Picture 1- Middle school. Completely lost myself. The outgoing child turned into a completely terrified tween. I hated how I looked. I always felt like the biggest kid, and therefore the least important. I had sports shoved down my throat, and even though I enjoyed them, they weren’t a passion. I had no voice. Dieting and body shame started here.
Picture 2- High school. Even more lost. I started to feel like the life I was being told I needed to live, wasn’t the one I wanted to live, and pushed back slightly. That worked against me. I heard about my body and why I needed to eat less and exercise more at home on a daily basis. To the point that I was given an exercise routine I had to do several times a week to help me “improve”. I would binge and purge, restrict and then give up, only to start the cycle over. My body was my worst enemy, but my entire focus. I was beyond depressed, I hated my world and everyone in it. (This is not to point fingers or shame my family, this was their way of showing love.)
Picture 3- New mom. Years of yo yo dieting, diet pills/drinks/programs had gotten me nowhere and my new changing body made me cry daily. A lifetime of body shame, not meeting expectations and searching for unconditional acceptance led me into an abusive relationship with an addict. I ate to fill voids, I ate to comfort myself, I ate to stuff emotions away. It was several more years and another baby before I could finally say “No More”.
Picture 4- Today. I’m still battling body image issues. But I am not at war with my body. I know that I am capable of amazing things because of this body, not in spite of it. I now love whatever stage my body is in, because I’ve learned that I can’t hate it thin, or myself happy. My journey is now health based. I had been furiously trying to change my body and up until the last few years, it’s been for the wrong reasons. It’s time spent focusing on the imaginary when true and real life is right there in front of you. This path to body acceptance is a LONG one. One I am still navigating and it doesn’t come with a map.
I share this because I know I am not alone.
You are not alone.
Let’s chart these waters together.