My body has been my battleground for as long as I can remember now. I’ve never liked how I looked or appreciated the body that I had. I’ve spent my teenage years and early 20’s staring at myself in the mirror and quite honestly, wanting to punch the reflection that stared back at me. But endless years of self hatred have lead me to a point where my only goal in life is to accept the body that I have and look in the mirror and feel nothing but love for the home that is my body.
We’ve been inseparable for almost 24 years now, and our relationship has been truly toxic, let’s be real. But in all honesty, it’s been me who’s been the one to not appreciate you and to convince myself that I deserved and wanted better than what I had, but in reality, there’s been nothing that you haven’t given me and no situation where you’ve not helped me pull through.
As a child, you helped me have the strength to climb tree and roll down hills with green knees, stained by the grass. You made sure I got back up when I fell from those trees and you helped me run faster than the boys on the playground. Those where the days. When you just kept going and made sure I had the childhood of my dreams. But that was all before social media and the power and trickery of my own mind.
Puberty was, well, interesting. I was one of the first in my school year to start their periods at age 12. But, we got through the confusing (and what I thought was embarrassing) time. Although I was emotional and hormonal and covered in cystic acne, but never did I stop and appreciate that you where just doing your job.
As a teen, attending an all girls school. I remember the girls around me would embark on fad diets only drinking Peppered Water or not eating or drinking at all. At this time, my cousin was hospitalised with Anorexia and seeing girls head down a similar track, simply because they felt they where not good enough really effected me. I wondered whether I should do the same, but I knew the effects it had and that food was a friend and not to be avoided. I was ‘lucky’ enough to be petite, or so I thought I was. I loved being slim and fitting into the smallest size clothing possible.
Fast forward a few years and my mental health got a whole lot worse. The focus on my body went sky high. I’d stare at myself in the mirror, and sob because I wasn’t happy with what I saw, I wanted a nose job, I wanted a thigh gap, I wanted to be flat chested. How dare you give me boobs when all my friends where a size 30A. This lasted for a while, I begun to become quiet, not as sociable and would much rather be at home, in my room, than anywhere else. Being a teenager with body dysmorphia and attending an all girls school, was what I thought was my problem with you, however, in reality, it was myself and how I viewed my body that was the problem
MY EARLY TWENTIES
At the start of my 20’s, that’s when you started to change the most. My weight began to fluctuate. One minute, I was a size 4, the next I was a size 8-10 and then back down to a 6. I didn’t understand WHY this was happening. I’d try clothes on in the mirror, that wouldn’t come up past my thighs and I would hate you with every fibre of my heart. But you were not my enemy, my mind was. My 20’s have been some of my hardest times both physically and mentally. As well as my mental health being up the wall, my relationship with you – my body – was even worse. I remember the day that I noticed stretch marks on my inner thighs. I cried. I smothered you in Bio Oil and started to drink weight loss tea. Little did I realise that these changes where normal. I wasn’t a child anymore and my body wasn’t going to stay the same forever.
The truth is body, I was turned against you way before I even had a chance to realise. When I logged into Instagram or looked at a Fashion Magazine, I was once ‘those’ standards and within a blink of my eye and a few stretch marks later, I had curves, I didn’t fit into those size 0 jeans and my brain just could not comprehend that change. But in hindsight, my body was gaining capabilities, not weight.
The best is yet to come
I want to tell you I am trying. I am trying to undo all the years of hatred and disgust when I have looked in the mirror. I am trying to love you the way you should be loved and undo all the years of being told that unless you are as light as a feather you are not worthy. The stretch marks on my thighs are not a sign of defeat, they are my Tiger Stripes and if anyone fancies pointing them out and making me feel insecure about them, you’ll hear the roar.
Our bodies aren’t built for beauty, they’re built for practicality and I guess it taken me a lot to see that. We grow breats to feed our future children, we have lil pouch bellies to protect our Uterus and we have thick thighs for holding up our AMAZING bodies. Although having children is way into my future, It’s about time that I showed you some love, body! After all, one day you will be looking after a new life and creating another body.
Let’s end the year understanding that our bodies are AMAZING!
Until next time!