Body image problems were a problem from the beginning for me. I would spend countless hours making sure that things looked the way I thought they should. I had to be thin in certain areas; I had to make sure that there were no folds or dents in others; and I strived for perfection that I was never going to obtain because my brain wanted what I could never have. My eyes saw one thing; everyone else saw something else…something that was slowly withering away.
It amazes me that I can look at my body now and see it for how strong it is, instead of how skinny it is. Ok yeah, a part of me is happy that I look the way I do because it is thin but the other part of me is amazed at how when I was skinnier than I am now, I still thought I was fat. I still can’t get over that when I weighed 30 pounds less than I do now, that I picked myself apart, belittled myself into thinking I was huge and fat and detestable. I can’t believe I thought that; it just blows my mind.
Then… (Summer 2004)
If I were to show myself to old sick self 10 years ago I would have scoffed at my body, automatically thinking of all the places that needed to be improved or hidden under layers or clothes. I would have thought of all the exercises I could have done to burn off more fat and calories and how great it would have felt to lose that weight. It amazes me now that I can look at my current self, and smile.
I’m not trying to flatter myself and how I look now, but look at how I used to think about myself in the past tense. I thought I was a failure in the way that I looked. I thought I would never be able to make friends, find someone to love me through thick and thin, and live a happy and fulfilling life. I thought all things that would bring me happiness was entirely focused on how much I weighed on the scale, how thin my legs were and how much of my hip bones and ribs I could get to expose themselves. I was wrong.
It’s a hard battle to fight, and it has taken me 10 years to get there. I see my friends going through the same thing I have spent years enduring and wish I could just give them the strength to see themselves how I see them. I know I have had countless friends say the same thing to me over the years, so many times I would never stop counting, and that may just have been what got me through all those moments of doubt: That there really is nothing wrong with me.
So let me tell you this: The next time you look in the mirror; the next time you put yourself down because you think you don’t like the way your body looks, appreciate it. Say out loud like I do, “You are a beautiful human being, inside and out. This, this thing you think is so wrong is not. No matter what you think, it is strong, willing and able. It will get you to where you want it, but you have to let it get there, if it wants. Don’t push it to extremes; don’t torture it; don’t let it fall prey to what people say it should be. Let it be, and it will do so many more things for you than you ever anticipated. Believe. Believe in it.”