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April 2, 2020

Learning to love myself with a body disorder

I couldn’t tell you when it happened, one day my body was no longer something used to move around this earth but a symbol of my worth. 


Arriving in my body no longer as a prisoner has been one of my most difficult processes, days have gone past where I have felt so defeated that crumbling into defeat was my only option. I’d lay in bed loathing the skin I’d been placed in.


Many times being rejected by a man, wondering if maybe my thighs shrunk and belly flattened would their love have stuck around? I collected messages early that I am too much, too loud, too opinionated, too masculine, bundling it all up tightly as reasons I’m not enough. An old story that still now can arise from the cold guarded door in the attic of my subconscious when I’m faced with rejection. As this story began for me in the age of adolescence when breasts began to spring onto my peers’ chests I decided if my body was just right that is how I would be able to capture this elusive love floating just out of reach.


What started out as a thought grew stronger each time I saw what was right in another woman I saw what was wrong about me. The pain of never quite living up to her fed the monster who said only that body deserves acceptance, beginning my journey as a love seeker.


As an 18 year old girl I reduced myself to only drinking blended vegetables with juice and running, believing if I kept it just right that soon magic would sprinkle down from the heavens finally making me “her’’. Of course this never happened and only backed up my idea that worthlessness ought to be printed across my shirt and publicly berated. I was a glass house, the smallest of comments sending me spiralling to excessive exercise or overeating.


Sometimes eating disorders looks like healthy eating and exercise, I would obsess then think fuck it I’ll never be deserving anyway and gorge myself on anything. Anxiety was a natural state of being, so comfortable that calmness was a fairytale made up by idiots. 


This cycle of gorging and restraint fueled one another, they were each other’s personal hype men for self hatred. Gorge would braid restraints hair while slowly reaching one hand into her back pocket covering restraints hair in veet, causing an all out brawl. Often people will give that voice a name, I gave mine Motherfucker and that motherfucker is constantly out for me. 


Often I would begin to choke on my lonesomeness and call a friend, sister, my mother, desperate for a way out. As much as they loved and supported me it became clear the only one who could work on this is me.


For two years now I have been dedicated to accepting my body exactly as it is no matter what state, putting Motherfucker in her place and choosing to listen to what my body needs instead of what I need her to be.


I have had fights with myself that lead to red rimmed tired eyes and waves of defeat. Taken myself out of public places to take a gulp of reprieve reminding myself I am not my body, I am so much more.


Most recently I met Motherfucker face to face when a relationship I tried to reboot with a past lover failed. She crawled down from her attic in the night wrapping a plastic bag around my face suffocating the confidence out of me. She spoke gospel that I’m just too fat and hearty, if I was only small and dainty like his other choices perhaps he would have stuck around. A long standing fear, the one that slithers at the bottom of my subconscious coming up for a kill at my weakest moments.


I wish I could tell you I told her to kindly go fuck herself slamming the door in her face but I did not. I let her in, boiled her tea and flipped through pages of women I should be like, hiring a hit on my body confidence. I relapsed to old behaviour of restraint and gorging fueled by shame.


Coming to accept my body has not been an overnight process I trip, often. I want all readers to know this, body disorders don’t make you weak they make you a goddamn warrior.


I’ve come to know that Motherfucker is scared, she is so afraid that she will never be loved believing that pushing me to old habits is how she will be protected. My job is to hold her close constantly reminding her she is enough, loved, and so much more than flesh on bones. I also know that if I don’t fill myself up with the things that truly bring me joy then Motherfucker will become so insecure she will jump right out of her cage demanding the controls.


I do this through focusing on what brings me peace, and acceptance which looks different for everyone. Mine is first working from purpose, walking others through their painstory and watching them heal has not once failed to knock me humbly flat out on my ass. Following that is being with the people I love in the outdoors, to be able to do that my body needs nourishment which sometimes looks like rest. I also have learned to ask my soul which speaks through my body what she wants or needs, where does she want to live? Eat? What does she want each day to do? 


As a love seeker and body warrior I know that my battle isn’t over, there are always going to be comments seemingly harmless that slice my flesh clean open. The difference from 18 year old me to now is that even when I do slip back to old behaviour I choose to be kind in my return to love.

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