The following is an excerpt from my new book, Project Body Love: my quest to love my body and the surprising truth I found instead.
I am sorry.
I am sorry for all the carrot sticks.
I know you don’t like them.
Even when they’re dipped in hummus.
I am sorry.
I am sorry for the time I drew, in permanent marker, lines around your middle, around the places I wanted to excise, if only I had a knife.
And for the times I squeezed that flesh so hard my hands hurt and left bruises, wanting some way to release my hatred.
I am sorry for the hatred.
I am sorry for not listening when you were hungry
for food, for touch, for water, for stillness, for movement, for acceptance, for chocolate
I am sorry for not listening when you were full
of tension, of food, of hatred, of longing, of potential
I am sorry for not meeting your needs
or even knowing what they were
or, in fact, acknowledging that you might have them.
You must have felt
like an unmothered child
alone, unloved, trying to survive.
I am sorry for the miles I ran
when you were hurting
I am sorry for running those miles
to punish you
for being the way you were.
I’m sorry for believing someone or something else had the answers
(for believing we needed answers)
for assuming you were broken
and for everything that happened when I consulted
everyone but you.
I am sorry for hiding
as though you were the representation of everything that was wrong with me
I am sorry for all the times I tried to transform you into something different
I am sorry for the shame
that I cloaked you in
I am sorry for all those fashion magazines
for cutting out pictures of other women’s bodies
and pasting them to my vision boards
I don’t buy them anymore.
I am sorry for believing him
when he said you would be perfect if only it weren’t for this part right there
I’m sorry that I didn’t know I should be defending you
rather than being complicit in your degradation.
I am sorry for all the times I tried to squeeze you into jeans that didn’t really fit
and for not listening, even when you ached to be released.
And I’m sorry for how I hated you even more
when you didn’t fit in
or to any of mine or others’ expectations about how you should look or how you should be.
(I am sorry for all those shoulds, really)
I am sorry about all the hours I wasted
trying to change you,
when I could have been
…I don’t know…
changing the world.
I am sorry for trying to keep both of us small.
My new book, Project Body Love, is available online and in fine bookstores everywhere, or you can click on the image below to purchase.