Like many women, I have had a love/hate relationship with my body for years. I've written before about having an eating disorder, as well as partaking in disorderly eating (the two are somewhat different, in my opinion), and lately I've been noticing some disordered eating habits from my past return, as well as the general violence I inflict upon myself through my negative self-talk. It's all very troubling to me, because I (and others) see myself as this super strong feminist woman. And that's the thing... my feminism is about not giving a shit; not caring what others think; not bowing down to societal mainstream culture that tells me I must be a size 2 to be worthy of love. Thus, I feel like a feminist fraud when I have these feelings of self-doubt and low self-esteem. I had the sanskrit word for non-violence, "Ahimsa", tattooed on my forearm to remind me to be kind to others as well as myself. It hurts knowing that I'm generally unkind to myself. I catch myself thinking things like, "If only I could chop off this part of my thighs, or slice off part of my belly, or make my nose smaller..." There is so much violence in these thoughts. The use of words like, "chop" or "slice" when thinking about my own body is abhorrent. It needs to stop. I need to stop.
I feel like, as feminists, we're supposed to love our bodies regardless, which is great, but what if I'm still struggling to love mine? I don't feel like there is a space to talk about that with other feminists. I worry I'll be seen as being "body negative" or something. I also worry that my feminism will be jeopardized. People may begin to look at me as weak or stupid for letting sizeist society affect me.
Sometimes when I'm in a yoga class, and an instructor is assisting me into a pose, or giving me a nice shoulder massage during half pigeon, I catch myself feeling bad that they must touch me. How fucked up is that? I legitimately think to myself, "Ugh, I bet they're thinking how large I am." My mindset is warped in thinking that people view me in disgust. Who knows what the instructors are thinking, but as an instructor myself, I know I have never thought anything like this when assisting a student, so I really have no cause to believe an instructor would think this of me. Part of this all could be related to having been raped eight years ago. It's something I haven't delved into that deeply.
I am fit and healthy. I practice heated power yoga daily (sometimes twice a day), and I eat generally well (aside from a few hiccups). It's difficult for me to realize sometimes that this is my body, and even if I were to lose weight, I'm not going to look like anyone but me. I will never look like those airy yoga girls. I don't have the bone structure for that. I have broad shoulders. I have muscular legs. I have a fairly sizeable ass. I have medium-sized breasts. I need to realize this is all ok.
I also need to acknowledge my "skinny" friends' beauty without it affecting my self-esteem. I need to stop being so jealous of what I don't have. I mean, I know that comparing myself to others will always make me feel like a loser. I have to love my large nose, my big eyes, my small lips, my large forehead, etc. I need to recognize my own beauty.
Why is this so difficult? Why can't we as women love ourselves as is and each other? I want to practice less jealousy, less comparisons, less grrrl-on-grrrl hate. Who's with me?