Yesterday I searched through the stack of recently returned long-ago letters written by me to one of my sisters.
It was to check for the location of a camping trip we took when our daughters were young. We’ve been thinking of re-creating this fun time with our grandchildren but cannot recall where we’d pitched our tents—it was a little slice of heaven. Sadly, the years in which this adventure took place were missing from this haphazard collection of memories.
What I did find was a letter expressing how much better my marriage had become after our rocky first year. In the words of my 25-year-old self:
Tom and I have been getting along really well lately. He’s been a great help to me and a real good friend, too. It’s hard for me to believe how close we’ve grown in the last few years, considering how difficult our first year together was. We’ve both grown a lot and learned from each other and feel really good with each other.
To what did I attribute this positive change? Again…in my own words:
I feel a lot of how good Tom feels about me comes from my feeling so much better about myself—since I’ve lost weight and have started working on being healthy and in shape I really feel much better about me as a person, so I allow Tom to feel better about me as a person!
Yup…that’s how I thought at age 25 (a year before giving birth to Andrea). Reading this version of myself from over 30 years ago saddened my heart considerably. I knew I’d bought into the cultural body hatred but having the evidence in writing was … well, just so very sad.
In an Every day feminism blog article by Virgie Tovar she speaks about our need to “lose hate, not weight.” She describes this choice succinctly:
My life began when I stopped trying to lose weight and set my mind to losing hate.
I choose hate loss, not weight loss for everyone who has lost and will lose their lives or health to weight loss surgery.
I choose hate loss, not weight loss in the name of protesting a multi-billion dollar dieting industry that peddles shame in exchange for cash.
I choose hate loss, not weight loss to destabilize a racist, sexist, and fatphobic health system that values certain bodies over others.
I choose hate loss, not weight loss because no act of self-love will ever be a wasted effort.
Because I only get one body, and it’s miraculous, and it’s beautiful, and I will fight for it, not against it.
I choose hate loss, not weight loss for the person I used to be, for the skipped meals and the lost years, and for every little fat brown girl who cries and wishes she was someone else.
Today, I’m with Virgie: I choose hate loss, not weight loss.
[Originally posted on the Gürze Books Eating Disorders Blogs]