Amber Krzys: I Was In An Abusive Relationship With My Body

Amber Krzys
twitter: @bodyheart
Ideal vs. Real – My Fight for the Perfect Body
by Amber Krzys (age 35)

We as a culture are familiar with setting goals. We hear all the time, “Dream big.”  “Create your reality.” Which I agree with. I find value in setting goals, intentions and getting clear on what I want in my life. But what about when it comes to our bodies? I can’t help but wonder if we’re holding so strongly to an ideal that we can’t see what’s right in front of our face?

Sometime as a young girl, I created an ideal image of what I was supposed to look like.  I call this image THE perfect body. And that is exactly what she is…Perfect. 

She is taller than me. Thinner. Has bigger boobs. She doesn’t have any cellulite or unwanted body hair. She’s confident. Loves to shop and can eat anything she wants whenever she wants it.  Those are just a few of her magical traits. 😉

She was quite different from me. For over thirty years “Perfect Body” was my model of beauty. I believed that in order for me to have value, or in order for my body to have value, I had to be her. And I fought like crazy for that. I fasted. I over-exercised. I followed every diet plan out there. I thought continuously about how to lose weight. I was overly critical, unappreciative and unhappy. 

Truth be told, I was in an abusive relationship with my body. I punished her for years. By punishing her, I was ultimately punishing myself.  I walked around not wanting to be seen. I hid in my clothes. Or I forced myself to wear clothes that didn’t fit properly because they were a size 6 and I couldn’t go above THAT size!  

From the outside I looked happy. I always had a smile on my face “out there”. But on the inside I was completely insecure and miserable.  Miserable because I had created an Ideal. A made-up image that I clung to so desperately that it prevented me from seeing the gift in front of my face.  That gift being my REAL body.

When I first started to examine this concept of getting to know my actual body, I had an epiphany. I realized…I am NEVER going to be taller, have bigger boobs, no cellulite or unwanted body hair. Those aren’t possible for me. By believing they were, I was an active participant in the vicious cycle of punishment. 

In that moment, with that awareness, something happened. A shift. I was more free. I felt like I got to see my real body for the first time ever. And boy, was she happy to see me! 

It was like I finally pulled that ratty, smelly, old book off the shelf and opened it up to discover the most miraculous, magical story!  By “opening her up”, I discovered such beauty and joy. I started to see my body as the gift she is. I found gratitude for the way she hears and responds to music. For the way she loves to dance. For the simple pleasures she provides me of sight, touch, taste, smell. Suddenly there was so much to see. So much I was WILLING to see. My lesson was letting go of the Ideal to embrace what was/is Real. 

By holding so tightly to that Ideal, I limited the unlimited. I didn’t allow for surprises or for something better. Which, by the way, is what I have found. Something better. This body I have is exquisite. I now walk through life with confidence, fully knowing exactly what my body needs to thrive…not just survive. She is my friend.  Not my enemy. I have opened to a place of pure compassion for her.  

Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t slip up every now and then. I am human and sometimes my old boyfriends Ben & Jerry still get the best of me.  But I don’t beat myself up anymore.  I reconnect and recommit to taking care of her.  Which is ultimately taking care of me.

So…if you find flaw in every little thing and, in a way, enjoy picking things apart, I’ve got news for you. You may be suffering from “Ideal vs. Real” too.  Something to consider: What if perfect looks different than how we’ve imagined? Are you willing to hold onto your dreams loosely and allow for something even better to come into your life?

Might be a fun exercise to say YES! “Yes” to who you are.  “Yes” to all the wonderful things your body offers you. And “Yes” to seeing perfection in your imperfection.

Submit your story here:

Copyright Ark Stories 2011


19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sue Ann Gleason
    Aug 19, 2011 @ 01:05:21

    Beautiful post, Amber. Isn’t it a beautiful place to be? And yes, you ARE a walking, dancing miracle. Why not embrace it? 😉


  2. Body Heart
    Aug 19, 2011 @ 01:15:12

    Thank you so much Sue. I’m so glad you could relate to the material. Why not embrace it indeed?! 🙂


  3. Nichole Kellerman
    Aug 19, 2011 @ 01:52:21

    Thanks so much for sharing Amber, I love this line ”Yes” to all the wonderful things your body offers you. And “Yes” to seeing perfection in your imperfection.



  4. Jennah Ferrer-Foronda
    Aug 19, 2011 @ 02:04:57

    Your title alone, makes the heart do a crazy backflip: one tends to think of abuse as an ‘outsider’ inflicting cruelty upon us & that we are too kind to ever be abusive to another. Man, the number we do to ourselves without realizing is insanity. That said, your metaphor of the ratty neglected book one day serendipitously coming off the shelf & “opening her up” to a “miraculous, magical story” is beautiful. As a reader I can totally feel you dancing/giving gratitude to music, via words on a screen because saying YES! to yourself obviously comes from a deep place of conviction. Thank you for the awesome inspiration & encouragement, Amber!


    • Body Heart
      Aug 19, 2011 @ 02:13:08

      Jennah! Such a pleasure taking in your experience. Thank you sooooo much. I’m thrilled you found inspiration here. Yes, the abuse we inflict upon ourselves would never be tolerated out in the world from someone else. I say YES to ending the torture and celebrating exactly what you got! xo


  5. Body Heart
    Aug 19, 2011 @ 02:05:22

    YES! Nichole! So awesome. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm and support. Rock on. 🙂


  6. Kathleen Prophet
    Aug 19, 2011 @ 03:14:51

    Amber… I weep at how many young beautiful women suffer form this ideal vs. their own body. Its a rampant disease! I want to personally thank YOU so much! for fashoining your heart business around this issue! YAY!!! The curse MUST be broken!

    I will never forget walking into my teenage niece’s bedroom and seeing Kate Moss on her walls… along with other models. My niece was voluptuous! healthy glow and gorgeous full radiant luscious body!! She HATEd herself. I wept. I told her over and over again her body was beautiful… that THAT (Kate Moss) was something alien to alllllll women! or most. She said she understood. The picture didn’t come down though… and a short time later she got strung out on meth and lost a lot of weight. Tragic.

    thankfully she came out of it and fully embraces her body now!

    Thank you again, Amber! LOVE!!!


    • Body Heart
      Aug 19, 2011 @ 04:53:28


      Thank you for sharing your very touching story. I’m so happy to hear your niece is much better. Negative body image is like a disease and it just eats at us on the inside. I really applaud your desire to help your niece and be a demonstration of how powerful and beautiful you already are.

      Thank you for commenting and resonating with this work. Girl, you are awesome!


    • Lark
      Aug 28, 2011 @ 20:23:19

      This site is like a classroom, expcet I don’t hate it. lol


  7. Melanie Merkosky (@MelanieMerkosky)
    Aug 19, 2011 @ 03:35:36

    Beautiful. Amber, thank you so much for being a beacon of hope for every woman and young girl put there who has ever looked in the mirror and berated herself. YOU are magical and what you are doing is a gift.


  8. Alara Castell
    Aug 19, 2011 @ 04:18:30

    Amber…Love it! I can remember the times when I was younger that I would often compare myself and thought as you that there was this perfect body. It didn’t help that my mom would say things as well, but I don’t even think she realized how much it affected me.

    This is why it’s so important to me to be able to spread the word that each young girl, teenager, women in this world is enough just as they are. No need to change.

    I appreciate you for stepping out and being a model and sharing your story with others.

    I thank you for writing and spreading and being you.

    Alara K. Castell
    Your Sassy Spiritual Guide


  9. Cynthia Englett
    Aug 19, 2011 @ 07:28:05

    Thank you for sharing your story Amber! I think so many women can relate to doing this to themselves at some point in their lives. I know I have been one of them. It’s so magical what happens when you start to open up and love your body for all the amazing things it allows us to do.

    Thank you for spreading the love.
    Cynthia Englett


    • Body Heart
      Aug 19, 2011 @ 16:38:28

      Cynthia, thank you for commenting. Yes, this concept of Ideal seems to be a universal theme for sure. And, you are exactly right, it’s magical what happens when you start to get to know your body. Thank you for reading & sharing. In gratitude, A.


  10. Claire Maguire
    Aug 19, 2011 @ 17:27:16

    The epiphany of realizing you already have the perfect body is so magical to read. It is heart breaking to read of the way you had an abusive relationship with your body and the scary thing is I understand as been there too. I used to look at my legs and just wish they could be longer and guess what my partner fell for – my legs!!! Go figure, the one part of me that I thought was my worst he thought was fantastic. Which goes to show how pointless it is to waste energy thinking about hating our bodies.
    It hit me even harder after a mastectomy at the age of 37 at my physical peak… boy did I then really learn to love my body. So indeed it is a fun exercise to do to say YES to seeing my imperfection as perfection.
    Thank you.


    • Body Heart
      Aug 19, 2011 @ 18:21:47

      Claire, thank you so much for your very honest, heart-felt sharing. I love that your partner fell for the part of you that you thought was most flawed! It’s amazing how different others see us. I can’t even imagine what you must’ve gone through with your mastectomy at 37. What courage & strength you have. Truly. And, I’m so happy to hear that you turned that experience into a way of deepening into your own self-love. Thank you!


  11. Loralee
    Aug 19, 2011 @ 19:29:33

    Beautiful post Amber. Thank you for sharing your heart here. It opens mine, and reminds me to be more gentle with my body today. Thank you.


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