I must love myself now. I must accept my past now. Not when I am some future thinner self or a self-actualized version of me. Now. Now is the only concrete form that I can grasp. I’ve been body shamed twice in the last month by family. Little do they know that in days, weeks and months leading up to their words, I too, rejected my body every single time I looked at it in the mirror. People are so pleased when you fit the mold of their personal definition of beauty. But when you don’t, it’s easier to shame and judge someone than to lovingly ask what happened. Well, I know what happened to me. I was forced to stop drinking. I was forced to make a drastic change, my future desperately depended on it. My self-esteem, my worth, my life was at stake. I was in danger. So I did it, I stopped drinking and when I did, I substituted food as an alternate to the lack of alcohol in my life. I was eating any and all the dessert I wanted, indulging in chips and soda. I was now in the comfort of junk food. Unconsciously, I was slowly killing myself through another channel because it too was taking a toll on my self-esteem and body. But as with any addiction, I didn’t care. I isolated myself to avoid the temptation of drinking and ate whatever I wanted, it was a solitude party and the invited guests were my favorite junk food. Before I knew it, I gained several pounds. Last summer’s clothes didn’t fit me. I had been looking in the mirror at my body sometimes in rejection and disgust, and others in denial as I soothed myself with words of encouragement.
I’ve realized that the body shamers are not the problem, they simply choose to express what everyone around me is perhaps thinking. The problem is me rejecting my present self. The problem is me continuing to hate myself. The problem is me not being okay within. The problem is this persistent unconscious cycle of abuse towards myself. If my inner thorns aren’t healed, anyone can hurt me with their words. In reality, there will always be people who choose to express what they’re thinking whether it’s negative or positive towards you.
You must be okay in the depths of your heart. You are the only one who can get yourself out of the current situation and you cannot pull yourself out through rejection and self hate. I know from personal experience where that leads, it injects you into some form of addiction. When I was a child, I dissociated when chaos struck. As I grew older, my entire life was the chaos and retreating via alcohol and drugs became the norm. Ultimately, when I couldn’t retreat with that, food became the new coping mechanism while my body continued to be the victim. So, I must love myself in order to pull myself out. I need to have my own my own back when negativity comes at me. By accepting myself and this journey I’ve been on, I can move forward. If not, I too, am rejecting me.
To my body shamers, thank you. Your rejection of my body pushed me to love myself. After feeling offended and hurt by your words, your expressed rejection of me prompted deep reflection. I understand what got me here and what I need most, acceptance of who I am and where I’ve been. You see, I am not only this body, I am a product of my past decisions, triumphs, failures and traumas. Once I begin to accept all of this story, I can steer myself toward the best version of me, slowly and gently, lovingly and patiently.