In Defense Of Our Bodies

Darling student, who found a great deal of amusement in finding fat on my arms and thighs, and even more amusement in bringing it to my attention:

You, sweetheart, are only nine years old. Your body is still indiscernible from that of your male classmates. In a few years, you’ll start to develop curves, and perhaps you’ll understand why I’m neither shocked nor dismayed by the fat on my body.

You see pokey thighs; I see strong and toned legs that enable me to run 5 miles, climb trees, scramble up rock walls, and strut around in heels when the night calls for it.

You see jiggle on my arms; I see athletic limbs that let me throw a perfect spiral, get me across the monkey bars in ten seconds flat, wrap friends in hugs, and hold on for dear life.

To quote Lucille Clifton: “I have known [these hips] to put a spell on a man and spin him like a top.”

What you see, dear girl, is a woman’s body. One that I am completely in love with, not because it’s perfect – and it’s far from it – but because it’s mine.

It’s been through a lot with me, and it’s going to be there for the rest of my life. I stand behind it 100 percent, and will defend it with a deep loyalty.

Your comments held the potential to devastate me. A year ago, they’d have ensured a three day fast and an elliptical marathon. However, my mentality has changed completely, but I’m concerned that unless your own attitudes towards fat change drastically in the next few years, you’ll find yourself in a similar cycle of self loathing.

Promise me that you’ll entertain the notion that women’s bodies are not meant to mirror the physique of an elementary school boy. Promise me that you’ll be less critical of your own body that you were of mine; it breaks my heart to think that in a few years, you could be standing in front of a mirror, conducting fat checks, searching your entire body for soft spots. I’ve been there. It produces nothing but misery.

I tell you daily that the world has so much for you to see; what you see may not be the issue, but rather, how you see it.

Having a critical mind should not mean having a critical spirit; this applies doubly to your own body. View it with love and treat it with kindness. It’s not something to be manhandled and manipulated – it’s something to be nurtured and appreciated.

I’m not foolish enough to deny that much of what I tell you goes in one ear and out the other, but if there is one thing I can pass on to you, it’s that once you cannot have a happy and fulfilling life if you spend all your time focusing on flaws. You cannot enjoy all there is to enjoy if you’re nursing hangups and fostering negativity.

You deserve so much more than what you’re setting yourself up for.

Every woman deserves so much more.


Miss Faith.


22 Comments on “In Defense Of Our Bodies”

  1. Wow, Faith, this post has left me speachless. Beautiful, just beautiful.

  2. Lindsay says:

    Love this. We deserve to have the ability to love our bodies for all they allow us to do. I used to loathe my body and notice all its imperfections, but I have grown proud of my “thunder thighs” because they have taken me to the tops of mountains. They have taken me on runs of 13 miles. They are muscular and strong, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I respect my body, and I sincerely hope that all women one day will be able to appreciate their beautifully unique bodies.

  3. this is beautiful. many young girls don’t understand that their body is changing into something beautiful!

    we have to be proud of what we have and know that these bodies are our instruments to do fabulous things with our lives…and not much more than that!

  4. Kittie says:

    Wow…I wish I could have said that to childhood me…and every girl for that matter.

  5. This is absolutely beautiful, and exactly what every girl needs to hear … what I need to hear. This should be published in a book, or on a bookmark, or somewhere where it can reach more people 🙂

  6. This is amazing. You are amazing.
    I am finally to the mentality where I feel the same way and it is a beautiful revelation!

  7. Sarah says:

    Love the part about the critical mind. Thank you for reminding me!

  8. NySoonerGirl says:

    I can’t believe she’s already been taught to think this way. This just shows we have to be constantly mindful of what we say in front of children. I would never want to pass along the my body insecurities to my child or any other child.

  9. spoonfulofsugarfree says:

    I don’t know what to say. This is beautiful, gorgeous, amazing, thought-provoking, and it leaves me speechless. Thank you! It is exactly what I needed to hear this morning.

  10. I loved this letter- especially the fact that you weren’t bothered by her comments. It’s sad that kids are already criticizing other people because it sort of teaches them to not love themselves. (Pointing out other’s flaws to feel better about themselves). This was beautiful 🙂

  11. Loved this. Absolutely loved this. It was beautifully written and so well worded. In fact, I have nothing more to say other than I loved it. 🙂

  12. LOVE THIS!!! And love the Lucille Clifton quote; she’s definitely one of my favorite poets. 🙂

  13. kaztronomic says:

    Thank you so much for posting this; it’s beautiful! I got curvy at an early age and it developed into years of self-loathing for my body having the audacity to be womanly. I wish I had this wisdom when I tried to starve myself into waif-dom for all that time. Thank you! ❤

  14. Faith says:

    What a powerful post! I think this should be read to every adolescent (and even adult!) female!

  15. greensandjeans says:

    You’re amazing! You are a strong and wonderful woman Faith!

  16. This is such a great post! I don’t know what else to say…. just, great! 🙂

  17. Megan says:

    Amazing! You’re right, we all deserve so much more. I am loving that Lucille Clifton quote.
    Oh and for the Starbucks thing, I have only seen it around here but definitely ask at yours! $2 large iced coffees are quite nice =D

  18. Jenn says:

    This. is. WONDERFUL. I’m not sure what else to say except thank you.

  19. Neenie says:

    Great post! thanks for sharing! very touching! x

  20. Krista says:

    What a wonderful post, Faith!!

  21. This is so beautiful. I am kind of speechless 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing something so honest and inspiring… you really are a fabulous role model!

    ❤ Tat

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