I suppose we should just get the obvious out of the way first, right?
That might even be an understatement, considering I’ve admired you ever since you won the first season of American Idol in 2002. You’ve shown the world your hardworking spirit through album after album, through concert after concert and even despite weekly critics from some guy named Simon Cowell. You’ve been through a lot, needless to say, but there’s one thing that has towered above all that. It’s resonated with me and millions of others.
“We are who we are — whatever size. It doesn’t mean that we’re gonna be that forever. That’s the thing! Sometimes we’re more fit. Like, especially me. I’m such a creative person that I yo-yo. Sometimes I’m more fit and I get into kickboxing hardcore. And then sometimes I don’t and I’m like, ‘I’d rather have wine.'”
They had some nerve, didn’t they? Thank you for having the poise and the courage to be who you are and for encouraging others to be unapologetic as well. So many young women feel so much pressure these days to say the right thing and project the right look, and sadly, they so easily lose themselves in the process. Thank you for showing them it doesn’t have to be that way and for being a voice for them. They need it.
I won’t pretend that I’ve always loved everything about my body. We didn’t always have the best relationship. I used to hate my freckles and all my surgical scars and even my deformed hands. Sometimes, I even hated looking in the mirror. If I didn’t look, I thought, those supposed imperfections wouldn’t exist.
You also taught us another lesson: Self-love is the most important thing. It doesn’t matter what anyone says, whatever stares or glares people through your direction or whatever those bullies on the playground say. In the end, it’s all just background noise. It doesn’t matter. People can say whatever they want — you know they will. But you know what? Let them! Over the years, I’ve learned that it takes work to cultivate a love for your body and to find that inner self confidence, but it’s there if you’re willing to look hard enough. And that love is something no one can ever take away from you.
But perhaps most importantly, thank you for being a role model for your daughter. Thanks to you, River is going to grow up with a mother who teaches her all about love and the power of self-confidence. Trust me, there’s no greater gift you could ever give her. She — and all of us — will be forever grateful. We’ve all had our own body battles and it’s so refreshing to see someone who has faced theirs head-on and come out on the other side. Thank you for being our idol, Kelly! xoxo