"Mom, I know you just want me to find love and for the world to see me as my best self, but being super skinny and having perfect skin is not the only way to do that. You raised me a feminist and to love my body, so when you compliment me for losing weight after having a stomach virus or buy me more cover-up for Christmas I feel confused and sad. You're proud of my brain too, so let's focus on that."
"When you compare our bodies because 'you know what it's like' it makes me feel like I have to have the same relationship with my body and food as you do, which is an unhealthy one. I wish you would, instead, be supportive of me trying to move towards a healthy one, without feeling like I'm abandoning you."
"I know you worry about my happiness since I'm not the thinnest girl in the world. But I promise, I'm OK. I'm OK with the curves. I'm OK with the rolls. I don't get to share clothes with all my friends, but I don't cry about it anymore. Now I have someone who loves me and my body, so you don't have to worry about me being alone. I'm happy with my body, I promise."
"My mother often tells my nieces, who are 2 and 5, that they are beautiful. And they are, and they should hear it! But I'd also like them to hear, more often, that they are smart, creative, brave, and strong. The way we talk to children tells them what we value, what they should be proud of, and how they should want to be seen by the world. I don't hear people telling little boys they are handsome all the time."
"Thank you for always telling me I'm beautiful inside and out, and thank you for never making me feel like I wasn't good enough. You've always made me feel like I'm good enough. I wish you showed you and your body the same kindness, love, and generosity that you've always encouraged me to show mine."
"Thank you, Mum, for never making 'body image' a thing in our household. It wasn't until I was 19 and left our warm, loving, safe home that I realized people worried about the food they ate, how they looked in clothes, or compared themselves to celebrities and the models in magazines. We were healthy and happy, and thanks to you, they were the only boxes we had to tick. Nothing else was worth the discussion."
"I remember growing up that you'd say you were sad that my nose got bigger because it looked more like yours. You'd also point out your own 'flaws' and comment a lot about my fluctuating weight. I just wish you'd know that we're both gorgeous and I'm sorry that the culture you grew up in made you feel lesser than."
"I wish I could tell my mom that when she says her knees are fat, I look at my own knees. I wish I could tell her that every time she refuses to accept a compliment or denies that, in fact, she is a strong and beautiful woman, it hurts my feelings too. I wish I could tell her that I know what she's getting at when she asks me about yoga mats or mails me sports bras, and that it doesn't accomplish anything other than make me more upset and hurt. I wish I could tell her and have her believe that you don't have to be skinny to be beautiful."
"I wish my mom wasn't so hard on herself. She would constantly nitpick her weight around me when I was a kid, or wax nostalgic about her body on her wedding day (she was a size zero then) and it really upset me because I think we look almost exactly alike. When my mom critiqued herself, she was in passing, critiquing me. I wish she'd loved herself and all her flaws the way I love her."