To my twelve year old self –
Are you sitting down?
‘Cause young lady, we need to talk. I’ve been carrying your baggage for years and it would help me to carry that weight if I could get you sorted out about a couple of things a bit earlier in life.
First of all, you’ve got one hell of a path ahead of you! It’ll be amazing, and hard and worth every step.
By the time you’re 40, you’ll be a wife, a Mom, a Doctor, and an executive leader, and you’ll finally, genuinely feel like you belong in your own skin — most of the time.
I see you there right now though, in that oversized t-shirt. I know you make sure it’s long enough to hide your big butt, and I know you do that because of the unsolicited comments of a few grade six boys. But girl, one day, that big butt will be appreciated by an amazing man.
I also know you only wear mid-thigh shorts so that your thick thighs don’t draw similar attention.
You don’t have the svelte, gazelle-like legs of a dancer or yoga instructor, but man, those legs are built strong and they will carry you far.
You’ll only wear a bathing suit if you can put a cover up around your waist so that the stretch marks on your hips don’t show, right? Girl, those hips – those are “birthing hips” and trust me, you will put those to good use.
As you grow up, beauty ideals will change.
In fact, believe it or not, the world will fawn over a woman whose ass is MUCH bigger than yours and they’ll think it is beautiful. You are not a 90’s waif; you cannot ever look like Kate Moss.
Your body doesn’t even look like the other “normal” girls. But you know what? There is no “normal” body; in fact, just purge the word “normal” from your vocabulary now, please. Those girls you are admiring and envying, most of them see only their own flaws too. It won’t be long before you will meet someone who loves you, precisely because you aren’t “just like the other girls”.
You’ll be tempted to diet and to work out so that you can sculpt your body into some other form.
But your body is perfectly yours and it works just fine – you are healthy and active and it doesn’t need to change, and eventually, you’ll come to believe that — most of the time.
The fact is, society needs you to believe that this isn’t true. Society needs you to buy into gimmick after gimmick, to become something other than you are. So believing that you are beautiful in your own way, in your own skin — that is a long hard uphill battle that runs counter culture.
By the time you’re 40, you’ll see the media messages for what they are. Lies, insults and an emptiness that will suck your soul; irresponsible efforts to extort your happiness and money.
Instead, I’d love for you to focus on what your body can do.
You’ll learn to love yoga and the connection with yourself and with others that can come through the mat. You’ll love to push the limits of your muscles and balance, and through that, you’ll learn more about yourself.
You’ll learn to love running. Okay, that’s a lie. You’ll keep getting glimpses of what it might be like to love running and that’ll keep you going. You’ll learn that it can give you a meditative relief from your own brain; which you have no problem exercising to exhaustion by the way, and also isn’t “normal” or like anyone else’s!
And did I mention — you will grow life in that bod and give birth to little tiny humans! HOW AMAZING IS THAT?!?!
You’ll still have cellulite.
Those hips – they aren’t going to get any smaller after all the birthing.
Stretch marks fade, but you’ll get more. Oh, and PLEASE think twice about getting that belly button ring – because the stretch marks from your first baby will look like flames shooting out of your umbilicus. And just when you think your body can’t stretch anymore, it will, and it will leave you the marks to prove it.
That tiny little waist that you are hiding under those clothes, it will be less tiny, and the skin that is so tight right now — it’ll sag.
You’ll have scars from illnesses, surgery, and trauma.
You’re a badass, bold, brave girl. I’m proud of you.
Quit hiding, and quit believing the shit the world is teaching you about your body.
All of those imperfections will perfectly trace the path you’ve walked. Every one. And you’ll embrace them. So quit trying to look like you’re walking someone else’s path; ours is worth the fight.
Your 40-Year-Old Self
THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THE FLOAT AND STING BLOG