I don’t think I can accept my body.
I have no self-love left.
Just typing those words causes my chest to tighten like a vice; threatening to break the ribs protecting my heart. I feel disappointed in myself. Anyone who has followed this blog or follows me on twitter will know that I am an advocate of self-love. I truly believe that every human is beautiful, regardless of shape and size and that the world needs more self-loving. Which is why It’s so hard to reject myself so fully as I have been as of late.
I’ve struggled with body image for over ten years. I spent my formative teens bent over a toilet, forcing every ounce of food out of my body while starving it on the days when purging was not possible. Weighing and measuring my food, I calculated the calories of everything I consumed and correlated them with my self-worth. Before I realised it, I had torn myself down so brutally that it took a long time building myself back up, piece by piece. I had thought these days were behind me.
Yet here I am, typing this post, feeling ashamed of my weakness. Can I still preach self-love when I cannot even look in the mirror without wanting to scream? Can I stall ask others to love themselves and accept who they are when the feel of my own body makes me nauseous? I feel like I am letting more than myself down in my inability to accept who I am.
The truth is, I am desperate to change. Desperate to distance myself from the body I inhabit now, to create a new one, one that feels more like home. I long for a body that feels like a cosy night in on a winter’s evening, not a dank hut with walls that swell day by day. Just sitting here makes me feel frustrated; the dim echo of my body calling out to me, reminding me of every bump, curve and scar I almost forgot.
Once, not so long ago, I would shop with a smile. I was eager to show the world who I am. Now, I find myself timid and cowering in the face of fashion. Of sizes and cuts that will never sit right. I see women smile and sit sipping coffee, their clothes like a seconds skin; they seem that well suited. I see clothes I would long to wear fit perfectly on women with shapes that could fit twice in my shadow. In truth, I cannot bare it.
Even my face, once something I never some much trouble with seems to look different from how I remember. The shape looks distorted and my features squished like currents on uncooked dough. My hair no matter what I do seems to fall limp. To this day I have never found a haircut that truly suits me and looks like it belongs son my head.
In truth, I cannot bare it.
So I think I will change. I think I will once again tear myself down, only to build myself up stronger, with a structure that can withstand the battering of rain and doubt. I will take my time and try my best create a me that can not only be a safe place for me, but for those I love; for my friends, family, fiance, and future children.
But still, this niggling question is eating away at the corners of my brain. Tell me, my dear reader. Can I still ask others to love themselves, when I have no love for myself?