Dear Body,

Making peace with you, learning to love you is harder than I imagined it would be.
You gave me my beautiful children, my three beautiful children. It should be easy to love you for that reason alone. I do love you for that. I do.
But, my God, I hate you too.
I hate you because I am a slave to you. I hate you because there are so many things in life I’ve not been able to do because of the fears and insecurities I have about you.
Your sagging breasts embarrass me.
Your gaping hole of a belly button repulses me.
Your stretch marks humiliate me.
Your loose, hanging skin infuriates me.
The excess fat that you continue to hold onto so tightly angers me.
My husband loves you. He desires you. He thinks you’re beautiful. Sexy, even. I don’t understand how he can feel that way. I truly do not.
I want to feel the way he does about you. I want to love you. I want to love looking at you, or at the very least, not want to puke when I look at you.
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It’s hard to look at you without crying. Especially when I compare you to other, beautiful bodies. Or to the way you used to look.
You used to be so beautiful.
I know it’s not fair to compare you to other women, or to your young self. But it’s hard not to. Everywhere I look, I’m bombarded with images of bodies that look nothing like you. It’s hard not to feel like a freak of nature when all of the images I see look so completely different than you. I once saw images that looked similar to you. It was a campaign for “real beauty” and I cried with joy and suddenly didn’t feel like such a freak. But then? I heard people talking about how ugly those bodies looked and how they were repulsed by what they had seen, and how those women had NO business taking pictures in their underwear because no one wanted to see all of that and suddenly, my tears of joy turned once again to tears of shame and hatred towards you.
I’ve become more comfortable with “The Clothed You.” I would have NEVER taken Aerobic Dance Class in the past because I would have been too ashamed and self conscience of my Lumpy Ass, or the Jiggly Arms. But after having shed a few pounds, I have learned to accept my Clothed Self.
But when the clothes come off, HATE HATE HATE what I see.
I’m tired of hating you, of fighting with you, of wishing you were different. So very tired of wasting all of my energy in that way.
I just wanted you to know that I don’t want to hate you or be ashamed of you anymore, I’m just completely lost as to how to NOT feel this way anymore.
But I’m working on it. Be patient with me.
(I wrote this at 1am this morning. I’ve debated if I should post it or not because people get so damn angry at me when I write about my body, but if I let Angry People stop me from writing what I want to write, than I might as well shut this blog down because that’s DUMB to censor myself based on what people will think.)

45 thoughts on “Dear Body,

  1. Beth

    I’m not angry at you for what you write. Your thoughts are your thoughts. But I do have a suggestion, which you may choose to disregard, obviously. If you’re not interested, read no further.
    In your posts, you touch on some points that could eventually turn your attitude around…then you negate them with “but…” In fact, in a post like today’s, you spend more time writing about the negative stuff than you do about the positive. (I did see positive stuff in there!) :-) I would suggest that you do some writing, maybe not for publication (?), in which you say only positive things to yourself. Stop before you negate them with a “but.” Maybe try something silly at first, like “I’m getting sexier every day,” or whatever you want. Regardless of what you choose to say, it will definitely feel weird at first, because out of habit you’ll want to throw in the “but” and all the negative stuff that always comes after it. Stick with it, though, and try it every day for one week. Notice how you feel about it, even if you feel weird, or silly, or like you’re lying to yourself. Then try it for another week. Promise yourself that you will write only positive things in a particular notebook. Practice saying the positive things out loud to yourself, even if you feel weird, silly or fake. I guarantee that if you do this the way I described, you will feel more positive after a few weeks. Your mind hears all the stuff you say/think, and it believes it. You have been saying a lot of negative things and your mind is believing them. It doesn’t cost anything to try the positive self-talk approach; all it takes is a small commitment. I speak from experience on this. I’ve done this with certain areas of my life and it is amazing. Not weird or anything, although I certainly felt silly doing it at first. The results are worth it, though. *hugs* :-)

  2. Kristin

    Yvonne, I can totally relatate to what you are saying… I too have days where I just feel totally betrayed by my body. I look at women with those super-genetics and I envy them! I look at women with outrageous self-discipline and control and their one lettuce leaf and green tea and I can hate them too… I wonder why I have to work so hard… ugh?!!
    For what it’s worth, in your photos you look really lovely.

  3. Itchy

    “but if I let Angry People stop me from writing what I want to write, than I might as well shut this blog down because that’s DUMB to censor myself based on what people will think”
    Y – That statement made me so proud of you. This is YOUR blog! This is where you choose to vent your feelings about yourself. Its for YOU…not US. Sure many of us get motivation from you. We also get validation. You feeling bad about your body makes me feel not so alone. Not so abnormal for hating mine. For being insecure. You are open with your feelings and shame on those people that get angry with you for sharing your own feelings on your own blog! I love how open you are. I love that I can come here and read your words and relate to someone. I love when you are feeling positive because that energy JUMPS out of my monitor as I read your words.
    And…when someone is feeling as insecure about themselves as you do and put yourself out there, sharing that insecurity with us – shame on those that get angry, “kicking you while you are down.” But that’s just my view on that.

  4. Hed

    I absolutely hate how hard I have to work just to look semi-normal, and then I see my friends who are mostly rail-skinny in photos next to me, and I look like a freak. I can identify here. It’s frustrating, isn’t it?
    -H

  5. Mamacita

    Dear heart, you are young and beautiful. I really don’t think you are seeing the same body we are seeing. Are you wanting to see air-brushed perfection in the mirror? Join the crowd. NOBODY sees that, not really. When I look at you, I see REAL perfection. Perfection with a loving heart and a fun-loving nature and genuine mom-skills and happy children and a loving husband, and a body that is far above average, beauty-wise. I give you an A minus, and I’ll take the minus away if you smile more. Somehow I don’t think those airbrushed skanks who fill the pages of People magazine are nearly as beautiful as you. You are for real, and they are fake.

  6. Teresa

    I can relate to your post as I have been having the exact same battle with myself. May you soon find peace of mind. Keep posting without censorship!

  7. Shelly

    Y, I think all women have body issues especially after you have children. Whether you’re a size 2 or a size 22, you are you own worst enemy when it comes to your body. I try to remind myself that most the time everyone else is too involved with their own issues to really give a damn about the width of someone else’s ass.

  8. Heather

    How brave! Congrats to you for really thinking hard about such a difficult subject. I know exactly how you feel. I have a give and take with my body too, lots of love and lots of hate. I wish I had some magical advice on how to make it all better. Maybe it just takes time? Therapy? At least we all (hopefully) have family and friends to help us through the really bad days.

  9. Ang

    I think this letter is awesome. Amazing and real. I love when people use their posts for themselves and don’t try to apease other people. Then the readers are just spectators along for the ride.
    I love the thought of being able to see yourself as your husband sees you. That would be an amazing place to be.
    Ang

  10. chrissylas

    Y, I just wanted to say that I think you are beautiful. You truly are. And the campaign for real beauty was amazing. I loved seeing women of all sizes and shapes (and ages) being proud of who they were. Like someone else said, being skinny means nothing because no one likes who they are. I’m 5’9 and a size 4 and I hate my body. I hate the fact that my shoulders are uneven from scoliosis, I hate that my bones stick out in certain places. I hate I hate I hate. But you know what? My husband Loves. He LOVES my body. And Tony loves yours. Just imagine… someone loving something that is imperfect but loving it and finding it desirable just the same. How can I look down on my body when the one I love sees it as perfection?
    I agree with the first poster. Try the positive self talk. It helps. Sort of how when you get a compliment (of course, if you’re like me you always throw that “but” or “well” in the conversation instead of taking it outright) and even though you’re negating it on the outside on the inside it makes you feel a little warm and fuzzy even if you don’t believe it. Psitive self talk is like that only after a while you believe it and you can actually see what is being said for what it is…not what you’ve conditioned yourself to think it is.

  11. xtx

    well done.
    i could’ve written this myself as i feel EXACTLY THE SAME WAY 110%.
    You speak for many of us. You are not alone.

  12. Stephanie

    You are beautiful. I can’t say anything to help you feel better because I know what it is like to have that battle with oneself. Loving oneself is so challenging. But loving yourself has nothing to do with the external. The external always fails us. Everyone is disapointed in the end, even the leggy supermodel. But you have both- inside and outside beauty. One day you may not, but for now you most certainly have it goin’ on, girlfriend! Strut it, love it, and show it off to your hubby! You have every reason to wear it proudly– you are a very attractive woman!

  13. The 2 BOBS

    I think you are wonderful.
    I think you are beautiful.
    But I never expected to get an eyeful of the 2 BOBS today.
    Be careful, Ron Jeremy might be calling you soon!
    lol.

  14. Pamalamadingdong

    I just looked at you topless on the internet and my eyes totally did not bleed.
    You’re gorgeous and you have the biggest set of balls than I’ve seen on any blogger.

  15. Amy A

    I just wanted to comment and tell you that you continually inspire me every day. I’ve been struggling for about 7 months (since my daughter was born) to lose my baby weight (that I gained way too much of) and every time I think of cheating, I think of you and how far you’ve come, and I remember that because you’re doing, it is possible. So, every time I get discouraged, I remember that someone else out there is doing it (and better than me, I might add) and having success.
    You ARE beautiful, and I hope one day you accept yourself so you can be content with yourself.
    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for sharing your journey.

  16. Jenn

    I really admire you and your talent for writing out your feelings. I often feel the same but have trouble finding my words.

  17. Mandy

    Yvonne, I’m so glad you wrote this. And please, don’t take it down.
    You’re not alone in feeling this way. So many of us do. I do. and I am so glad you wrote this.
    Billboards are not real life. What people say about billboards out in public, where other people might overhear them, is not real life. It’s what they feel they should say, it’s what they say to prop themselves up and make themselves feel better, or what they say to hide the fact that they, too, feel like you and I. It’s a self-perpetuating lie.
    This, what you wrote here, is real life. And if more of us said it more often, openly, honestly, maybe we would realise that we are not alone, not isolated and… at the end of the day… that these are our real bodies and they’re not so bad after all.

  18. girl

    I heard people talking about how ugly those bodies looked and how they were repulsed by what they had seen, and how those women had NO business taking pictures in their underwear because no one wanted to see all of that..
    first of all, who the hell said that so I can go kick their ass?
    second of all, the picture up there? dang, mama. seriously. YOU are HOT. I don’t lie about these things.

  19. Melissa

    1. You say what ever you want. It’s your Blog & that’s why we all love you!
    2. Is this going topless thing, in the purpose to loose, a new trend? 1st I see my fav bear do it, now one of my fav momma’s. Well, if it is, I refuse to do it, even though I need to loose too! I’d scare everyone off! My fav bear’s a guy, so he can get away wih it. You are beautiful, so you can get away with it. But NOT ME! :)
    3. I loved those adds Too! I think they were beautiful. The people who said otherwise, was probably other women being cruel or young people who don’t know what beauty is yet, or not very smart guys, who wouldn’t know beauty if it kicked them in the butt! A real man will see those adds as beauty. Ask your hubby. Ask the bear. Ask any normal man.

  20. Randi

    Remember, there are always people worse off in the body department than you. Have you seen the specials on TLC?

  21. Meg

    I feel the same way about my body. Only? I have no kids and all of a sudden my metabolism went all to hell. I feel your pain.

  22. Melody

    I think you will be totally amazed and shocked at how many people you have nodding in agreement at that post. There is almost nothing I wouldn’t give to get back my little tight body and perky breasts in that cute black bikini. I hate working out everyday, depriving myself of the foods I love so that I can someday get close to that again. It will never happen. And I hate that it has to be such an uphill battle just to not hate myself in the mirror. Getting older sucks!!

  23. E :)

    That photo of you is stunningly beautiful. The post is amazing.
    You have no idea how beautiful you look in photos with your family as well. You are radiant and look so joyful.
    I don’t think that anyone will ever fully accept their body. But what you can do is listen to your children and your husband who love you so much and trust those who really care and have an objective viewpoint.
    And I’m so glad aerobic dancing rated a mention again!

  24. Fiona

    your husband knows you Y….listen to him….and you ARE beautiful…but sometimes being told one is beautiful is the hardest compliment to take…i find *S*
    and apart from being beautiful you are warm, compassionate, funny, loving and dang woman don’t you ever stop writing, you bring so much into so many people’s lives…including two women here in Hong Kong of all places – my friend Anuja loves reading you too….waves to Anuja *L*
    hugs….you are an inspiration to so many of us who wonder if we can do it…knowing you have…and who honour and adore the woman you are Y…even, and especially, in those moments when you are down and share it with us
    xoxoxo

  25. ~Kelly~

    You know, I’ve been reading you for quiet awhile now and I totally admire the heart felt honesty that you share in your posts. I very much identify with what you are saying here and as others have said, you are not alone.
    I do commend you for the weight you have lost and do think that you look wonderful :c)

  26. chris

    (((hugs))) I adore you.
    you are so beautiful. and honest. and brave as hell for all that you write here.
    is there anyone who likes how they look? anyone?

  27. Lily

    Yvonne, you are so cool. And you do look great! And aerobic dancing does need to make a comeback in these pages! Today I heard a famous author speak at a lunch I went to, and she — and the women in the audience — were all obsessing over body image issues. It IS so common. And it’s just a sign of our total emptiness as a society. The pendulum is gonna swing back on that, it HAS to. Either that or in the future there’s only gonna be a single body type for women — oops, Barbie! It already exists and it’s totally fake. You want your adorable baby girl to grow up as healthy as possible on that topic, so there’s some more motivation to focus on the positive. I do think that the people who were mocking those ads were just being cruel. People say things in a group to look cool whereas they may feel differently in private. What matters is not so much what they say, but what you know and believe to be true. And I can tell you’re seriously working on that. You are a joy, and you’re looking hotter by the moment. So you are a true inspiration, AND funny and real. You’re the best…

  28. Kay

    Y I have felt like that recently myself. I am having the weight loss and the not so pretty results of that excess skin, stretch marks etc.. and beating myself up for not doing it sooner when I was younger so maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.
    I am convinced that I will never be 100% satisfied, hell I would be happy for 50% anymore. When I didn’t have the excess weight, skin etc.. I would worry about my nose, or my hair or something else I couldn’t fix so for me it is an ongoing marathon of self depreciation.
    I think you look wonderful, I know you probably don’t believe us but you do and your character and personality and honesty intensify that.

  29. Kay

    PS You gotta love that ad that is showing over there on the right for this entry…
    Save on over 1500 Titles!
    PLAYBOY,MAXIM,HUSTLER,ESPN,STUFF GET TEHM ALL HERE!
    See your pic is right up there with the big guys! LOL

  30. JWO

    I had that same thing happen with the Dove campaign…I thought, excellent, and then overheard something along the lines of, “go ahead and settle for looking like that, your boyfriend already has.” Just made me feel stupid for thinking it was okay to be okay with looking that way. But hey honey, your picture looks great. Tony is taller than you, thats what he always sees, I wish we all got shots from that angle, you gotta know how great you look!
    I for one, shall try the positivity notebook, I just am wary that stuff like that will make me okay with parts of me I shouldn’t be okay with (sounds stupid). I know y’all know what I mean, I don’t want to lose the dissatisfaction with my bod, b/c that is sometimes the only reason I order the salmon and veggies instead of the tasty…whatever it is that day. Y, I think as long as we can be excited about what we can do to fix what we have control over..that’s what can be positive motivation. like the whole shrinking woman flikr section..
    My longest comment ever and I apologize….much love from South Louisiana, kisses and crawfish pinches to G-units cheeks!!

  31. Vee

    I would give anything to have your boobs! Tres sexy!
    I guess we all wish for anything other than what we have. At least you are trying to do something about it. I’d give anything to get rid of the stretch marks on my stomach and the 15 extra pounds. I’m not even trying at this point.
    I wish we could all start to love ourselves.

  32. Daren

    I’ve been reading your site for quite some time now and I love it. I love the honesty I can see in your posts. I love that you are open enough to post what you really think about the way things are – whatever the topic may be.
    I think you are beautiful, inside AND out. Of course, we never see in ourselves what others see in us. Which is really dumb of us, but…
    Try listening to Tony when he tells you that you’re beautiful. He’s right. Try to accept that you’ll never look the way you did before you had those three precious children.
    But, no matter what, always remember that you are beautiful.
    My husband agrees with me. Direct quote: “Totally hot!”
    Keep up the GREAT WORK!

  33. Lisa O

    Again – you took the words right out of my head . . well except that I have two beautiful children vs. three
    Thanks for being so honest and real – no anger from me – just appreciation

  34. michaela

    you ARE beautiful.
    i have this conversation with myself everyday. my husband goes on and on about how gorgeous i am and why can’t i see that already? but i can’t. it used to be so much better. but it also used to be so much worse.
    you inspire and amaze me with your courage to post photos and talk so honestly.
    thank you.

  35. Ryann

    I don’t usually comment on blogs, but it pains me that a woman as beautiful as you feels so terrible about herself. I am a skinny eighteen-year-old, which I realize makes me The Enemy here, but seriously, what I wouldn’t give to have some real curves. I know how hard it is for us to see how beautiful we are sometimes, but if you can’t recognize it in yourself, recognize it in someone else. Her name is Crystal Renn. She’s a supermodel who weighs 160 pounds. Isn’t it funny how the most beautiful thing about this picture is the rolls on her stomach? They make her look so soft and feminine, like a Greek goddess. Believe it or not, that’s what I see when I look at you. Not a overweight woman – a goddess. The most beautiful women I’ve ever known had some extra fat, and they wore that fat like it was a million-dollar designer gown.

  36. Kelly

    Um yeah, YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SHOULD BE GETTING PAID FOR YOUR AMAZING WRITING!!!!!!
    WOW.
    You are BEAUTIFUL Y!!!!!!!!!
    You are talented Y!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You are REAL Y!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You are respected Y!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You have an amazing family Y!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You are beautiful and I just love YOU.

  37. belenen

    I randomed my way here looking for stuff on Crystal Renn, and I just had to comment. You are beautiful. Ever bit of you, clothed or unclothed.
    You make a very good point that what you see affects how you feel about yourself. I want to ask you to please come to http://curvygirls.livejournal.com and join. Our main event is photos of natural, healthy curvy women, unairbrushed and often unclothed. It makes such a difference to realize that how you look is not only normal and healthy but beautiful, and really the only way to see that is to look at others — we judge ourselves too harshly (though I think naked time helps a lot with self-acceptance).
    I admire your honesty and openness, and hope you give the community a chance to open your eyes to your own beauty.

  38. Joy

    Hey Y,
    I know you wrote this back in May, but I am so glad you didn’t delete it! It made me cry. This is so how I feel.
    I looked at your pics… your weightloss pics! I am so proud of you! You look good! I am trying so hard right now, but my body is so totally rebelling. I lost 7 lbs in 3 weeks and then the 4th week, it all went to hell! It ended last night with a fried chocolate pie with rocky road ice cream!
    I woke up this morning, determined to pick myself up out of my chocolate induced hang over and begin again!
    Please, share how you’ve done it… or point me to some of your posts that tell how you’ve done it!!
    PS: I loved your dirty dancing video!! Wooo hooo, baby!

  39. tjs

    Just discovered your blog, and this wonderful post. You may be interested in the “Shape of a Mother” Web site. Discovering that site and its philosophy has helped me come to appreciate even more the variety of shapes women come in, and to appreciate what giving birth to children does to our physical selves.
    http://shapeofamother.blogspot.com/

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