I would, by the end of the year, turn 18; graduate high school as Salutatorian; be accepted at a top college for my Bachelors…and work my way even deeper into body image issues.
Self-loathing. Just KNOWING that I was a monstrous, gawky, geeky, over-sized creature, taking up WAY too much space. Knowing that only by over-achieving in studies and extra-curricular activities (and paying homage to the Diet Gods) could I ever, in any way, make a token compensation to counter my greedy manner of having excess mass; of being TOO FAT.
Desperate to get slimmer before entering college and horrifying a NEW set of people with my unwieldy size. Every day was a new low of self-despair if the scale didn’t show a lower number or the abs didn’t ache from the previous night’s exercises. Every day brought new shame as I watched those much smaller saunter by in tinier, cuter clothes.
This is what I felt was so awkward; so unbearably large and unwieldy. This is the body that I hated, every day, for not being small enough, lithe enough, svelte enough, invisible enough. The body I abused and punished, every waking moment, for struggling to just be what it was.
By the end of the year I will have turned 28. I will have started my first class towards my Masters degree. I have a loving husband. I play trumpet in a small but fun little band. I work two jobs that I enjoy. I belly dance at nursing homes just because it feels great. And I’ve finally stopped HATING my body. It has grown. It has changed. And I am learning to love it no matter what.
But I still can’t help but wonder; if someone HAD told me I was cute (honestly enough and often enough); how much SOONER would I have stopped that self loathing? How much sooner would I have moved my attention, my energies, into hobbies and productive activities that I LOVED instead of dieting and activities that I hated?!
No one deserves to go through youth or their entire life for that matter, hating what they look like. We change. We age. Our bodies alter in ways that are always surprising. Yet I feel that if for just a moment we STOPPED hating our bodies for what they were and started to ACCEPT them for what they allow us to DO; then maybe there would be a lot more energy in this world put into some pretty amazing places.
Oh, and for the record, you are INCREDIBLY cute. As you are. Right now. Yes, you are. And so am I. Deal with it, and put those self-hating (or others-hating!) energies to better use.