I have a very honest and embarrassing admission to make, you guys. And I felt like it's one that actually requires the rare blog post:
I hate my body.
Now, admitting this is hard for several reasons. Reason #1: I already make a big deal about how pro female empowerment I am and how much I'm against distorted female body images in mainstream media. Reason #2: Two years ago, I was very much on a very healthy path as far as having a strong exercise routine and great food habits and this has completely been thrown away over the course of this past year and it makes me feel like a failure. Reason #3: This has all resulted in igniting my previously dormant body-related depression that I thought I had overcome a decade ago.
This disgust that has grown inside of me and, until recently, has been one I've been able to poke fun at. I see the rolls and flab that have appeared on my body and I've laughed about what a "fat ass" I am and follow it up by eating a plate of nachos. I say things like, "Yep! Still single!" because clearly the reason is because no guy would want someone who looks like how I look in a swimsuit... and so I go to the local pub and get an order of wings. I have a hard day at work and feel like I'm not where I want to be in my life and I change into a pair of sweat pants as soon as I get home and I feel disgusting and decide why not have a pint of gelato for dinner? I post on Facebook about it and make myself a punchline and everyone laughs with me and it seems like it's OK because at least I have a sense of humor about it.
But the truth is I don't find it funny. Over the last couple of months, especially, I've been less willing to poke fun and more prone to laying in bed wondering if I'll always hate myself this much.
Every once in a while I'll tell my friends or family how I feel (though I won't go as far as using the "H" word) and they'll say things like, "Shut up! You look amazing!" or "You have a great figure!" You know, something like that. But then I look at them and all I can see is how great they look and it makes me feel like a charity case somehow. Because the truth is... and this is something I've said recently in regards to something else entirely but it still applies... no one can make you feel worthwhile. You have to be willing to feel that way about yourself and the awful truth is I don't know how to get back to that place again.
Now, part of the problem is I have other things going on in my life right now and one way I've always found comfort is by eating. But that's a dangerous path because while eating ten Oreo cookies may feel amazing while I'm doing it, it only leads to feelings of self-loathing which then.... causes me to eat more and the spiral goes on forever.
I would also like to acknowledge that intellectually I understand that I am not actually "fat" - or what our society generally considers "fat." I'm about 5'2 and I weigh around 130 lbs. That's pretty average. Also, being that I live in a city, I walk quite a bit (not to mention that I go on adventures with my dog fairly often) and I'm a regular member of Washington Sports Club and I take archery classes out in Bethesda... so I'm pretty active. Hating my body isn't about just looking at myself and telling myself I'm fine. I can do that all day everyday but if I can't allow myself to believe it, it doesn't matter.
So recently I decided that maybe if I really take care of my body, everything would turn around. I've been making my own food more often, eating more salads, running in the mornings before work, signing up for more classes at the gym. Granted, I've only started doing this over the last couple of weeks (prompted, I'll admit, by the dreaded bathing suit season) but for the most part this has done little for my self esteem and more for making me see how little progress I'm actually making and giving me more reason to be disappointed in myself whenever I slip up and eat a cookie.
Then last week, I found two things on the internet: an article by Sarah Silverman in Glamour Magazine about women needing to shut the fuck up and love themselves and an amazing Huff Post articles/video about a woman making a documentary on the hate women feel about their bodies because of the pressure society puts on them. Neither of these things are ground breaking but I was in a place where I really really needed to hear these things and I didn't even realize how much so. I was feeling pretty defeated but seeing these things really made me feel less alone at a time where my self-loathing was making me feel kind of isolated and ashamed.
Now I'm not going to say that some miracle has happened and I woke up today and looked in the mirror and suddenly saw a goddess. However, I'm feeling less angry at myself and more focused on other things. This isn't to say that I don't care about eating healthy or exercising anymore.... I'm just feeling a little less desperate about it and that's one step in the right direction. Hopefully, I can look at myself one day and see myself the way I see the people I love (as beautiful and courageous) and I'll care less about how slim I look in whatever new dress I've bought myself because life is too short to be obsessed about how Hollywood and Vogue Magazine is telling you to look. The Powers That Be gave me some curves and some would consider that a gift! And as Sarah Silverman says, "If we were half as nice to ourselves as we are to any fucking stranger on the street, we'd be winning."