I was 11 years old, eating strawberries. My brother snarled and said “Why are you eating all of the fucking strawberries? You already weigh too damn much. Stop eating all of the food in the house”.
6th grade, my neighbor called me Goldilocks and told everyone that the reason I was so fat was because I ate the 3 bears.
7th grade, a boy I rode the bus with told me that I should stop eating so many donuts.
8th grade, 9th grade, and 10th grade, I failed Physical Education because I refused to change into my gym clothes in front of the other girls.
Today, I weigh 182 pounds and I am at the happiest I have ever been. I am at the healthiest I have ever been. I do not love my body everyday, but I am thankful for it. I do not feel attractive in my body every day, but I know that it can do everything that I need it to. This has not always been true.
This time last year, I weighed 145 pounds. At 145 lbs and 5’9”, I was a pretty average American woman. At least that’s what I was able to convince people with my body. For 4 months, I ate a Powerbar a day and drank 50 ounces of water and 2 cups of coffee. No one around me knew that I was literally making my body vanish because I was so unhappy.
At 17, I learned to deal with sadness and grief by starving myself. If I am always hungry, I cannot focus on the sadness. If I am hungry, I cannot possibility be concerned with anything else but the growling in my stomach.
I was dropping at least 1 pound a day.
At 145 pounds, I could see every bone in my body. I was obsessed with them. I would drag my fingers along my collarbone, hip, jaw line discovering an entire new self- a person that I had never met before. I would fixate on my naked body in the mirror. I measured my hips, waist, thighs, and breasts every single day.
This battle I have had with my body and what nourishes it is terrifying to talk about.
Because what kind of feminist am I if sometimes I think the body I live in is ugly and undeserving? If some days it is too painful to look in the mirror? What kind of feminist am I if I cannot be positive about my body in the way that I hope my sisters will be positive about theirs? What kind of woman am I if most days I cannot be naked in front of my partner with the lights on? If I hold my breath when he kisses my stomach? What kind of woman am I if I cannot bring myself to put on half the clothes I own out of fear they won’t fit?
Every day is a threat to hate the body I live in. Every commercial, magazine ad, compliment from a friend is a dare to stop eating. A sinister call that begs me to hate myself.
Some days I hate my body, and that is okay. Some days I do not want to look in the mirror, and that is okay. Some days I do not want to tell anyone that I weigh 182 pounds and I am trying to love myself every way that I know how. Being a woman means being a thing that the world thinks it owns. Being a woman means being in a battle every day we wake up. Being a woman means that some days the world will only see you for the body that you live in and not the thing that lives inside of it.
I weigh 182 pounds and sometimes that is the hardest truth that I have to admit to myself. Here’s to the most difficult truth, to the truth that begs to be swallowed and buried in the pit of the stomach. Here’s to coughing it up, even when it hurts.