I am loved, by my family, by my friends, by my partner, I am loved. And if I cannot love myself, if I close myself off to that love, that's just like telling those people who matter, that their love for me means nothing.
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Dear Body:

I've known you for almost 24 years and we've had some serious ups and downs haven't we?

I'm sorry for all the times I told you that you were ugly and that no one would want me because of you, I'm sorry for starving you those times and I'm sorry for making myself sick those other times. All in the hope of making you smaller.

I apologize for taking two Fat Blaster pills every day before school, and two when I got home.

I apologize for hurting you, the cutting, the burning and the pinching.

It's been a long time coming, but I should have loved you all along. You're what makes me me. One day, you're going to grow us a baby!

You've given me my big hips, my "more-than-a-handful" breasts, my thunder thighs and my tummy. All of which, at one point or another, I hated you for.

Please forgive me, it's hard growing up and everything I said and did to you was out of spite and fear.

It's ingrained in us to hate ourselves unless we look how society wants us to, I'm sure you understand.

When my hips came in, I thought it was the beginning of the end. Small, transparent scars appeared on my skin where it stretched to accommodate my new growth, but now I embrace these big hips of mine (even though they sometimes get me stuck between the seats on the bus...)

When my breasts didn't get bigger, I felt like less of a woman, I was a big girl, big girls are meant to have big boobs! Why didn't I have big boobs?!

Then I learned to accept that all bodies are different and that not all bigger girls have bigger breasts. I've also come to realise that they aren't as small as I make out. They're mine and I love them.

I'm sorry I let other people's opinion of you change how I saw you, and I'm sorry for letting those opinions get to me and upset me.

It's my opinion of you that counts. You're my body, and how I care for you, and what I give you for nourishment, is the business of no one, but myself.

My mother grew and nurtured me for nine long months, as you grew inside, she grew and changed outside, just so that I could be.

I am loved, by my family, by my friends, by my partner, I am loved. And if I cannot love myself, if I close myself off to that love, that's just like telling those people who matter that their love for me means nothing. That is another reason why I have grown to love my body. I surrounded myself with the love of others, and closed my ears to complaints on my size, shape, eating habits etc and only listened to what really mattered, and to who really mattered.

I want to thank you for being so strong.

I want to thank my chubby little legs for all the miles they've walked.

My wide hips because one day they will be "child-bearing."

My scars for reminding me that the past is behind me.

My "more-than-a-handful" breasts because, they are more than a handful.

I want to thank my whole body for making me who I am, for never faltering and staying strong and healthy for these 24 years.

Jessica Lovejoy is a body positive advocate and writer. This post first appeared on her Tumblr: everybodiesbeautifulimage.tumblr.com. Follow Positive Body Image Inspiration on Facebook: www.facebook.com/positivebodyimage89.

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