Back in November, I talked about how I wanted to work through body image, body stories, sexuality, and our connections to those things. Before I venture into collecting stories from other people, I think it’s best to work through my own stories.
The relationship I have with my body is incredibly complicated, which I know is a narrative so many people have. I’ve been working more intentionally on that relationship, not only in the way it affects me, but also interactions with other people.
For as long as I can remember, as far back as my memories go, I have learned that something about my body is wrong. It’s too much of something, whether it be fat or strength. Something was always too much. And at the same time, never enough.
At the end of last year, I finished eating disorder treatment. I kept it secret, because I thought that the disorder was my burden to bear alone. I needed to begin to untangle the ball of lies I had told myself about me and my body. I’m still far from the end of the road. I have an amazing support system of family and friends, that were there..even though they didn’t know what I was going through. I’m working with a nutrition coach, and have all the way through treatment, and that has been a lifesaver as well. I have the BEST coaches around, working on my fitness. My best advice, as a therapist and as a client, is to build the network you need. They will be there when treatment is over, when you’re forging ahead without ongoing clinical work.
I have always believed that there was a value to being thin. My worth, to myself and to the world, was dependent on the amount my appearance pleases others. As I took in the comments people, society, magazines, social media, had for me, the more I hid behind clothes, my own lies, and my weight. It’s been easiest to plunge myself deep into my career, into learning, because my brain isn’t too dependent on the measurement of my waist or thighs. I am confident in my seat at the table there, I’ve worked hard to make it. It’s away from that table that I have a lot of problems.
The narrative in my head has been that I’m not valid. While going through sessions have dampened the noise, it hasn’t quite silenced it. I must make the choice every day to not believe them. I’ve had to make a lot of crazy choices in my life, and this is by far the hardest one. I’ve built the fortress around myself, already distancing me from relationships and other opportunities. I fumble through the mess that I’ve made of these hoarded ideas and false ideologies.
One thing that I cling to is that I know that I am enough and valid in who I am. The shell doesn’t determine my worth, it’s my heart. I am good, just as I am. I can choose to be kind to myself, do what’s good for my body, and challenge myself to dismantle the lies I believe. I’ll give space to everyone else, who are having to do the same thing.