‘’You look like a walking skeleton!’’,I heard being said behind me, as I was walking out of my University Campus. It was the billion times I heard that type of sentence. I closed my eyes and wanted to dissolve into the concrete road I was walking on. I felt hurt, unattractive, I knew I hated my body.
I have always been a ‘’petite’’ girl, no matter how much I ate. As soon as I was taken from the orphanage by my adoptive parents, I was stuffed with food. I guess they were pitying me and believed that country side home made food will miraculously transform me.
When they realized it was actually not working, I started feeling their fear of being judged by the others. I can clearly remember my father nervously rubbing his forehead and telling me : ‘’You are so slim, eat more, people will think we are not feeding you properly!’’. He even prepared me a sand punching bag in the back yard so that I can ‘’get some muscles’’. It was not more food that I needed then, or the punching bag, it was the feeling of being accepted for what I was.
My body image got even worse when I grew up and wanted to wear short skirts or skinny jeans. I was not allowed to wear them because the others would see my gap. I felt so ashamed with my body that I started hating being a girl, I hated becoming a woman. Do you remember the 90’s baggy style? I was wearing that style, but not by freedom of choice. I had to dress like that in order to cover my body’s imperfections.
I started obsessing about it. Looking for every single type of diet that could help me gain weight and taking all the possible vitamins that I knew would get me to the desired image. I even went on a one month McDonalds diet, but ended having stomach issues instead. Deep down, I knew I was doing this because of all those people who bullied me, but it became so familiar to me that I finished by believing I was the ‘’flawd’’one. I had to do everything in order to fill in the standards that the mentality in which I grew up was putting in.
Moving out of my country was the moment things started to change. Seeing that other people are just like me, that other women are allowed to wear whatever they wanted, helped me gain some confidence. Meeting and speaking to other women who were struggling as well with their body image brought me clarity and compassion. I started having questions from women and men with regards to my secret about remaining slim and fit. My answer to all of them was ‘’It is my body and I have always been like this’’. The more I answered, the more I realized I loved my body.
The changing point was when I started working on myself and on this belief related to my body image. I realized my body is my sacred temple and that loving it and cherishing it is the only thing to do. I realized that people bully and shame because, either they have been bullied and shamed, or because they project their frustrations so that they can release some of their pain. I realized that things said with regards to me, to my body could only hurt me if I let them to.
Does it sound familiar to you my dear? Where are you in your journey now?
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