Bridget Jones was (and probably still is) one fictional character I matched in terms of bodily, physical appearance issues during high school, which was around the time I started comparing parts of myself to other girls. How many times had I watched this movie (and many others) as a teenager and internalized that my body needed fixing too. Below is a personal letter I wrote to myself and wanted to share with anyone who has or still is experiencing the harshness of body image.
To the girl I used to be,
First things first, stop criticizing yourself for the body image that you see in the mirror. You are beautiful and it’s about time you start loving yourself.
You were conditioned from a young age to have a certain opinion on what is acceptable for a woman and how you “need” to look. You played with the disproportionate barbie doll and thumbed through the digitally altered, highly made over magazine covers. Constantly attending family gatherings and dealing with the “You’ve gained some weight, haven’t you?” or would overhear how others felt that you were too big for a bathing suit. You thought those experiences were no big deal but you were like a sponge who soaked up the lesson that to be acceptable, you can’t look like that. That you can only love your body if it’s under a certain size. People have justified the glorification of skinny, pretending that it’s all about health. And you’ve learned that unless you are skinny, you cannot love your body. That a positive body image for the average woman is “unhealthy” and “pathetic”.
LOVE YOUR BODY ANYWAY, here’s a message to give you hope, empower you and strengthen you in the fight to celebrate and love your body. I hope it gives you strength to teach yourself as you grow that, valuing your body is all that matters. The big news? All this won’t matter years from now. The standard for what body type is “acceptable” will change favour a hundred more times in your lifetime. It’s not the reality of things. We can make fundamental changes in our culture, but that takes time, and you deserve to love your body now.
You are beautiful in your own way and the struggles that you have with loving your body are part of common humanity. I know that shifting your beliefs about your body is hard work, but it must be done. It is time to screw the standards of beauty imposed on you and decide for yourself that you are beautiful. You deserve your own acceptance.