Body shaming is a real thing. It’s insidious, and I think we actually do it much more to ourselves than each other. And of course, I’ve got something to say about it.
This post started out as a letter to my email subscribers, but I got so many replies to it that I decided it needed to be put out on the blog.
Well, I was planning to write to you today about knowing when it’s time to sign up for your first 5K. I even had a blog post ready to go along with this letter (which you can read HERE).
But…then something came up that was way more important.
I was talking with some girlfriends over FB messenger, making final plans for a long weekend that we’re taking together.
We were chatting about the weather being cooler than expected, and one of my friends said she thought she’d packed too many shorts and might need to rearrange her suitcase. And the Inner Mean Girl commentary started immediately:
“You girls are brave wearing shorts. I haven’t worn them in years and just got my first pair this year.”
“Not me. Unless someone’s in the mood for a healthy helping of cottage cheese!!!”
“I can’t do it. I wear shorts at home and once in awhile if it’s absolutely miserable but I hate my legs. Cellulite and spider veins – I have the legs of a 50 year old!”
This floored me. So much so that I actually got tears in my eyes. Because I imagined each and every one of those statements as my girlfriends slapping themselves in the face. Hard.
I started to cry. Immediately.
And girls, if you’re reading this, I didn’t tell you at the time that your words did this to me – I made a joke about it and said that if each of you didn’t act like everything was unicorns and daises during our weekend together that I would smack you. But I really did have tears rolling down my face as I typed those words.
In fact, I’m actually crying as I write this, in full view of everyone else in my office.
Here’s what I want you to know – my girlfriends, and every single one of you reading this letter.
You are beautiful. You are gorgeous. You are amazing and fabulous and fucking perfect.
I don’t care if you don’t believe me. Because I KNOW IT.
It doesn’t matter whether your thighs are skinny or not. Whether you have spider veins. Whether you have back fat hanging out of your tank top, or your hair is flat.
Those are not the things that define you, not the things that make you special to me. They are not the reasons why your family and friends love you so deeply, why they want to spend time with you, why they miss you when you’re gone.
They love you because of YOU. Your personality. Your generosity. Your sense of humor. THAT’S WHAT THEY LOVE!
But every time you say something about your fat thighs, your squishy tummy, your bad hair, you are really telling yourself that the only lovable thing about you is what you look like. After you say something enough times, you start to believe it. You claim it as the absolute truth, and anyone that doesn’t agree with you must be blind.
And when you believe your appearance is not good enough, you start to believe that YOU are not good enough.
And that, my lovely friends, is a lie. A big, fat, mean-spirited LIE.
The truth is, you can lose weight, gain weight, start exercising, quit exercising, have wrinkles, gray hair or three chins. You could be a supermodel.
You could get the best job in the world, get fired, get a boyfriend, get divorced, make a million dollars, lose it all overnight.
None of that is what makes you so amazing and special.
Get it? YOU are what matters. None of that other stuff. None of it.
Now get out there and run, dammit – in your racerback tank tops, your running skirts, your ‘I don’t know if I can pull this off’ outfit that you keep in the back of your closet until you lose just 5 more pounds…
Just get your fabulous self out there and show the world how amazing you are!
Much, MUCH love,