I must confess. I have NEVER liked my body. Not even in high school when I was anything but fat. I have hated the skin I’m in for as long as I can remember caring about it. I never had an eating disorder, although if one could wish oneself into anorexia, I would have as a teenager. I would say things to myself like, “If you really were worth anything, you’d be able to stop eating altogether.”
I never cut myself to gain some measure of control or to block out the pain. I was far from miserable. I tended toward the morose in my late teens, but who doesn’t? Estrogen poisoning is pretty powerful stuff. But the truth of the matter is, high school did not suck for me. I had good friends, both in school and out of it. I had a boyfriend who was good to me. I was confident in myself on the inside and I’ve never really cared what people think about me. I knew who I was and I knew where I was going. So you’d think I wouldn’t have body-image issues, but I always have.
I never liked the way clothes looked on my body. I didn’t like looking at my body in any way. I wanted desperately to be a hippy but the early nineties were heavy into the flannel layers and torn jeans with long-johns underneath. I rode that wave all the way to the end, and it suited my mental state about my body perfectly.
Pregnancy gave me the excuse to gain more weight than is strictly healthy. But it never ‘bounced back’. My body post baby was almost more than I could bear. I know that part of my issue was clinical. It was depression, but that is an awful spirally illness that seems to have no beginning but everything conspires to pull you down further. All of which causes you to check out and not care. Which, then causes you to do things to your body that you wouldn’t do normally which puts you further into depression. See? Spirally.
I got help for that and I’m not unhappy. I have a great husband. We have a great relationship. I have great kids and I get to be home with them every day. I have great friends (I wish they didn’t live so far away and that we spoke more often, alas). I have a great relationship with my parents and brothers. Life isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty stellar.
One thing. I hate my body. I hate it. It makes my life bloody miserable. It is weak and fat and prone to depression and pain. I have no issues with my brain, it’s where the creativity resides. It’s what picks up all that useless trivia and stores it for that Jeopardy win I’ll never have because I have zero desire to be on TV. But my body has betrayed me in so many ways. And because of that, I’d mostly stopped taking care of it.
I can hear the people out there who maybe don’t struggle with this saying, “Well, just take care of it. Change your habits. Start walking.” Yeah, words are easy. Easy FREAKING Peasy.
What I want? I want to love my body as I never have. I want to accept what it is and love it for itself. I want to love not just the inside but the outside. And I don’t care what people think. This isn’t for “people,” those ephemeral everyone else’s that have opinions and judgements. No. Not for them, it’s never been about them. I want this for me. I want to love all of me. I want to love me enough to make the changes.
Today one of my top five favorite authors wrote a blog that had me in tears. Her name is Joshilyn Jackson. Her blog is Faster Than Kudzu and I think she is brill.
What she wrote today though? It’s like she put my neurosis in black and white, ones and zeros, and said it all in a way I hadn’t thought to. She articulated my wishes for myself, probably the wishes of many women who aren’t thin; who are, in fact, fat.For me? And I hope for them? It isn’t about the everyones. It isn’t about society. It isn’t about Hollywood. It’s about our own view of our own selves and our own love of our own vessels.
My body is me. Why can’t I love it?
I want to be that girl. The one who loves her whole self.