In 2018, I've been challenging myself to be more vulnerable-- something that I my pride (that I didn't know was pride) shielded me from doing.
One thing that has always been a sore spot for me is my body. For the last 14 years of my life, I had an adversarial relationship with my body. Which means I had an adversarial relationship with a part of myself.
It started with realizing I was a little heavier than other kids, my body didn't look like theirs. My sizes were always in the double digits. I didn't look like the little girls in commercials. I specifically remember sucking in all the time in 4th grade, sucking my stomach in to look the way I felt it should at all times. My family made jokes. Everything was internalized.
As I got older the feelings didn't go away, they manifested themselves in other ways. I would spend countless hours poking and prodding at myself in the mirror. Paying extra attention to diet pill commercials and pining for the day when I turned 18 to get liposuction. I attempted purging. I didn't want to look the way I looked.
The summer before my junior year of high school, I decided to do something about it. I changed my diet radically and unhealthily. I would skip breakfast and only eat lunch and a snack when I got home. And would say "I already ate," at dinnertime. The one positive thing is that I started to only drink water.
But, my perfectionism began to overtake everything. I made stringent rules for myself, that allowed room for no grace. I would chew food and spit it out if it didn't fit the parameters, the same for drinks.
The constant stress, lies I told myself, the unbelievable standard I held myself to-unhealthy.
In college, I started to actively love myself. And even know I'm learning how to do it more. I'm learning how to do love.
And so now as a young adult, my body is becoming a woman too. It won't look the way it did when I was 16 or 18, and it will look different at 26 and 30.
I'm sharing this because I want to know that I'm not the only one; and I want you to know you're not the only one.
I leave you with a quote from poet Nayyirah Waheed.
be softer with you.
you are a breathing thing.
a memory to someone.
a home to a life.