VENT POST - C/W: Body Dysmorphia, Weight, Body Image, Eating Disorders, Negative Feelings about Body, Depression, all those “fun” things.
I have Body Dysmorphia.
The other women in my family have it too. I could blame it on genetics, on learned behaviors, on societal standards- but that doesn’t change the fact that I intensely scrutinize every inch of my body for the slightest imperfections. Then I fixate, and despair, and repeat.
I get most caught up in, you guessed it, my weight. As a teenager and early adult I was underweight. I ate whatever I wanted and still looked like a skeleton. When I look at pictures of myself during that time I feel a mixture of disgust, but also longing. There’s a sense of guilt associated with feeling pride as seeing your own bones. (Even typing this out makes me feel dreadful).
Then I became an adult. I became body positive. Or the shallowest version of it. I used “body positivity” to justify really bad eating habits. I binge eat, I love food, I obsess over food. I ate and ate and thought I was fine. My clothes stopped fitting, but hey I was growing up. It’s fine. But then, I was told I was overweight. And something inside me snapped. I realized I wasn’t in love with myself at all, I was just using it as an excuse. Suddenly I hated my body. Despised every curve and imperfection.
I started dieting. I did it by strict calorie counting, and making healthier food decisions. I made an effort to control my binge eating, and it paid off. I dropped 30 pounds over the course of many months. I loved my new body, but not just because I was thinner, but because I felt better. For the first time in my life I was eating healthy, and it was showing.
But it’s been a year since then, and that feeling has gone away. I stick to my diet, and exercise now. I’ve gained about 10 pounds, and don’t know why or where it’s come from. My journey to be healthy and love my body has twisted into an anxiety ridden nightmare. I spend hours staring at these small flabs of fat forming, wanting to vomit or anything to make it go away. And I think about food constantly, like a tug-o-war between body image and the desire to EAT. I’m terrified that if I love myself, I will let myself go, and become overweight again. That all my work will mean nothing. And I know this means, that I never truly loved myself at all.
As a quick aside, and to further clarify, when I look at people larger than me it’s not with disgust. People with curves, who are overweight, who have my old body are beautiful too. “Everyone should love their body” is a courtesy I extend to everyone except myself.
And it’s painful to admit these feelings, because on some level it means that traditional women’s beauty standards won. That I became the girl obsessing over eating right and working out, not because of health, because a thin body was desirable. And I feel horrible about it, because some part of me wants to just love myself fiercely no matter what. But another part feels protective, like I can’t be complacent. And it’s just so hard to exist with these feelings sometimes idk. I hope you don’t hate me for feeling this way my dear reader.