My body and I are in a love/hate relationship. . . Let me tell you about our journey.
This weekend, I spent 3 days at the beach in Alabama with 7 other women for one of my best friend’s bachelorette parties. It was a whirlwind of sun, eating great food, day-drinking, and dancing the nights away. One of those special trips that I know I’ll remember fondly for the rest of my life.
On Friday I flew down with my friend Cynthia and we had a long talk on the airplane about how, as we’re getting older, our bodies are changing a very different way and how it’s hard to come to terms with that. We made a pact to try extra hard over the weekend to not care, to not judge ourselves, and to spend our time a bathing suit worrying about re-applying sunscreen rather than how we look. For me, being able to do that sounded like an impossible feat.
I can’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t have at least some sort of anxiety about the way my body looked. I remember in 5th grade my doctor weighed me and made some sort of joke about me being 70 lbs. I remember the feeling of my face flushing with embarrassment and feeling bigger than normal. I was not a fat kid. In fact I was extra skinny until I hit puberty, earlier than all of my friends, which was around the same time of the doctor’s scale incident of ’91.
Since that time in my life it’s been a never-ending struggle of obsessing and trying hard to accept what I look like. Two years ago, like every bride ever, I lost a lot of weight for my wedding. I was over 10 pounds thinner than I am now. During the months leading up to the big day, everyone commented on how thin and great I looked. It felt AMAZING. I gained it all back on my honeymoon in Italy and when those compliments abruptly stopped, it was a rude awakening.
In the years since, I turned 28 and will be turning 29 next week which apparently has been a turning point in my metabolism. I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted, take a run, and the extra weight would fly off. In the last year or so, my body shape is slowly changing and I have to be a whole lot more careful than I used to. Naturally, this has created a whole new set of anxieties and obsessions.
This weekend felt different though. Whenever one of those pesky negative thoughts came into my brain, my inner monologue was “fuck this, go awayâ€. Sometimes I had to do that 3 times in one minute and after a full day of that, I got so annoyed by it that my mind somehow just turned the thoughts off for hours at a time.
Obviously I’m not cured by any means and my entire flight back yesterday I had to continue this practice, but it was one of the first giant steps that I’ve taken to accepting my body for what it is: Strong, healthy, miraculous, and beautiful.
I’ll report back in at the end of the summer to see if I’ve made any giant leaps but considering I have 29 years of body dismorphia on my hands, I think it will be a slow and steady process. . .