It was never just one of you. Not a singular person or action is to blame. It’s like my very own version of ‘13 Reasons Why’.
Except I lost count after 24…
Recording tapes would probably be a decent, therapeutic way to express my emotions, but I’m so much better with writing.
I’ve never been fat – but I’ve always felt this dire need to better myself from the outside – because you somehow, always made me feel like I wasn’t good enough.
You may not understand right away, you may not even realise that you were a part of it. The remarks, the looks, the orders; they were all spokes on a wheel. Each get placed on top of the other and round and round they spin, crushing those on the ground. It’s too late now to try to stop the wheel – it’s time to break the wheel.
My Life’s Body Shamers – This is Your Letter
It’s always been taught that you need a certain level of ‘thick skin’ if you want to survive in this industry we call ‘The Arts’.
It’s the first lesson you learn way before you even take a plie in those new pristine pointe shoes
And I’ve sure grown mine over the years. Rejection has become the expected in more ways than one, real emotion can be buried deep away like a pirate’s treasure and a new beau can take what he wants from me and gallop off into the horizon; just give me a few days to get over it.
But there is only so much a person can take
– To those who told me I could lose weight off my legs if I ‘really tried’
– To those who told me to ‘come back next year’ when I’d lost some weight
– To those who winced at the scales at my first dance college audition
– To those who bitched and moaned that they had to alter my costumes ‘so much’
– To those who gave me judgemental looks when I decided I WILL EAT SOME PIZZA
– To those who embedded in my brain that I wouldn’t work unless I had abs
– To those who told me not to eat carbs after 12pm
– To those who put me to the back because of my height
– To those who turned me away for being a Size 12
– To those who looked me up and down from behind a judging panel
– To those who told me my butt wouldn’t fit into their costumes
– To those who told me to decrease my water intake to look more ‘defined’
– To those who ‘couldn’t believe’ they had to buy a new bra for me and didn’t fit a ‘generic’ 34B
You added to the bloom. You planted, watered and nurtured the seed until it grew into an ever-evolving thorn-ridden black rose.
You made me believe I was not good enough – and that I was never going to be unless I changed myself.
You chipped the surface of me away piece by precious piece until I exposed my damaged core
You helped me blame my own body for not being successful in life
You made me question what I was consuming, believing every mouthful I took contributed to my problem
But you had no problem in letting me take foreign pills, laxatives and processed supplements
And yet you still praised me for the weight loss, regardless of the damage I was doing to my body.
You helped me destroy what should have been the best years of my life
And right now I must apologise
Why should I be apologising?
I’m sorry to the boyfriend who had to deal with my battles every morning and had to constantly convince me every day that I was beautiful just the way I was
I’m sorry to the friends I gave ‘diet advice’ to and pulled them in to my bubble of warped thoughts
I’m sorry to the other performers I may have scowled at when they were able to eat a bar of chocolate without immediately gaining 3 pounds
I’m sorry to my younger sisters, where I should have been a role model to them, but they had to endure watching me suffer every weekend.
I’m sorry to my body. My temple. The one thing that will be carrying me through life. The vessel that no matter what your wealth, surroundings or materials – will always be there.
I’m sorry for destroying you, starving you, surprising you, overloading you and harming you
I’m sorry to my body shamers.
I’m sorry that you have to be a part of this open letter, and a part of the deluded industry we call The Arts. I’m sorry you feel the need to demean and disgrace, because it’s all you know. I’m sorry you’ve become so narrow-minded in this world that all you can see is an exterior.
I could be bitter and I could hold a grudge. I could name and shame or I could take all this as a lesson and move on.
But I’d rather this open letter be a story of forgiveness and awareness for any human out there.
I’d rather you sit and dwell on the things you may have said to me or any of my peers
I could see others deteriorate around me, just from a few words you may have said. You may not have meant them in a malicious way, but your comment may have been just one tiny grain in an already constructed sandcastle.
Who made the rule of having to look a certain way, weigh a certain number, measure a certain width?
When did the brainwashing begin? Why should we have to endure serious mental health issues about our image?
What kind of industry would we have if we were all accepted for who we were?
I’ve been lucky enough to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I’ve emerged out the other side, middle fingers pointed to the sky, taken my own path and created my own movement.
I could have stayed, I could have lost another stone and probably be on another cruise contract by now. I could have gotten a breast reduction and fit into costumes a lot easier. I could have run miles and miles until my bulky leg muscles deteriorated, but why would I make myself run when I hate doing it?
Saying NO is empowering, ignoring the hate is liberating. Try it sometime, I can guarantee you’ll love it
I’ve never looked back, and neither will you
On a positive note, all of this experience has led me to become the strong woman I am today
To My Life’s Body Shamers;
I Thank You