It is really challenging to write about things that you are currently battling with, but I think that it is important to let people in on the struggles rather than waiting for some epic moment in the future when we finally have it all figured out, Ha-Ha-Right, to elegantly reflect on our journey.
Honestly, one of my biggest disappointments in myself is that by now I don’t have my battle with my body image all figured out yet.
I fucking wish that I did. I would think that if I had it all figured out, I could actually use what I have learned to help others who struggle. Who am I kidding? I think the majority of us struggle to some degree, men and women alike.
A neighbor of mine who I had never spoken with before called out to me when I was on a run the other day. She told me that whatever I was doing was working and that she could tell I had lost weight, I go by her house a lot so I guess that she must have seen me out often.
I came home and cried.
She was just trying to be nice, but in that moment, I wanted to tell her a million things. I wanted to tell her that I wasn’t exercising to be skinny, but rather to be healthy and that my walk/runs are my favorite meditation. I wanted to tell her that I wasn’t trying to make myself less - smaller - more pleasant for a crowd of men to be in the presence of.
I was insulted as a feminist, and especially because she was a woman with the kind of genetic structure that gave away the fact that she had never battled to keep weight off, the opposite was more likely.
I wanted to tell her that I am living with anorexia and that what she said to me isn’t the kind of thing that you should just say to someone when you don’t know what their situation is. I just said thank you and kept on running though.
I still battle every single day of my life. Even though I came to terms with the fact that I have been dancing with anorexia for most of my life over three years ago now. Just becoming aware of the problem isn’t enough.
Now I find myself in this space where I am constantly judging my eating habits and it is all because of the place where my stomach just folds over the smallest bit and leaves a what? A tuck, a pooch, I don’t even know what to call it.
Intellectually, I know that at my absolute skinniest it still didn’t completely go away. I never found satisfaction with that one feature of my body no matter how much weight I lost. I know that I never want to do that to myself again, so what in the hell am I fighting with myself about?
I still feel guilty for every single carbohydrate that passes my lips. I don’t eat any refined sugar anymore. I eat no meat and no gluten. Yet, still. If I allowed myself to eat an average diet that included carbohydrates in three meals a day I would easily put on about fifty pounds in six months.
It is just the way that my genetics work, and I am fucking uncomfortable that way. I feel like it is difficult for me to move and to stretch when I am carrying that much weight and my relatively low-to-start-with sex drive absolutely plummets.
And I am so pissed off at myself that I can’t just fucking get over it and get on with my life.
Society is responsible for this, and we are responsible for allowing it to be this way. We may be better than our mothers were about it, but we are far from good at defending the truth that it is who we are as human beings that matters, and not what we look like.
I need to break through the habit that I was trained into by this society of keeping my mouth shut and not saying what I mean in the moment. The things that no one ever wants to hear.
I need to stop telling my friends that they look great when they ask me my opinion on the matter, and tell them that I don’t give a flying fuck, and that I want for them to stop being critical over their own appearances.
I want to tell them that I would love them if they were wearing a potato sack and that their struggle with body image breaks my heart for them…because it breaks my heart for me just as much.
Part of me just wishes that I could just accept the weight and be happy being chubby, but I still can’t, and I don’t know if I ever will. I have definitely tried, and it made me miserable.
The fact that I put so much energy into it when I consider that there are people out there in the world who are actually starving today is absolutely deplorable. It disgusts me. Even though I am incredibly fucking grateful for my body every day of my life. Even though I am consistently conscious of what an awesome miracle it is that I have feet and legs that will carry me wherever I want to go.
I love to cook and I love to eat. I don’t put on weight with junk. I haven’t eaten a fast food meal in years. I just have a slow metabolism and my body wants to store every carb that it can get its hands on.
And barely eating is just so much easier than the push and pull that I am going through now. I do happen to like having hair and bone mass and energy though.
And the only real answer here is that I just have to keep working at it. To just keep trying. I thank god that I have a husband who is supportive of me being healthy. I can’t imagine the psychological trauma that women who have partners who call them fat and ugly must endure.
Please stand up for the people in your life. Please stand up for them when they are bulling themselves if you have to. I watched a beautiful young girl come off of a roller-coaster the other day and complain about how ugly she looked when she saw the picture of herself that was captured during the ride.
I should have said something to her.