Updated: Jun 6, 2022
The longest and most toxic relationship I’ve had has been that between my mind and body. The two fight between what I know and how I feel. I’m stuck somewhere between this journey of relentless self-love and being like 15 minutes on the other side of incessant emotional trauma. I have tried to both physically run away from my mind and mentally detach from my body. Innate resilience plays a big part. Dissociation another. In the mix is my determination to be my most healed self. I’m doin’ alright but like all healing, it’s work.
A lot of the work with body stuff is unlearning all the shit that told you what your body was or wasn’t before you got a chance to fully decide for yourself. Genetics plays a big role, geography another, then there are cultural and outdated societal norms. Let’s not forget various trauma. For me, the result was body dysmorphic disorder. Body dysmorphia is an extreme focus on particular parts of the body, with a tireless desire for modification. It’s literally this voice in your head telling you all the ways that your body is inadequate and imperfect, no matter how much you work to improve it. (Pictured below: high school, grad school, and post grad school. In every photo body dysmorphia told me I needed to lose more weight.)
My history with eating disorders and body dysmorphia spans over 20 years, so I intentionally make an effort to be kind to my body. That means enjoying meals I eat, deliberately putting effort into cooking and also taking pictures as way to celebrate this beautiful canvas of brown that is my body.
I don’t remember when it started, but at some point, the desire to be “snatched” for my birthday became a thing. In the past, I restricted my diet and upped my work outs in preparation for an outfit or pictures. By putting unnecessary pressure on myself to lose weight for my birthday, I unintentionally reaffirmed this idea that my body as-is was not enough. And it also added preventable anxiety around a day meant to celebrate me.
This year was a little different.
Pre-birthday brunch 2022