My body is changing. i’m not exactly sure what to think of that. i’m used to the taut, smooth skin of a 19 year old.
i swear i was just 19.
It’s unfair, really. i had just gotten used to the body i was in, and then it changed, and i’m stuck with trying to readjust. This won’t be the last change though, and i know that. i just don’t like it.
i remember thinking i was fat as early as five. Isn’t that sad? What five year old thinks she’s fat? It wasn’t that someone was calling me fat – no, that didn’t happen until i was a teenager. i just knew, somehow, that i was fat.
As a teenager, i was never as slim as the other girls. i envied them as they sat demurely in church, wearing their size two skirts and looking like a Bennet sister. No, i was the unlucky one.
Good German stock, i guess you could say. While the other girls were tiptoeing around in size 6 shoes, i shoved my feet into size 9 flats. i felt like the ugly step sisters in Cinderella. Ugly, clumsy, and much, much too big to be a proper lady. My shoulders were too broad, my hips too wide, my bum too round. My chest betrayed me and stuck at a stubborn b cup, leaving me feeling a little bottom heavy. i just wanted to be thin. i obsessed about it to the point of tears. i wouldn’t let anyone take full body pictures of me. i hid behind long skirts and baggy dresses.
Sometimes people say things that make your body struggle worse. It’s such a crushing feeling, really.
“You kind of have big calves.”
“You can’t escape it. You’ll be fat someday. Genetics!”
“Such big feet for a girl!”
You internalize these things. The words people say, that they forget about seconds after saying them, stick with you for years. It’s stupid, and you know where your worth comes from, but the words are engraved into your skin like a scar.
It wasn’t until i was older that i realized those people were wrong, and that i was perfectly fine. In fact, some people called my body type desirable. When curves were suddenly in, my hips were admired and the curve of my waist approved. Amazing how society tells us we’re ugly one day and pretty the next. It’s an abusive relationship, a tug of war.
Over the course of two years i lost fifteen pounds, gained hundreds of self harm scars, gained that fifteen and some pounds back, and then lost forty pounds. I weighed myself again recently. i was thinner than i thought i was, but all i see when i look in the mirror is that five year old little girl, pinching the chub on her tummy.
i’ve been told “skinny people don’t have problems”. You can’t complain about struggling with body love because you’re already what society deems desirable. But that doesn’t matter. Forty pounds ago i was displeased with my body, and i’m still displeased.
It’s a contented displeasure. That doesn’t make sense. Maybe it’s more of a resigned displeasure. i can nitpick, and bemoan my scars and stretch marks, but i know that my body is my body, and it deserves love and care.
And so i rub lotion into my skin, paint my nails, straighten my hair, and try to love every piece of myself. Even as i grow and change. Especially as i grow and change.
My stretch marks, the ragged lines up my thighs and hips, tell the story of a growing teenager.
The scars on my thighs, white lines across my already weakened skin, are a reminder of a battle i fought and won.
My feet are a solid foundation. The muscles in my calves and thighs won me blue ribbons in track and field.
Wide hips are a reminder my femininity, of the strength my body has.
i’m allowed to take up space