What if we could not waste one more moment hating our bodies?

Image by Andrea Perrish-Geyer
Image by Andrea Perrish-Geyer

A moving column in CNN last month revealed the thing that the dying often regret the most: all the time they spent hating their own bodies.

Kerry Egan, a hospice chaplain, shared her experiences of talking with the dying. A 75-year-old woman dying of cancer just wants one more piece of caramel cake. But her diet, even in her last days, is being severely restricted.

‘Everyone told me — my family, my school, my church. When I got older, magazines and salesgirls and boyfriends (told me), even if they didn’t say so out loud. The world’s been telling me for 75 years that my body is bad. First for being female, then for being fat and then for being sick.’

She looked up and this time tears trembled along her bottom eyelids.

‘But the one thing I never did understand is, why does everyone else want me to hate my body? What does it matter to them?’

Even in this very article, the ironic click bait that comes in the midst of this statement is a linked line that says, “The link between fat and cancer.” It seems that nothing, not even an article explicitly about how we should appreciate our bodies more, can escape fat-shaming.

But Egan makes the read worth it.

What does it mean that so many voices out there insist that the body is something to despise because it is too fat, sinful, ugly, sexual, old or brown? That we teach each other, in thousands of blatant and quiet ways, to think we are shameful? That our bodies are something to be overcome, beaten into submission or to be despised?

How do these voices telling us that we are supposed to hate our bodies affect our notions of how we care for the sick, disabled, elderly, children, mothers, soldiers, workers, immigrants, men and women? What we believe about our bodies affects how we treat other bodies, and how we treat each other’s bodies is how we treat each other.

How we treat each other’s bodies is how we treat each other. How we treat our own bodies is how we treat ourselves. How can you treat your own body with more gentleness, more forgiveness, more enjoyment, more dancing?

Published by Kamela Dolinova

Expressive arts adventuress: writing, performing, healing, loving.

4 thoughts on “What if we could not waste one more moment hating our bodies?

  1. I wish fervently that I could decide to treat myself better and hate my body less and have that carry enough weight and force to change the landscape of my brain, but the messages don’t keep coming and the fact is, other people do want me to hate my body.

    There are companies with a great deal invested in me hating my body. They put a lot of effort and research into keeping my self-loathing alive. And In general, even though my health is always better when I concentrate on caring for my body and nourishing it and doing things that help it be stronger, I have yet to escape a day without berating myself or being berated by others for my body and its shape.

    It’s not as though I chose to hate it, but unfortunately, it’s also not as though choosing will excise that feeling, either.

    1. It’s so damn hard. Our world is so damn hard on us in this way. Thank you for stepping forward to say this. I don’t know what the answer is, because you’re right: the world does want that, which is part of the point of the article.

      The only thing I know to do is what you struggle to do: care for your own body, and be kind to others’ bodies, too. Maybe if we’re lucky we can infect the world with it.

      1. I’m certainly game to try. As always, being nice to other people is so much easier than changing my internal habits of being awful to myself.

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