I’m in a love-hate relationship with my body. This may come as no surprise, since I’m a woman born in the 20th century and living in the 21st century. But it bothers the hell out of me. I want to love it, embrace it, and find beauty in it, but that’s not my reality.
I find it easy to ignore the beautiful air-brushed bodies that no actual human being possesses (thanks Photoshop) because I know they’re unreal. At the same time, I soak up the messages of loving your body at any size, embracing your body as ready for bikinis, the beach, and little black dresses. All bodies are beautiful and all that.
It would be disingenuous of me to pretend that I didn’t also soak in every message about perfect bodies, flat stomachs, and impossible beauty standards. I hide my stomach, only take selfies at specific angles, and share the physical parts of myself that I think are “best.” Maybe because I’m a sex blogger, those parts are tits and ass.
So when I start a new way of eating (yet another “lifestyle change”) or a new exercise program (currently, I’m keeping it as simple was possible and just…walking), I question why I’m doing it. Is it the “safe” reason of being healthy and strengthening my body? Or is it because I’m desperate to change what I hate?
Worse still, is it because I remember what it was like to be 25 and be able to drop as many pounds as I want? Do I want to reclaim some weird part of my “youth” (even though I never had the ideal body even then)? Am I trying to be young again in a body that continues to march forward in time? Do I want the impossible?
I have no doubt that I could spend time to figure out the answers, but my energy is focused on other things, and I have to let these questions remain unanswered.
What I know to be true is that for two years, my body and mind have been on a bad path. Mental anguish and physical pain wrecked me. Trying to love my body in the midst of it felt impossible. Self-love on that level just wasn’t a priority.
But now I’m on the right side of health. My mental health is more stable — even if anxiety spikes and I live through bipolar swings. And my physical health is on the mend — I know what was wrong, and I know how to fix it.
I could probably convince myself that I’m happy with the body I have, even if I never show my stomach or wear certain clothes. Maybe I could find a certain level of “body positivity.” But what I can’t do is let myself get back to a place of poor health and unsteady mind. The drive not to go back to a place of misery and pain is strong.
If eating a certain type of diet (not to be confused with “diets” that don’t work and are unsustainable) means that I don’t develop ulcers or have excruciating stomach pain, and I lose a few pounds…okay.
If moving my body more, walking and doing other active things means that my muscles are stronger and my mind is healthier, and I like the way jeans look on my ass…okay.
What I can’t do is keep feeling like my body will betray me. I know I can’t control everything…or anything, really. But I can control what I do, and how I treat the one body I have.
I think I should love it as it is now, but I want to fix it more than I want to accept it. All I can hope is that once I fix myself, I can learn to love whatever is left.
Welcome to Wicked Wednesday…I didn’t follow this week’s prompt or write anything sexy. If you’re looking for something with heat, you know where to go.