An Open Letter to My "Summer Bod"

To the hard earned, perfectly toned abs,

To the tiny waist obsessively measured at the end of each day,

To the thigh gap practically starved to get,

To the “bikini body” strived for,

I don’t need you. I don’t need the days spent counting calories until my head hurt. I don’t need the hot summer days supposed to be spent with friends and family, but instead were spent obsessively burning off every calorie past 900. I thought I was being healthy. I felt as if my body would reward me with skinniness for every calorie I burned off, so I burned off them all. But how could eating nothing but a granola bar for breakfast and skipping either lunch or dinner every day ever be healthy?

 

I had it in my head that this ideal body type existed, and that once I achieved it, happiness would follow. But this wasn’t the case, and it was so far from reality. Happiness doesn’t stem from body image, or else we would all be such selfish beings. Happiness comes from inside, and as cliche as that sounds, it rings absolutely true. So when does this “summer body” culture we live in become destructive? When you believe that looking good in a bikini for the pictures you take that day are more fulfilling than the memories made at the beach with your friends in between the documentations.

 

In one summer I learned that body positivity and self love do not come from trying to achieve the perfect body, and instead come from loving and accepting the one you already have. And I have learned that it is so much more fulfilling to focus on personal qualities than it is to obsess over physical attributes.

So to the belly that rolls over a little bit anytime I sit down,

To the waist that I no longer feel the need to measure,

To my thighs that stick together when I stand up,

To my body that is a “bikini body” simply because I put a bikini on,

 

I love you because you remind me that I am so refreshingly human and so incredibly alive. I love you because you have taught me that being healthy isn’t the equivalent of living up to these ridiculous beauty standards that industries create for you every single season, but especially right now before summer. To my “Summer Bod,” I already have you, just as you are.