Sydney Milewski //
I love you. I think that’s hard for a lot of us to say because we don’t feel like we deserve to say it. But I do love you. Even if there are things I may want to change about you or feel insecure about, that doesn’t mean I should love you any less. Life is too short to not feel comfortable in my own skin. Somewhere along the way, I forgot that the stretch marks across my butt, the hair on my stomach, the splotches of acne on my back, or the dimples of cellulite up and down my legs are all normal, natural, and nothing to be ashamed of. We rarely see similar features on models or people on social media, so we start thinking they are something that should be hidden away. We are made to believe that the “perfect body” doesn’t have these things. But how can natural, normal parts of a body not be included in that label? Without representation, we think our bodies aren’t right or good enough. Which raises the question: does perfection even exist? I think that perfection is a concept that cannot be achieved. After all, how can only one specific combination of traits be considered perfect when there are so many different ways a body can look?
Industries like beauty, diet, and cosmetic surgery are built on our insecurities, feelings of inadequacy, low self-confidence, and desire to change the way we look. Other industries, such as fashion, beauty, magazines, social media, and marketing, are built to make us feel that way. We’re on a perpetual quest to make our bodies “better,” whether that means slimmer in some places and thicker in others, looking more or less tan depending on our skin tone, or making literally any other change imaginable. And for what? So we can love our bodies more? If we make those changes will we suddenly be happy and everything will be ok? I don’t think so. The most radical, revolutionary change we can make in our lives is loving ourselves, even if we have supposed “flaws.” Of all of the relationships we will have in our lifetimes, the one with ourselves is the longest.
My body provides for me as long as I nourish it and take care of it. But sometimes I forget to do that. Or I put it off. Or I purposely don’t give it the sustenance it needs as a form of punishment or rebellion, trying to teach it a lesson. Eating is a beautiful, fascinating thing. We put food into our bodies and it gets converted into energy, giving us the power to do the things we love. The nutrients keep our hearts beating, our brains sharp, and our muscles working. Yet, sometimes we see food as the enemy and a diet as our savior. We need to cast away the idea that we have to be cruel to our bodies in order to make them more lovable.
So let me apologize to all of our bodies: I am sorry if I felt the need to punish you with excessive exercise because I thought I ate too much. I am sorry for calling you fat as an insult when, in reality, is it just a descriptive word. I am sorry for laughing when someone told me my body looked bangin’ because I didn’t believe them. You have provided me with everything, and yet I have never said thank you. I don’t praise you because it seems conceited, or because I don’t believe you deserve praise. Yet, you deserve all the praise in the world. You have kept me here all this time, even as you’ve grown, filled out, and changed. I think a lot of us have gotten so worried about our bodies changing that we haven’t enjoyed or embraced the changes. Our bodies will not always look like they did in high school and that is perfectly fine. Heck, they won’t even look the same throughout the day! So when you give me signs that you are hungry, I will feed you. When you tell me you are tired, I will let you rest. I will listen to you. I love you.