Those of you who have been reading for a while know that issues of body and mind are very close to my heart. Growing up as an overweight child, then turning into a teenager with an eating disorder was very taxing on my self-esteem and body image. Jogger's Life gives me an opportunity to vent about my everyday life, and share my training and love for lifestyle balance. As much as I would sometimes love to, I try not to use Jogger's Life as a vehicle to discuss eating disorders, body image, self-esteem, and the general issues that people have with these things.
That's just not what Jogger's Life was ever intended to be.
However, I do have an inexplicable passion to bring to light the issues that people have with these things. All too often, things are swept under the rug because they are uncomfortable or difficult to deal with. Body image ideals, self-esteem, weight, eating disorders, self-loathing...these are all things that people aren't comfortable talking about during the course of a normal day. They're just too "heavy" for everyday conversation. Most of us are left to just internalize these things.
I wanted to give others the opportunity to freely and anonymously face these issues personally, with no risk of backlash or feelings of shame or guilt. To accomplish this, I decided to launch a new website:
The premise is simple. I've set up the website to act as an anonymous, safe, guilt, and shame-free way to write a letter to your body. The positive or negative--anything that you want to write. After you write your letter, just anonymously mail it to the Post Office Box that I've set up specifically for the website. Letters can also be submitted through the "write yours" tab on the website as well. Upon receipt, it will be posted on the website. This gives participants the opportunity to honestly vent with no risk of any repercussions, and it gives readers the ability to identify with your feelings and know that they are not alone.
I have seen some bloggers write letters to their bodies and then post the letter on their own sites, but I felt that it would be very beneficial for a larger audience to see these letters. In addition, writing a letter of this sort is much less intimidating if nobody knows who you are.
People (women especially) are so critical of their own bodies and we're so hard on ourselves. We are constantly comparing ourselves to others, and I think it will be cathartic not only for those who are writing the letters, but also for the readers to see and identify with the letters. I think we'll find that we all have some degree of the same feelings toward our bodies!
Initially, I was going to remain anonymous on the site as well, but it didn't feel like the right thing to do. I'm sure that people would wonder who was maintaining the site, and why it was set it up in the first place. I can't say that I would send my own letter without knowing that it was going to be well taken care of by someone who was dedicated to the site. I am also in the hopes that by not being anonymous, those of you who already know me will reach out and contribute to the site; the site can only be as strong as the letters that are posted on it.
If anyone has questions or feedback about the site (positive OR negative), please let me know.
If you'd like to send your own anonymous letter to be posted on the Letters To My Body website, you can email it to letters at letterstomybody dot com, click here for the "write yours" form, or mail it to:
Letters To My Body P.O. Box 1651 Laurel, MD 20725
I hope you will add the feed to your reader, and also participate in this project, as is very near and dear to my heart. It is very important to me, and I think that it has the potential to help others--which is all that I really want.
Update 9/28/09: The site officially launched on September 20th, 2009, and I have already "met" so many amazing people through the website, Twitter, and Facebook. The fact that people have been so receptive to the site as well as the concept itself has been very heartwarming. I hope that everyone continues to submit their letters so that together we can all raise awareness about the issues that we face concerning body image, self-esteem, and eating disorders.