I distinctly remember the first time I felt bad about my body. I stood in front of the mirror and pinched my stomach and wondered how badly I’d scar if I took a knife to all the fat.
I can’t tell you how many things I’ve turned down, how many times I’ve stayed home or laughed off a compliment because in my mind being fat meant being unworthy.
It’s strange to me because I went from completely hating my body to this weird state of imperfect self-love where most days I’m good and I’m comfortable and then suddenly I’ll catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and it’ll bring me down.
Taking these pictures was hard because it felt a bit like a confrontation. Seeing the acne, scars, rolls and stretch marks up close and in the light, activated a very real sense of shame.
As a teenager I’d spend hours online, scrolling through forums on weightloss and restricted eating. I’d scream and cry into my pillow when my jeans would rip at the thigh, and throw out my lunch to avoid what I thought were unnecessary calories. With every single person I met, I’d compare my body with theirs and feel either smug or inadequate depending on how I felt my body measured up. Every new year I’d resolve to lose weight and go to extremes to do so.
In recent years, I’ve been learning that the shape of my body is not an indication of my worth. It hasn’t been easy and it’s a constant thing, with ups and downs, good days and bad. With my body just the way it is, I’ve been able to achieve so much and experience so much love and know that my happiness doesn’t have to have anything to do with my weight.
But then January 1st hits and suddenly my social media feeds are full of ‘motivational’ transformation photos, resolutions and diet plans and I start to think that maybe I do have to change. Maybe I’m not enough, the way I am.
I looked through my journal for 2019 and the list I’d made of things I am thankful for and reminded myself that no, the way I look doesn’t make me any less or any more worth loving. It doesn’t change my intelligence, my talent, my accomplishments or my strength.