In some ways, it’s harder to hate your body when you’re thin than when you’re overweight.
Besides your own body negative narrative, you invite hate from others who think you are being an indulgent first world bitch.
I have always loved food. The taste of it; the experience of it; preparing it as an act of love. Sharing it with friends; digging into a holiday meal with family.
It’s sensuous and sublime and one of the great experiences in life.
Unfortunately, I was also an emotional eater as far back as childhood. Food was a replacement for love and attention.
I was a super skinny kid, before it was chic to be skinny. I had a big butt and a flat chest and I hated my lopsided, pear-shaped body. I cried shopping for jeans that fit. If they fit around my waist, I couldn’t pull them up over my ass.
No boys ever liked me. In high school I was the smartest girl and I was in love with the smartest boy but he pined for a big-breasted girl with shiny hair and perfect skin.
In my 20’s I replaced a drug addiction with one to exercise. And so began my complex, deprived, unhappy relationship with food, exercise and my body. I worked out constantly and ate a very restricted diet. I was bone thin. My life revolved around the gym, sticking to my regimented way of eating, or bingeing as a reaction to it.
Every meal was a minefield.
A few years ago, I gave up exercise. I ate whatever the hell I wanted and gained a bunch of weight and was simultaneously miserable and ecstatic about it.
Breasts. I finally had them.
I could eat all the cake I wanted. I had much more time to do things I loved.
I looked in the mirror and LIKED what I saw. I only saw the voluptuousness, not the flaws. Breakthrough
Recently, I felt myself getting winded going up the stairs and knew I had to get fit. I didn’t want to drop dead of a heart attack before 50 like half the people in my family.
I’ve also been working two jobs and lost some weight as a result. Ironically, the combination of dropping a few pounds and going back to the gym has started the cycle of body hatred.
I don’t know why getting MORE fit and dropping some weight would make me despise my body to the point of not wanting to look in the mirror.
I just know that I choose growth and evolution of self. I’m so many wonderful things, none of which matter because I look in the mirror to reflect my self worth and if that’s not being trapped in your own personal hell, I don’t know what is.
After I had my son, I was completely demoralized by the way my body looked. The physical perfection I had desperately and ineffectively sought was further away than ever. It wasn’t just that I had gained weight. I had transformed into an amorphous creature with baggy skin. It was terrifying – and I tormented myself to restore it to where it was before.
Almost 14 years later, that never happened. I know some women regain their gorgeous pre-baby bods. I don’t know whether it’s plastic surgery or Photoshop or round the clock private training but whatever it is, it’s irrelevant to me and the permanent kangaroo pouch I carry above my C-section scar.
I have had a volatile relationship with my body my entire life.
I’m closer now to a happy place with food than I’ve ever been. Those non-exercise, eat-everything years reminded me that life is too short to give up warm bread slathered with butter. Although I love the taste of healthy foods – if I was a poet I’d write a sonnet extolling the magnificence of a perfectly ripe peach – I’m in a committed relationship with cake.
And yet, I’m brainwashed by culture programming. If I have the perfect body, then I’ll have the perfect life. When you’re beautiful, people love you. We all want to be the beautiful people who everyone loves.
This is what is done to us. To all of us. It’s insidious and soul deep and reinforced every day, in every part of our lives. I’ve all but stopped reading my favorite writers online because I’m sick of being bombarded by The One Way To Finally Lose that Stubborn Belly Fat.
Just once I’d like to look in the mirror and see my body without cataloguing a litany of flaws.
I’m tired of being in a room full of people where the women all exclaim how beautiful each other is, while men greet each other with talk of work or family.
I don’t know how to change the narrative. I can’t tell you to start loving your bodies when I don’t love mine.
But there has to be a way to fight this, to reject the idea that we’re not beautiful unless someone tells us; unless our bodies are perfect – or even that physical beauty matters so much.
This is the prison women are in. It’s what that keeps us tethered to our own insecurities, too busy obsessing over our bodies to do the real work.
It’s why plastic surgery is a billion dollar industry and we don’t care if we die on the table from elective surgery as long as we die with big tits.
I will never understand the idea that women deserve admiration, above all other accomplishments, simply because of the way they look.
I will tell this story, but I will not own it.
It is not mine. It’s not yours, either. This is because nobody ever told us the worth of our hearts and minds.
Body issues. Will this madness ever stop?
Talk to me. I’m listening.