To my body: I'm sorry I've been taught to judge you so harshly. That stops today.

To my body,

I’m writing today to ask for absolution of the sins I’ve committed against you over the years.

You got me through childhood with nothing more than a chin scar. You got me through college, though I used and abused you assiduously.


I’m sorry for everything I did to you. For all the chemicals I put into you and on you — especially for that purple hair dye in high school and for all those piercings you took no time to reject. I’m sorry for the lack of good food, sleep, and water.

I treated you like the friend who was always going to stand by me no matter how much I neglected her or treated her poorly.

There was a morning a few years ago when I woke up, then "woke up" to the state of what you had become.

I slowly gazed down the mirror and tried to recognize the carcass I was staring at.

How did we get here?

I remember being in deep pain that morning. I regretted all the cookies I binged on instead of going to hot yoga. All the mornings I snoozed instead of eating breakfast. All the excuses I made to justify eating out. What rubbish that morning was. I was a victim of my own misery.

There wasn't anything wrong with you. I had gained weight. That is all. But I felt like I lost control over you and, therefore, my life.

I was taught that how I look is a direct reflection of who I am.

The world around me seems to believe that you are everything. That is one of the greatest challenges I face every day: taking care of you, but living for me. If I’m not careful, you become the focus of ... well, everything.

People will look in my eyes and tell me I should rest, noticing the heavy bags I’ve been carrying around. They will start passing comments on my weight, as if my worth were measured in inches and pounds. They will tell me my clothes are out of fashion. They will notice your imperfections — and yes, you have many. People notice you, people judge you, people compare themselves to you, my physical self, often forgetting about me.

If I take meticulous care of you, they will think I’m happy. But it is bullshit. Sure, it was infinitely easier to shop for clothes while I was 15 pounds lighter. Let’s face it: Clothes are mostly designed for skinny people. Being a size 6 made strangers’ heads turn. It made boys buy me drinks. It brought me a false sense of confidence. It made me a lot of things, but it did not bring me happiness.

"Body acceptance is not about glorifying obesity," as Mary Lambert tweeted. "It’s about loving your body at whatever size you are."

I enjoy taking care of you and pushing your limits of what I think is possible. You never cease to teach me that there's always more to achieve. You push me to hit harder in every single aspect of my life.

I realize now that on that morning as I was staring into the mirror, it wasn't a true reflection of you. I needed to cast blame on something, and I was taught to blame you.

But the truth is I am beautiful. I am powerful. I am in control. I realize that it has nothing to do with you, my physical self. I’m grateful to you, but I am so much more than just my outward appearance.

This story first appeared on the author's Medium page and is reprinted here with permission.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

Those of us raising teenagers now didn't grow up with social media. Heck, the vast majority of us didn't even grow up with the internet. But we know how ubiquitous social media, with all of its psychological pitfalls, has become in our own lives, so it's not a big stretch to imagine the incredible impact it can have on our kids during their most self-conscious phase.

Sharing our lives on social media often means sharing the highlights. That's not bad in and of itself, but when all people are seeing is everyone else's highlight reels, it's easy to fall into unhealthy comparisons. As parents, we need to remind our teens not to do that—but we also need to remind them that other people will do that, which is why kindness, empathy, and inclusiveness are so important.

Writer and mother of three teen daughters, Whitney Fleming, shared a beautiful post on Facebook explaining what we need to teach our teenagers about empathy in the age of social media, and how we ourselves can serve as an example.

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