Letter to a Woman

I wrote the original of this in January 2014. I’m pretty sure it was because I was encouraging someone to think differently. Here is a repeat performance as we enter into bikini season, as the fashion bullshit-o-meter calls it.

Ruby the Bodyworks beauty

Ruby the Bodyworks beauty

Dear Human,

I am reading your posts about someone(s)calling you fat. In our society where a size zero is revered and anything over that is overweight, it’s so easy…so, so easy to think that you’re nothing unless you meet that standard. People, as a whole, don’t care if it leaves you crying when they call you fat. They don’t care if you’ve lost 100 pounds and are still working towards the goal. If you’re not the societal warped version of a body, then you’re a nothing, not a zero because that would be skinny, but a nothing.

When I was young, I was not thin, but I was womanly in my curves. I had a relatively flat stomach until I was 22 when my body flipped me the bird and gained 100 pounds in six months. I felt horrible all the time. Just seeing myself in the mirror would bring me to tears and eventually, I just quit looking. It was too painful and awkward.

At 26, I realized I was dramatically unhealthy. Not just fat, but unhealthy. I went vegetarian and worked out every day for 3 months and went from 256lbs to 159. I kept that weight off for two years, minimal effort, and although I fluctuated a few pounds here and there, I kept my exercise and diet plan clean and clear.

In 1999, I was raped. Unfortunately, that happened to coincide with my thyroid going bat shit crazy and I gained all but 20 pounds of the weight I’d worked so hard to lose. I was back up in the 230’s…high end. With stress eating and hormones flying around like the Wizard of Oz monkey’s, I got suicidally depressed.

2005 rolled around and I moved to TN with my best friend and her boyfriend to live at my father’s house. I had to eat at restaurants for the next two years, and although my weight stayed in the 230’s, I wasn’t really happy. I could look at myself in the mirror, but I constantly tore myself apart. If my boobs didn’t sag. If my butt had a shape other than pancake. If my arms didn’t have bat wings. If my belly didn’t make me look like the Michelin man. So many things I couldn’t like about my body. I further admit that I read celebrity gossip rags religiously and loved the way their bodies looked and dreamed of being like them.

And just like my use of drugs when I was in my late teens, I just woke up one day and said, no more. At first that little voice, that constantly criticized me and told me I was fat, ugly, unworthy, un-loveable, etc. was so loud it made it hard to hear anything else. But, every time I’d hear that voice (whether internal or external) I’d reassure myself that I am okay.

After a while, it became second nature. I replaced all of the bad things I used to tell myself and have told to me, with positive things. I can walk. I can touch my toes. I can breathe. I can do a push-up. I can work harder than most people. I am rather attractive. I am kind.I am compassionate. I’m a helper. I’m a giver. I’m appreciated. I am worthy. I am loved. And the body issues, for me, fell away like the weight so evident on my thighs.

I want you to know that I share this with you because you ARE beautiful. Even with me saying kind things, NEVER believe anyone but yourself. Trust your instincts, ignore everyone else’s opinions because in the end, you’re the only person responsible for your own happiness and the only one you’ll have in your life 24/7/365 until your last day on this plane. You’re wonderful. I guarantee that. You’re compassionate.I’ve seen it. You’re a kind woman to everyone. You’re a great mother and a good wife. I’ve watched you. You’re a devoted friend with a kind heart. Love yourself enough that anyone who objects to your value, clearly doesn’t know your worth.

Sincerely,

Mare, the first wonder twin, Martell

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