I know I’ve got more to write on my epilepsy, but I wanted to take a break from that. It’s already exhausting to live with; even after years, you think I’d be able to handle it.
Anyway. I wanted to talk about body image, and my journey with learning to love myself and love my body. Because it has been a grueling journey with so many lessons along the way, and I want to document it somewhere.
I don’t remember when it started. Probably as with most young people, I assume pre-puberty or puberty is when I started noticing my body. As it changed, so did my self-esteem. Where I once gave no real thought to how I looked other than insecurities about my glasses (had ’em since I was 7), I couldn’t stop noticing myself.
Ballet was somewhat of a nightmare after that moment that I started paying attention. I compared myself to the other girls — ridiculous, given they were all the typical ballerina body standard and I was still more muscular and stronger than they were — and this process went on until I quit when I was 14.
Even then, my body was all I could think about. I felt like I would never become as thin as I wanted, and my body dysmorphic disorder controlled my life. Even when my then-boyfriend told me I was beautiful, I never believed it. I felt like I didn’t deserve compliments, and that I would never be happy with myself.
After college, I gained a lot of weight. I got comments on it, and even after I lost all the weight again thanks to my thyroid issues, I still have trouble with the comment “you look so good now!” I don’t like the way it implies that I didn’t look good before, because now I know that’s bullshit.
It took me 25 years to love my thighs. I don’t know what caused it (much like I don’t remember when my body dysphoria began) but I remember thinking “why the hell am I so worried?” Body standards are ridiculous anyway, and I felt myself and my worldview change when I realized I am worth loving and that nobody who matters is gonna give any damn about my thigh size.
It took me 26 years to love myself. I still have trouble, of course, but for the most part I’ve given myself due credit. I think, think, my good characteristics outweigh the bad, and even if they don’t, life is about learning every day.
That’s a thought that’s helped me too. You aren’t who you were even ten minutes ago, much less a week or years ago. Everyday is an opportunity for change, for understanding yourself and how you can better the decisions you make or the way in which you live your life.
It’s certainly a process, but I’m on the right track.