Updated: Nov 29, 2021
In my last post I talked about my disordered eating, low self esteem, and that I came back from that. But I never really told you how I did that. Going forward, I will be sharing how I've gotten myself back, and how I'm continuing to accept & love myself through it. I'm taking you on my journey with me, hoping it will help you too.
Hitting rock bottom is fucking awful, but damn does it have the most solid ground to stand on. Losing my period, losing a competition, and losing the will to wear a mask -I had nowhere else to turn but to myself. Not a damn soul knew what I was going through or the new challenge I was about to face on my own. First things first, I wanted my fucking period back. Over a decade of horrible cramps, ovarian cysts, and turbulent emotions - I wanted it back. I wanted to feel like a woman again. I wanted my body to work again, the way it was supposed to. I wanted all of my organs to get the nutrients they needed. I want children one day and if my body is not capable of doing so, it will NOT be due to malnourishment. Instead of calling a doctor (I know I KNOW, I promised I would but shit, I was embarrassed & ashamed still), I started researching. In that research I began to respect my body; every curve and every bone. Once I focused on getting my period back, I started loving my body and questioning why I had hated it so much that it caused me to turn my back on it.
I listened to women of all sizes, all ethnicities, and all religions speak about self love and acceptance. I listened to women who are beautiful inside and out about what beauty really is: inner peace, radiance, kindness. I started to question myself, what I’ve thought of beauty. I have always been able to see beauty in others no matter what they may look like, yet I couldn’t see it in myself. If I don’t judge others based on their appearance and weight, why was I correlating those factors to my own value? Listening to others talk about why they love themselves, regardless of how many of society’s beauty standards they check, has opened my eyes.
I’m not going to totally blame all of this on society or my childhood, I made the conscious decision to judge myself. I made the decision to lose weight at all costs. I decided to place my worth in my appearance; my weight, my size, my ability to look as small as possible. I literally made my whole self smaller, please stick with me here a minute I think I just uncovered another fucking breakthrough. After a lifetime of being too much, too loud, dreaming too big, doing things too different… somewhere along the way I made myself quieter, my dreams more “realistic”, doing things the way others said was the right way… I have been metaphorically making myself smaller… and then I just went and did it physically too - what the actual fuck?
Anyways! Although society, my childhood, teenage and early adulthood years have certainly contributed to the negative views of myself, I am aware enough to know that adopting those views was my choice. Instead of questioning (or continue questioning when I was shot down) I internalized those beliefs. But owning up to this was the key, because once I realized I had the responsibility of choosing those beliefs, I realized I also have the power to change them. I have the power to question these ideals. I have the power to speak up for myself and others (if being made fun of growing up was tough, consider how awful it was to never have your friends stick up for you.. I guess they didn't want to risk being made fun of too).
Since I went around in circles a bit here, I’ll try to reiterate the important parts for clarity. 1) Learn about your body, you don’t have to become a nutritionist, but health is way more than calories in and out. 2) Ask yourself why you put these beauty standards on yourself, and if you also put them on others, I challenge you to do an even deeper dive into assessing society’s ideals. 3) Listen to others who have accepted themselves, and love every last wrinkle, pound, and hair - they will give you the strength to accept and love yourself too, they have the blueprint. 4) Please know this process is not linear, it will have ups and downs, you will need to revisit situations in your past, and you will take as long as you need each step. 5) Last, but absolutely not least, forgive. Forgive yourself for the eating disorder, forgive yourself for your old beliefs and negative views of your body, forgive yourself for internalizing the trauma. Forgive others; those who made fun of you and those who hold these standards of beauty themselves. Wish them well and move along, they’ll have to do their own self-awareness soon enough and I guarantee the way they treated you will be on their conscience. "Hurt people hurt people."
I’ll be writing more on this self-love topic. I know it’s helping some of you and I never want you to feel alone in your journey. I may not have the most efficient advice, but goddamnit I love the shit out of you, and something tells me that is exactly what you need right now. Next week we'll dive into Step 1 a little deeper, spoiler alert: there's music & dancing involved!
Until next time friends,