I don’t think I can ever apologize adequately for that, but that is incorrect. I am sorry for giving up on myself. And the way I make amends for that is by treating myself the way I deserve to be treated. By doing all of the things I have talked about in this letter, by living my life as well as I can, and by loving myself as hard as I can.
Dearest body – you and I are stuck together, whether we like it or not. I think I’d like to stop not liking it. I think I’d really rather like it. I’d rather like you, body. Really, I’d rather love you.
So, I’m gonna stop hating you, and I’m gonna do everything in my power to stop acting hatefully toward you. You deserve love. You deserve care. You deserve good health. You deserve good nutrition. You deserve exercise. And you deserve me having hope and giving a damn.
You deserve all of that. Because I deserve all of that. If I'm going to demand to be treated the way I want to be by others, I have to start by treating myself the way I want to be treated.
Dearest body – It's not going to be easy. But it’s sure as hell not going to be as hard as it has been. I got you, girl, and we’re in this together.
All My Love, Darcy
I'm so grateful to have met you and to have had the chance to photograph her.
She is such a wonderful person and she definitely knows how to rock #thesecurves
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