I hate my body. There. I’ve said it.
I am no different than millions of women and men. But I have spent years convincing myself that I didn’t hate my body, just that I wanted to make it better. I’ve said all the right things about being a work in progress and how far I’ve come. The sad, solid truth is that I absolutely hate my body.
I went on Tumblr for a minute today and couldn’t find anything to post. Why? Because no matter how sexy the picture, the scene, the pose, I constantly compare my body to those of the women in the pictures, and of course, I find myself lacking. I could go on and on about how society does this to us, about how marketing and advertising have done this to us. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We all know where it came from.
Looking at the pictures on Tumblr, it hit me. I hate my body. I hate everything about it. It’s not good enough, and it never will be.
I find myself grateful that I don’t have to raise little girls. I have no idea how I would instill a love of their own bodies in them, since I don’t love my own.
When I look in the mirror, I rarely see the strong, muscled legs or the firm, round ass. I rarely see the strong shoulders or the collarbone that I was shocked to see for the first time a few years ago. I see the dimples. I see the saggy, excess flesh. I see everything I hate about myself.
And yet, while I bemoan a body I don’t care for, I know I’m what other women seek to accomplish. I know it because I was once 90 pounds heavier than I am now. I know that for women losing weight, they see me and I’m their big goal to achieve. I know it because I once looked at women my size with pure envy, wanting desperately to be their size. Once I got down to this size (a size 10/12, if you must know), I began to look at the next big goal – the last 30 pounds to lose.
I have struggled for three years to lose the last 30 pounds and have been unable to do it. Whether it’s stress or biology keeping me at this weight, I don’t know. In one moment, I tell myself it doesn’t matter, that it’s ok if I never lose the last pounds. In the next, I nearly cry when I look at myself in the mirror.
The worst part is that I know I am desirable to (some) men. One man in particular tells me I’m beautiful; he makes me feel beautiful. When he cupped my breast, it felt like it was made for his hand. When he palmed my ass, he told me it was a perfect fit. When he spent more than an hour simply stroking every square inch of my skin, learning it, worshiping it, I was no longer a flaccid, flabby woman – I was simply soft skin and sensitive nerve-endings. I was beautiful.
When I’m alone, I can barely remember those feelings. When I look at myself in the mirror or in pictures, I don’t see what he sees or the rest of the world might see. I see nothing but imperfections. I see everything I hate. I sometimes still see the fat chick from 90 pounds ago. I see the too-round face. I see the angular nose that looks strange in profile. I see the stomach that will never be flat. I see sagging breasts. I see cellulite that will never go away. I see imperfect skin. I see every flaw, perceived or real.
I want to be different. I want to love my body, but I don’t know how. It’s the only place I lack real confidence.
Want to talk about my profession? I will amaze you with my passion and enthusiasm.
Want to talk about writing and reading? You’ll get tired of the topic before I do.
Want to talk about raising little boys, dealing with dumbass exes, and making ends meet? Pull up a chair. I’m a resident expert.
But please don’t take my picture. Please don’t put me in front of an audience. Please don’t look at me. Please don’t make me look at myself. I don’t like what I see, and I convince myself that you won’t either.
I am neither so obese that I can no longer get out of bed nor am I so thin that anyone would mistake me for a supermodel. I am the average woman. I keep telling myself that the average woman looks just like I do. But I can’t stop focusing on what I hate about my own body. It’s not healthy. I know it’s not.
Sometimes, I wish I could stop worrying about what I eat or how much I workout. Except then I become paranoid about being the fat chick again. I have a constant fear of somehow going backwards and gaining every pound back.
And yet, while I say that about myself, I don’t care what other people look like. Some of the people I love most in the world have far from perfect bodies, and other than a general concern about their health, I don’t care what their body looks like. I care about the person inside, not the shell that is their body.
Why can’t I love myself as much as I love others?