Note: Last week I wrote about the idea of daring to be beautiful, and this week’s post resulted from thinking more about that and my relationship with my body.
I’ve decided. I’m done. No more apologies.
Ever since I started gaining weight around the age of 11, I’ve felt a nearly constant need to apologize for my body. In those early years, the apologies were for my layers and rolls of fat. I knew they were unsightly, and I felt awful at the idea that I inflicted this unappealing view onto the unsuspecting world. As a result, I tried as much as possible to hide in the background, even though hiding someone my size wasn’t terribly feasible.
Then, once I lost weight, I felt the need to apologize for not having a “perfect” body. I’ve often felt like an imposter in the sense that, while covered down to my knees and elbows and up to my collarbone, I look fine. But a bathing suit (even single suit – forget about a bikini) reveals loose skin and stretch marks, and still some flab. I’ve wondered if people think I’m pretty until they see me at the beach, and then they’re still disgusted.
But I’m not going to think that way anymore. I recognize that my body will never be smooth-skinned, long-limbed, showing only sculpted muscle and accented by bones. In reality, even had I never put on lots of weight, I never would have had that body – it’s simply not how I’m built.
What I can say is that some parts of my body are attractive, and even for the parts that aren’t (at least by our society’s standards), it doesn’t mean I need to feel guilty about them. I recognize that these marks are simply a reflection of my life. Parts of it have been very hard to be sure, but at the same time, it’s worth remembering that I got through those hard times. My body got through, too, and the scars and marks are reminders of that.
Which is why I’m done making excuses for how I look. I refuse to waste the time and energy anymore in composing elaborate apologies in my head to random strangers or even close friends and family. My body deserves better of me than that.
Instead, if I’m starting to feel self-conscious about what might be revealed, I will remember the journey that brought me here, and instead feel only joy that I survived it all and have come through stronger on the other side.