I remember having negative feelings about my body image from an early age, remember noticing the differences in my body compared to others when I was in elementary school. Sometime between kindergarten and first grade I realized I was bigger than my classmates. I already had pouches around my upper and lower abdomen. They grew with time as did the rest of my body. More for me to hate, to judge, and more for others to do the same.
My body got verbally mutilated by any willing party including myself. I had no idea what I was doing when I was doing it. I had no idea that I was harming myself when I started to let what others thought of my body be my opinion also. Makes sense why it hurt to even exist. Auditory perception seems to ring with more clarity than the streaming thoughts of the mind, so I really never looked at myself as taking part. I was not introspective in ways that promoted growth or love at that time.
I had family and friends who loved me, who did all they could to show me, but extenuating circumstances often kept me around other family who were not so kind. They had grown up with antiquated social norms that perpetuated specific body types as desirable. Blame serves no purpose now, I say these things because they are a part of my truth and were also a part of the reason they said the things they said in an attempt to scare or shame me into being better.
It made me worse. There was no consistent safe place inside or out. Food continued to be my friend, it somehow tuned out my mind and shutdown my anxiety. I neglected my body or abused it. There was not much care to be had. I had grown accustomed to my life. I was depressed. The positive environments; of the side of my family that cared generously and the addition of my school teachers and administrators that knew I was more than I could imagine, helped me get through it.
As I transitioned to a new life, leaving the previously extenuating circumstances, I was taught that I was worth more than the thoughts of others and that my value was something I had to create for myself. How I saw myself was my decision, my introspection, and my self-talk. People would always have something else to say but that was not for me to own. Not for me to agree with.
It has been a battle and I feel will be a never-ending journey to make sure I am always looking at myself with kindness, care, and love. As I take the road to wellness I understand that there are ways that my body will change. The one I have been wary of is the amount of excess skin I will carry for a prolonged period of time until I can address it. It will be a representation of healing but also of excessive scare tissue from emotional and psychological wounds that went without attention for a considerable amount of time.
It would be dishonest of me to think or say that I will not fall back on looking at parts of myself in disgust when I see my skin change. This was not a born abnormality or one inflicted on me by an accident. This was self-inflicted. It would be easy to fall into blaming and shaming. I don’t want to do that. It is my prerogative and dearest desire to look at myself with love and understanding when the time comes, to look at my scar and be glad that it represents healing.
I want to hold myself and tell myself that I have done what is best for myself regardless of the physical aesthetic, regardless of social norms, and regardless of the possible fleeting negative feeling that may come to surface in my own mind. I will say to that woman in the mirror as i have learned to now. I love you, unconditionally. Body, heart, mind, and soul unconditionally.
It is also my deepest wish that you will do this for yourself too. ❤