Deep In My Vault - My Body Issues
This one has been buried in my vault, so very, very deep. Not because I don't understand it, I do. But, I suppose it's because I don't know how to talk about it properly. I'm going to give it my best shot.
It may shock some people or others may not be surprised but, I have really deep issues with my body. I mean, most women do right? We're programmed to hate our bodies. I know this and I'm working on it, I literally do not want to hate it anymore, I really, really don't. Recently I trained to be a fitness instructor, something that in all my life I never thought I would see. If I were to go back and challenge my 18 year old self to a fitness challenge I'd win within about 3 minutes. I still clearly remember being on the treadmill at my Uni and not making it past that mark without feeling like I was going to die.
I didn't train to become a fitness instructor to help me love my body. I did it because I love the program I teach. I danced non-stop for 45 minutes yesterday at a really high intensity and I could have kept going. It was easy for me. Accepting what I look like isn't.
I still refer to myself as 'fat'. I still look at pictures and know (or assume) that some people will think the same. I wish that didn't matter to me but it does. I put a video on Facebook yesterday showing how happy I was to teach my class and all I could think was 'oh such and such will see my fat belly and wonder how the hell I became a fitness instructor'. How fucked up is that?
Another incident was sizes of clothes. I watched everyone select an XS or a S while I am a medium. And I tortured myself with 'I'm a medium because I'm the fat one of the group'.
I'm going home soon and my brain tells me I'll go back to my motherland and people will think 'she doesn't look like she trains, or does yoga, she's too fat.'
I wear a black singlet under every outfit because it 'hides' my rolls.
I'm scared that at the wedding I'm going to in December all people will think is, 'man she looks fat as a bridesmaid.'
I think of myself as 'the fat one in my family'
I weigh myself every single morning and feel my heart sink every time before I jump in the shower.
I hate my fat thighs and I remember when I was younger that someone said when I eat, all my food goes straight to them. I remember the person who said it. I remember how I felt, I remember where I was. I remember that I was 11. I remember I believed them, I still do.
I remember being called 'ten tonne Tessie'
Most of my teenage years, early 20s were spent obsessing about my weight. I still obsess about it. Not nearly as much and I'm working on making it zero time. It's not worth the energy, not to mention the toll it takes on my mental health.
Full disclosure I have never restricted my diet, I eat what I want, sometimes healthy, sometimes not. But, in previous years I have thrown up food and I have abused laxatives. There, I said it. I have opened up and bled all over my page, not for the first time but this time it feels really raw. Mostly because I think there's only one person in the world who knows this. It doesn't have to be this way, I know it and I'm slowly getting better.
Something that made me want to write about this was the dicovery of a particular YouTuber called Eugenia Cooney. She's been online for 5 years and is progressively getting skinnier and skinnier. She insists she is fine, that she doesn't have an eating disorder but, there seems to be no other reason offered. Yes, you could argue that it's none of our business but, when you upload videos every single day and you have little girls watching, I feel there has to be some sort of accountability/explanation. There's not. I found her recently and only yesterday she uploaded a worrying video of her trying to play sports. While bouncing a basketball, the rebound was hurting her tiny fingers. She had no power in her arms to dunk the ball (despite being tall), she couldn't throw a ball very far and kicking it meant her shoe fell off her tiny, tiny foot. It's terrifying and I guess I'm throwing a spotlight on it because out of all of this I have a message.
Parents, if your kids are watching Eugenia, talk to them about it. Make sure they understand the way she looks isn't healthy. Be careful what you say to young 'uns, stuff like 'your food goes straight to your thighs', stays with us for a long, long time. I actually think our generation as parents would never dream of saying things like this anymore but, it's worth reiterating how deep this stuff goes.
I'll continue to work on my body issues, probably for a really, really long time. I'll never be able to let some of it go but, I know I won't be any happier if I'm skinnier. I try not to call myself fat but it feels more natural than calling myself fit, I'm working on it. I'm working on the fact that what anyone else thinks of me is none of my business. If someone sees my photo, my body in a bridesmaid dress, a video of me dancing some of my routines and thinks I'm fat, that's their opinion and not my own, it should make no difference to me. It does, but I'm working on it.
I'd like to write more, but this hurts so I have to stop. But, I can only hope my vulnerability helps someone else. I really doesn't have to be this way, it doesn't. Let's work on ourselves and raise our little ones to show themselves love, all day, everyday.