I’ve spent my whole life criticising and being unhappy with my body.
From a functional perspective it’s never let me down (except for the shoulder that doesn’t like to stay in the socket of course). I’ve delivered three healthy babies out of it. It gave me a career in dance which enabled me to see the world and led me to meet my life partner without whom I never would have gotten those amazing kids.
My body works well, I haven’t suffered major pysical afflictions, it gets me from A to B. I’m reasonably fit I suppose in the grand scheme of things.
And yet… It’s not enough. I am not enough. I’ve never been enough. I have looked at my body with cruel scrutiny and spoken words in the mirror that would never occur to me to utter to anyone but myself. “Disgusting” “revolting” “gross”.
After I produced my first beautiful baby and also after the two perfect others, I revelled each time in newfound disgust at the stretch marks and the saggy bits of skin. I worried about wether I would ever get back to my pre pregnancy body. The body that even back then wasn’t good enough. One of my earliest childhood memories is of looking longingly at my 3yr old companions flat tummy and wondering why my own was rounded. Ever since then, no matter what my size, I was not small enough or perfect enough or the correct proportions.
At 35 years old I am the heaviest I’ve ever been. In recent times I’ve battled along trying to be a weight my body doesn’t want to be on various diets and plans that don’t work. Is that how I’m going to spend the rest of my life? Chasing an idea of perfection that I will never attain? Knowing that if by some chance miracle and perhaps a bout of stomach flu, I do actually achieve it, it will still not be good enough. My size 0 21 year old body wasn’t enough so why would a 35 year old one be?
Should I crawl into the bin and close the lid because I’m fast riding a bicycle of bodily imperfections down hill toward an older, fatter, less media like version of myself with every passing second?
I never want my daughter to think that she is anything but absolutely brilliant the way she is made. How can I expect that of her if I despise my own body?
So should I start the painful process of trying to accept my body and *gasp* try to enjoy living in it?
Go against the grain of everything I’ve ever been programmed to think of myself perhaps?
It’s not easy though, it sounds great, like one could just flip on the switch of self love and hey presto! No more endless cycles of diets and hatred. But changing the habit of lifetime takes work and patience and time.
I’m taking the first step. It’s scary, but the goal seems liberating, if not entirely unattainable. So here we go…
Nb- Health and exercise are still on my agenda in terms of leading a long and happy life. Running, biking and dance are still and will always be things I love but I’m going to do them because of the rewards they give me, not because I’m using them to try and be a more perfect version of myself that doesn’t actually exist.