This morning I woke up and realized, I like my body. It was a revolutionary thought for me, and I wondered, when the fuck did this happen. When did I go from hating my body so intensely, constantly battling my body, constantly destroying and disrespecting my body, to actually feeling…sort of good about it? Truly, this is something I never saw coming.
I have had an eating disorder for essentially my entire life, and before my eating disorder developed, I still did not like my body. I may have been eight years old, but I’d already been conditioned to hate the way I looked. Liking my body, being happy with my appearance, have always been concepts that have felt far off to me. Of course, I don’t feel ugly every single day. I don’t spend every second of every day contemplating how much I despise my body (or at least not anymore). But I have always been accompanied by this vague distaste for my body, like it’s my enemy rather than a part of me. I’ve always been hyper-aware of how my body looks, which ways of standing or sitting make me look thinnest, what style of clothes just won’t work for me. And part has always known that this is all just in my head, that no one else is thinking about or caring about or seeing me in that way. But it’s always there, in the back (or often front) of my mind.
So today, when I woke up, I did the usual things. I changed from my pajamas into a cute loungewear set, then I did my skincare routine. After that, I made my bed, and I rolled out my yoga mat. I practiced my morning yoga, and then I meditated. When I opened my eyes, I was met with my reflection in the standing mirror in the corner of my bedroom. And I looked at myself, and I realized I wasn’t experiencing any strong emotions that I was familiar with. I sat for a moment, and I thought about it, and I realized I felt content with my reflection. I felt content with my body. I felt comfortable, and I felt confident. And I didn’t feel the need to keep staring at my reflection, obsessively looking for flaws or perfections. I got up, rolled up my yoga mat, and moved on with my morning.
When I sat down to journal a little while later, I realized that I’ve been feeling this way for a little while now. Not months or anything, but maybe for a couple of weeks. For a few weeks now, the war I waged with my body has been over. I waved the white flag, and since my body didn’t have any say in the war to begin with, a truce began. Since developing a routine and starting to treat my body and myself better, I’ve slowly started to like my body and myself more. It’s like the better care I take, the more connected I am to every part of myself. I can’t hate my body when I take care to practice yoga every morning and evening, when I lovingly stretch my muscles and care to get eight hours of sleep every night. I can’t hate my body when every morning and evening, I spend time on my skincare routine. I can’t hate my body when I devote time and money to cooking delicious and healthful meals. I can’t hate my body when I listen to it and let it direct me to what I need. And I didn’t even realize, really, that by taking better care of myself, I was mending that relationship, too. I didn’t know it was possible for me to mend my relationship with my body. I’ve done so much damage and spent so much time trying to destroy my body, I didn’t think that relationship could ever be recovered. I’ve always felt like my body was working against me—why can’t I just be thinner, why can’t my metabolism be faster, why can’t I be uninjured, why can’t I have this body shape—but I never stopped to consider the fact that all this time, my body has just been trying to keep me alive, and put out all the fires I’ve set one by one. When I think about the way I treated my body for so many years, I’m in disbelief that it’s never given out on me. I’m in disbelief that my body has the will to keep going in spite of the horrible ways in which I’ve tried to destroy it. So how can I believe that my body is working against me now that I realize, all these years, my body has been saving me when I didn’t even know I needed to be saved?
I am overwhelmed with joy today—quiet, peaceful joy, like the sky finally clearing after a terrible storm has ended. I am so endlessly grateful to my body for the way it’s fought for me and for my life while I worked against it. I am sorry to my body for the time I spent hating it for reasons that really had nothing to do with it. And I’m sorry for all the ways that I deprived my body, the ways in which I nearly destroyed my body. And I am grateful to my body for being strong enough to rebuild and recover from all the damage that I did to it. I finally feel like there isn’t a barrier between myself and my body. I finally feel connected to my body. I feel joyful to have the body that I do, and I feel connected to every part of myself. I really, truly never expected this to happen. I never thought that I’d feel this way. It’s unreal how quietly and calmly this feeling snuck into me. I didn’t even realize it was happening until today. But wow. I like my body. Who would’ve thought.