If only there were a way to just tell all of my problems to
and they’d actually disappear.
I used to think my body was a problem. Problems were bad and needed fixing and that applied to my body too. The first time I really started to hyper focus on my weight and size was a random day at the gym during my Freshman year of college. I finished a workout on the treadmill, trying to get back into the habit of running, barely surviving the 20ish minute jaunt. After cooldown on my way out the door, I stumbled across a scale and decided to weigh myself; a check-in that everything was exactly where it was supposed to be.
From seeing myself every morning in the mirror, I looked as I always had and my clothes still fit the same. But when I saw that number on the scale, indicating I was almost 20 lbs heavier than I thought I was, I was floored. Nothing had changed visibly, so where the eff was it all hiding? Way for me to overachieve on that Freshman 15, amirite?
Since then, life has been a series of averting my gaze from my midsection and thighs, buying too many clothes to accommodate the fluctuations in weight and at some times, pure hatred. Why couldn’t my tummy stay flat, even when I knew choosing cake over crunches wasn’t helping and most importantly, why couldn’t I just look the way that would make me happy?
Now, in retrospect I can see that that train of thought was really foolish and dangerous. I wasn’t being fair to myself, nor patient enough with my process. I also didn’t know that college was the time where I would truly start descending into my depression and anxiety, and that the implications of my condition impacted not only my body, but my perceptions of it and how kind I was being to it, which wasn’t at all. The relationship I was developing with my body image as I progressed into womanhood was hindering my ability to respect and love myself.
Once I decided to flip that switch, I came to the conclusion that I was fortunate to have the body I did. Most public spaces were accommodating for someone my size and I was able-bodied and mostly healthy. How could I be mad that I wasn’t fit for a Victoria’s Secret runway show when there were tons of others out there who couldn’t even get into buildings because wheelchair ramps weren’t made accessible to them? Perspective was something I desperately needed and self-acceptance, although difficult, was something I knew I needed to embrace, or I’d be doomed to waste a lot of my years trying to attain an impossible thing.
What helped the most was giving myself an ultimatum: if there was something about myself I was unhappy with, I had no reason to complain about it if I wasn’t willing to make the changes that could bring me closer to those goals. EVEN when I knew that I may never obtain what I saw in my head, but rather, the best version of that that MY body was meant to be.
My main obsession now is making sure that I don’t backslide and find a way to take myself down undeservedly. In caring for myself more often, I’m finding my ability to be kinder to my self-image better honed and most-importantly, very satisfying.
It’s a work in progress, but I can handle it.