A Letter To My Former Self

39 comments

rollerblading

Angela: Grade 1. Living in Florida. Enjoyed neon colours, rollerblading, and fighting over the new NINTENDO gaming console with her sister Kristi.

Dear Angela (Grade 1),

This picture brings me great joy because it captures so much beauty in a single photograph. I am truly glowing in this picture, and no, that isn’t just from the glare of the neon pink! ;) I look happy and alive, proud and energetic.

I was so proud of this neon pink polkadot outfit. I remember how awesome I felt wearing it and I wanted to wear it every single day (my poor mom!). When I put it on I felt happy and you can be sure that I wasn’t analyzing whether the skirt made my butt look big or whether the puffed sleeves on the arms gave me a few extra inches.

Getting dressed for the day was FUN and never upsetting.

I knew nothing about calories, fat grams, scales, or diets. And you can be sure that I wasn’t thinking about my weight in this picture.

Exercise wasn’t even a word to me. It was actually ‘play time’. Movement was fun. Rollerblading, biking, swimming, walking, running were all fun to me. I was outside as often as my mom would let me!

When I did get dragged inside to eat lunch, I enjoyed the food immensely! My mom makes a mean peanut butter and jelly sandwich and I can still almost taste them to this day. I didn’t worry about fat grams, calories, or how much I ‘could’ eat. I just ate until I was satisfied and off I went about my busy and active day.

Dear Angela (Year 2 university, 2004):

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Even though it was Valentine’s Day and you were celebrating your third anniversary with Eric, I can see the pain in your eyes.

I know just by looking at this picture that you are unhappy. You’ve lost your glow. There is something sad in your eyes.

I know you were probably feeling guilty from eating so much Valentine’s chocolate and probably vowed to lose some weight starting Monday.

You often went through ups and downs in your weight because you were always obsessing about numbers.

Food was on your mind an embarrassingly large amount and you hated the weight that you gained since meeting Eric in highschool.

You didn’t think that you were attractive anymore (even though he told you over and over that you were).

You felt unworthy as you were.

I wish that you could have seen how truly beautiful you were. It is no wonder you felt that way though, with your eating going from one extreme to the next, how could you ever feel comfortable or at ease with yourself?

It just about drove Eric away. Well, actually it did because we ended up breaking up 3 months later, only to get back together in September of the same year.

It is very hard on one’s partner when you don’t love yourself. No love that they give you will ever ever be enough. And even though I loved Eric with absolutely every ounce in me, I didn’t have much love for myself. I was constantly jealous, insecure, and needy.

That summer, I lost the love of my life because I couldn’t love myself.

I never thought to myself, “Maybe I need to start being nicer to myself.”

Actually, the break up was more of a reason to BLAME myself even more. Just what I needed, more blame.

I was fighting a daily battle I thought I would never win…

Angela_Signature

Today’s question: What would your letter to your former self say? What is the best advice you would give your former self?

See you this afternoon for:

  • Part 2: MY letter to my CURRENT self
  • Baking goodies for the Market!
  • Race talk

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram (@ohsheglows + @theglowspot), Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Google+

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Recipes for Creativity June 19, 2009

Ahhh! This hits SO close to home, Angela! Especially the part about driving away (or driving crazy!) a loved one with all the “fat talk” stuff. Our men love us for who we are; if they are kind and reassuring, we should believe them and internalize it, not continue to push harder back on the idea that we are not worthy. (Side note: If a man doesn’t treat you well and calls you mean things, he’s not worth it, get rid of him!)

I wish we all just got this message in our heads, you know? Great stuff!

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2 elliebelle June 19, 2009

I would tell my first grade self to keep up the confidence, to not be self conscious of my body or my thoughts! I wish I could have been outspoken throughout all of school the way I was in elementary school. I think that same advice probably holds true today for a lot of us gals.

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3 Whitney June 19, 2009

This is such an inspiring post! If we want to know how to truly be happy, we only need to look back to our childhood. I just did what felt right and never gave a thought to weight or exercise and I was HAPPY!

Thanks for reminding me…

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4 Jenny June 19, 2009

I would tell my former (and current) self to STOP WORRYING! Just stop it! Focus on loving yourself and cherish those around you. Cherish the precious moments of life.

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5 jenna June 19, 2009

Ange, this post almost made me cry. I think we all have letters to write to ourselves such as this one. Thank you for writing this!

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6 Katherine June 19, 2009

The letter to your college self honestly brought tears to my eyes. My now-husband and I dated all through college, but he broke up with me at the start of our Senior year because I didn’t love myself and it was driving us apart. I didn’t know who I was, or what I wanted from myself or him, and it was deadly to our relationship. Thankfully, it was exactly the wake up call I needed then and I spent 3 months doing some serious soul searching. We got back together after Thanksgiving that year and have been together ever since!

I would need to write a letter to my 2006 self though as a follow up. My letter would be full of forgiveness:

Dear 2007 Katherine,

The smile in the photos from Christmas looks blissful to others, but I know how sad and scared you are. You have been engaged for 7 months to the man of your dreams but you are driving him away with your obsession with calorie counting and exercising. You smile because you are proud of the CONTROL you appear to have, but inside you are full of chaos and negativity. Katherine, you are beautiful no matter what size you are. The only control you should have is on your happiness and on the love you have for yourself. You are beautiful, loving, intelligent and driven. You do deserve to be happy with yourself, your career, your fiance! I forgive you for the abuse you have put your body through and will put your body through in the coming months. I forgive you for the mean things you say to yourself and the promises you make to restrict yourself, all in the name of your weight. I forgive you for pushing others away because you were afraid of losing control over your strict plans. And most of all, I LOVE YOU.

Love,
2009 Katherine

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7 Tammy (Defining Wellness) June 19, 2009

Great post, and a battle I had to overcome, too. Thanks for sharing!

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8 Kimberly Lee June 19, 2009

A few years ago there was a meme going around the blogsphere about what you would say to your self from 2 years prior, 5 years, 10 years, and 15 years. Here is what I wrote, so much of your own letter is echoed in my words:

2 years – Get out now! The man you are dating is not sure that you are enough for him. And he is never going to be sure. His comments that you could stand to “lose 10 lbs and tone up a bit” isn’t helpful advice like he says. It is hurtful and degrading. You shouldn’t have to change for anyone – except yourself.

5 years -Stop hurting yourself. Admit that you have an eating disorder. Maybe you started out with good intentions, just wanting to lose the extra weight you gained in freshman year, but you have gone about it the wrong way. You analyze every bit you eat – and then you throw it all up. That’s not healthy, it’s dangerous. Let your friends help you…it is killing them to watch you slowly kill yourself. Keep it up and you will lose your best friend, and trust me you’ll miss her when she’s gone.

10 years -High is hard. But you won’t be 16 forever. You’ll hit puberty and that boyish body of yours will transform into that of woman. But moreover, you are going to grow strong enough to believe in yourself even if nobody else does.

15 years – Life is simple for you now. Your biggest challenge is learnig how to walk on crutches while you wait for the break in your foot to heal. And when it heals you will go back to running, jumping, and bike riding like before. These are your favorite things to do – along with reading your books. Remember this and keep doing them throughout the years.

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9 Melissa (fitnessnyc) June 19, 2009

wow Angela, thanks for showing us how much growth is possible! You are a constant inspiration and role model, and you inspire me to be brave with my blogging, even when it is scary.

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10 Baylee June 19, 2009

Wow angela…I really, really love this post.

Its amazing how much we can lose sight of ourselves, isn’t it? Thinking we’re never enough, never good enough. Although I am only 19, reading things like this really gets to me.

I have struggled with anorexia since I was 13. It has been a constant battle, and my weight has gone up and down, up and down, and it seems like I can never win. Although I am much better now (and at a much healthier weight) than I was a few years ago, reading this note to yourself makes me realize how much I need to keep fighting to love myself. I have lost several friends, as well as a very important guy in my life (which, I think I have realized, was actually for the better) because of my eating. Its tough to accept compliments or enjoy time with anyone, when all you’re worried about is how fat and ugly you look compared to other people. Life shouldnt be like that. Life should be about living it and enjoying it, and not worrying about what the number on the scale says. Its just a number, it doesnt define me. Lately, Ive tried to stay more so focused on JUST EATING HEALTHY and NUTRITIOUSLY, as opposed to making sure my weight stays balanced. I have my days..somedays they’re awesome, some days they suck, but thats life I guess. And Im ready to accept that!!

Thank you for doing this post!!
\Baylee

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11 leslie June 19, 2009

this is beautiful. sometimes i wish i could go back and talk to myself at earlier stages, but i honestly don’t think i could be who i am now without going through what i did. sometimes you have to learn the hard way, right?

still, i would love to tell myself to just breathe and let myself live. like you, i drove many people away, and i did a lot of damage to myself. i never could’ve imagined that i could eat and exercise and not be in a constant state of scrutiny and hatred with myself. freedom is so sweet – i wish i had gotten here sooner!

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12 Low June 19, 2009

Wow, this really was beautiful although it was really hard for me to read. I think I’m currently pushing away any chance I have of finding a happy relationship. I’ve been so emotionally overloaded over the last few years that I think I’ve turned to health and fitness as something to fulfill my life, when really it should just be something I do to make a wonderful, full life last even longer. I hope I can use your inspiration to be more open to people so that I can find true happiness with myself and with others.

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13 Shelby June 19, 2009

Angela, this is so touching. Thank you for this!

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14 green ink June 19, 2009

Angela, this really hits home for me – what beautiful, thoughtful and heartbreaking words you’ve written here. I teared up when I read: “It is very hard on one’s partner when you don’t love yourself. No love that they give you will ever ever be enough. And even though I loved Eric with absolutely every ounce in me, I didn’t have much love for myself. I was constantly jealous, insecure, and needy. ”

I cannot bear the thought of losing the love of my life because of being unable to love myself. Admittedly I don’t feel like this 24-7 but I have some cycles I need to break. Thank you for a much needed wake up call. xxx

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15 Bec June 19, 2009

what a great post Angela

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16 Chelsea June 19, 2009

I would write a letter to myself in my last years of college, and tell myself to not be so rigid. I missed out on a lot of fun times because I ate so little and didn’t have energy to go out at night… besides, I had to be up before 6am to run. Sure it’s great to have healthy habits, but I wish I’d let myself go out even every other week or so.

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17 Kayzilla June 19, 2009

I love posts like these Angela. They’re very personal, and I feel oddly connected with you.

“It is very hard on one’s partner when you don’t love yourself. No love that they give you will ever ever be enough.”

Reminds me of a Thich Nhat Hanh poem:
“You are me, and I am you.
Isn’t it obvious that we are “inter-are”?
You cultivate the flower in yourself
So that I will be beautiful.
I transform the garbage in myself
So that you will not have to suffer.
I support you
You support me
I am in this world to offer you peace.
You are in this world to bring me joy.”

:)
It is my motivation to cultivate my well-being now so that my friends, my lover, and my family don’t get the bad mental habits I’ve made for myself, and so they also feel loved and appreciated.

I can’t say that I would want to put myself through the troubles I did in my life, and I did miss out a little for a couple of years.. just battling my self-esteem, but I learned so much in the process I don’t think I’d ever want to change what I did. There’s a big garden in me that grew out of the rubble and trash.

And besides that, I was quite headstrong and always felt very doomed. I don’t think I would’ve taken my advice seriously since many different people told me the same advice during that time that I would’ve given to me during that time.

I guess, instead of trying to make myself change, I would give myself a letter of hope to keep myself motivated.. whatever direction I was in.
“A couple of years from now, you’ll still be breathing.. Even if you have moments where you’re ready to go to bed and never wake up. You’ll have two best female friends that are your age, and a boyfriend in the NAVY that’s nothing short of amazing. Your hard work will pay off when it comes to academics, and you’ll learn alot from your body struggles. You’d be better off venturing into the self-help section or your spiritual book section with pride then to shy away from it for years. People think you’re the cheezits, and love you.. even if you gain or lose weight. No matter what, the best attitude you will ever adapt is to create awareness of your feelings and their fleetingness, and never ever give up on something you truely believe in. Also: that one guy you liked since you were 11 will turn out to be a total d-bag. Don’t cry over him. You probably will, but just give him the finger and then forgive him. Move on. Always keep moving on.”

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18 Lindsay June 19, 2009

I really needed this right now..thank you so very very much.

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19 Katrina (gluten free gidget) June 19, 2009

I can totally relate to your letter. When I was first diagnosed with Celiacs, I HATED my body. I was disgustingly thin, afraid of food, and mad that my body was attacking me. My self-loathing almost drove away my now husband, then fiance. It was the worst time in our lives. Thank you for sharing your deepest self with us.

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20 Rachel June 19, 2009

WOW! This post is amazing! Thanks so much for posting. My goal now is to move my thinking from the attitude in the second picture to the one in the first. I’m trying…. it’s a process but I’m getting there. Thanks for being so open, it’s great to hear peoples stories and be able to relate

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21 Courtney June 19, 2009

You are UH-MAZING, this brought me to tears, because although weight wasn’t a huge issue, I have my own skeletons, and I could not love myself, and have ruined many relationships, (I think, they say no) because of that insecurity. The guilt.

I am so happy that you’re with us here in the blogging world, your contributions mean so much to me, and I am so, so, so happy to have stumbled upon your page.

Ahh, my heart is just swelling right now for you, girl.

Thank you …

Haha, I just wanna hug you and say omg, I love you, thank you!

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22 kayla June 19, 2009

Angela,
YOU are AWESOME!! i love this, and I feel like through the blog I know you very well, but this post just proves how much we all struggle without others knowing..I love this post bc I often feel like you are so perfect and have always had everything under control but now I realize that you too have a past. Thank you for this post!

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23 erin June 19, 2009

Angela-
This is such an inspiring post. I am a long-time reader who has never commented before. How often I wish I knew then, (middle school, high school and college) what I know now.
Thank you for being so honest and so brave to share this with us all!

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24 MarathonVal June 19, 2009

Wow, our stories are so similar in so many ways. I too, feel there there have been many times where I almost drove my now-husband away from me because of my body image issues and lack of confidence. I’m so proud of how far you have come!!

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25 Danielle June 19, 2009

You are really been making me tear up (in a good way!) lately!!!

Dear 1994-2002 Danielle,

You are outstanding.

Your laugh lights up the darkest of situations, and your enthusiasm is unmatched. Please dont get hung up on what other people think. If you can break that habit now, you will live the next 15 years unbelievably happier.
Love yourself, and know that you are better than good enough for not only what you encounter, but those goals that seem beyond your imagination. You are beautiful even on your hardest days, and if you can learn to love and care for your body, it will love you back!

Love, Danielle 2009

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26 CJ June 19, 2009

Angela,

Like everyone else, I adore your site and think so much of it is inspiring. And I guess because of where I am currently, sometimes I find the messages are mixed. We should absolutely love ourselves and definitely ditch the scale. But we should also “tone up” and do “Bikini Body Bootcamps.” Of course the focus is on health, and I definitely think we should exercise and be our healthiest selves, but the focus feels to me to be so much on the aesthetic. (When you talk about Eric’s bigger portions for example, and say “Don’t you wish you could eat like a man?” Well, we can eat like men. We just might not LOOK as tiny as we want to. Which is fine to have a preference on how we look, but then we can’t really pretend that everything we do is just to be “healthy” and not driven by a desire to look a certain way.)

I am a little smaller than you were in the University picture, and I exercise regularly and eat well. But when I read this site and see the pictures, I tend to beat myself up for not looking a certain way. For not being “good” enough. Which again is more my issue than yours :).

Now I’m officially rambling. And I need to write a letter to myself. The letter I write to me today will be “Love Yourself For Yourself and Don’t Compare Yourself to Others.” :)

CJ- Well this next BBBC is for YOU :) I think you are going to like it…check it out Monday.

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27 Lynn (The Actors Diet) June 19, 2009

I’ve got virtually the same picture of me in roller skates when I was a kid. Lesson is – we need to bring roller skating rinks back!!!

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28 N.D. June 19, 2009

don’t you wish we could all just keep that young mind? this happens to so many of us, it is so sad!

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29 healthy ashley June 19, 2009

Angela, this post is amazing. It sounds weird, but it’s like you speaking to your former self totally spoke to me. Thanks for posting this.

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30 Jess June 19, 2009

Thank you for posting this, Ange! You are beautiful and it is so inspiring.

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31 Kathy June 19, 2009

Thank you for bringing this all out now. I needed it. I now realize that the numbers on the scale don’t make me who I am. I need to be healthy inside and out to be happy. I am learning to love myself again.

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32 Shannon (The Daily Balance) June 19, 2009

i LOVE this post. you are so inspirational ;)

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33 Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope June 19, 2009

What a beautiful post Angela. I believe you looked beautiful in both pictures, but it’s what you feel inside that truly matters. You are such an inspiring woman, and I know you have more strength than you can ever imagine! :)

xxoo
Heather

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34 Jenn Eats Nutritiously Now June 19, 2009

This was very emotional to read. There are so many things I’d like to say to my former self– I could write a novel.

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35 Carolyn June 19, 2009

Such a beautiful well-written/thought out post Angela. You are gorgeous inside and out in every picture I have seen. In the last month you’ve brought me to tears at least twice a week! Keep being you hon! :)

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36 Peabody June 19, 2009

This is an awesome post. And so sad though really.
I think that is what I love best about sports. It makes me feel like a kid again. I don’t think while I am playing, “I wonder how many calories I am burning?”…I just play to play. Because it is fun. Why can’t everything be like that?

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37 Hangry Pants June 20, 2009

Yeah! I love this post. Not sure if you ever saw mine: http://www.hangrypants.com/2008/11/she-says-letters-to-myself/

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38 Katie June 30, 2009

This is such a great post and the inspiration I needed for today. Thank you!!

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39 Eliana >^..^ November 26, 2009

I have tears in my eyes from this post.

I loved the letter you wrote to yourself.

On the second picture, I didnt even know it was you. I didnt recognize you, I knew it was you because of Eric.

YOu have come SO far.

Love every ounce of yourself because you are BEAUTIFUL!

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