No matter what I weigh, I see fat. There is always a pair of pants I can’t fit into. A smaller size mocking me from the hanger—dancing with delight on the rack because it is beautiful, popular, confident, and envied. All the things I will never be because I can’t fit my thick body into it.
I have allowed the scale, the mirror, people’s comments, and social media to define me. I have given them authority to remind me that I will never be good enough. I have listened to the shame-filled whispers in my mind too long.
Today it stops. Today I change my mind. Today I choose to come into agreement with God when He says I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). Today I stare at my frame in the mirror and wrestle with the degrading whispers to expose God’s truth. I list every mutinous body part and choose gratitude instead of contempt.
A letter to my body….
You have been good to me, body. You have been faithful to me when I have been ashamed of you. You have given me good gifts of sight, taste and smell when the only attention I have given you has been with the hope to change you. To make you more socially acceptable. To make you more attractive to others.
Hair. How I pulled you into tight ponytails to straighten every strand of you instead of letting you naturally be free to frizz up and curl. You are healthy and beautiful and have a life of your own. I am sorry I let the magazines tell me you should be sleek and shiny like plastic.
Arms. You rock. You have been twisted, broken, and called upon to carry the heavy loads. I apologize I covered you in long sleeves so no one would see you age. You have earned the loose skin under your upper muscle. You wear it with grace.
Veins. I have hated you the most. You have thin walls and have expanded to carry my life-giving blood through my body. You protrude. You have faithfully carried oxygen and nutrients throughout my body never taking a day off. Never resting. I apologize for the multiple times I crossed my legs in humiliation and fear that you would be seen. Thank you for your unfailing service. I am grateful.
Going forward I am going to engage in self-compassion instead of self-condemnation. I am going to thank God for the beautiful, miraculous piece of artwork that you are. Daily. I am going to take care of you because I value you, not because I want to change you. I am going to give you healthy food out of love rather than to fit into a dress size.
God made me. God says I am His masterpiece, not the practice sketch. The final most significant rendering. I am beautiful. Today I agree.
Take the challenge
I challenge you to do the same. Write your letter exchanging the lies for truth. Join the movement of people who want choose to live in gratitude instead of shame.
If you’d like to share your letter with me, or a picture of yourself in the mirror choosing to love your body, I’d be honored. Email me
-Kristen Schoenbeck, Shelby Campus Director