You and I haven’t had the best of relationships.

I have hated you for as long as I can remember.

I have been cruel to you.

I have mistreated you year after year.

The truth is, I felt trapped inside you. All I wanted was for you to be different. I didn’t realize how much I was harming you. I didn’t know how to love you. Nobody taught me how. I learned that you didn’t fit in. You didn’t fit the mold of what a girl is supposed to look like.

I was a child, and I learned to hate you.

Women around me spoke ill of their bodies. They criticized themselves and each other. My father called my mother “fat” in ways that still upset me.

People always had something to say about my appearance.

Kids mocked me and called me names. Fat was the worst thing you could be.

I used to think that women had to be thin to be loved. I believed the false notion that women need to have long legs, flat stomachs, and perfect breasts.

The other bodies around me seemed perfect in comparison to my thickness. I didn’t see you for what you really were: a healthy body, beautiful too.

As I grew older, I couldn’t keep you from transforming. You were growing, becoming more womanly. Why couldn’t I be smaller? Thinner? Better?

You are my body. I am you, and you are me.

You endured my self-starvation as much as you survived the long hours of binging and purging.

Deep down, I knew I was destroying you one laxative at a time, but I refused to stop.

Even when I was just bones.

I couldn’t stop.

Even when I fainted.

I didn’t want to stop.

I was scared, but fear wasn’t enough to make me stop.

All I wanted to see was a beautiful person. I searched for her in the mirror and never found one.

My reckless behavior sent you to the hospital a few times. Yet, you fought to keep me alive.

We are taught our bodies are inadequate unless they look a certain way. We don’t learn to be grateful for what our bodies can do. We are not taught to embrace ourselves as we are.

You’ve carried me all these years. I should have been grateful that I had legs to take me places. Thankful I had arms to hold and care for others or hands to play instruments and write.

I was and am your cruelest bully.

I believed what others said about you and made it my point to prove them wrong. I’ve tried… I’ve tried really hard to be thin.

You are my body, and I am you. Still, I don’t know how to stand up for you, for us. I don’t know how to stand up for myself.

I still cannot accept you as you are. I cannot accept us. Me.

It’s hard to treat you right. I wish I could purge the self-loathing.

I’m trying to listen to what you need.

All we can do is take it one at a time.

Writer. Creative artist. Photographer. Feminist.

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