I had a moment of panic yesterday. I was getting dressed, and before I put on my shirt, I saw myself in the mirror. I haven’t swam hardly at all since before I graduated. Which is normal- I did it every year. The problem is that I still ate like I was swimming, which caused me to gain weight. And that is not a bad thing. I must keep telling myself this. When I realized how much I’ve grown since the end of school, I felt sick. I felt like my mirror was distorted and like I was somehow all of a sudden less desirable. I felt like I could, for once in my life, relate to the girl in the book my roommate lent me called Letting Ana Go. It’s a really good book which accurately portrays a girl struggling with anorexia, until *spoiler alert* she dies. It’s a very sobering reality, and to view her struggle through her diary is painful. But to be able to relate was even worse. To imagine her drawing the red circles around “trouble spots” and severely restricting her diet to meet that standard of beauty is scary. Because I understand it, in my own head. Now I’m not going to stop eating. I know better. Just the fact that I am having this response of fear is good, because it means that I will make healthier choices, rather than crash diet or spiral out of control. Anyway, I love food too much to be hungry. But I was scared to think that society has finally gotten to ME. I’ve always resisted the ideas that I needed to change who I was to be good enough. But secretly, I’ve always been glad that I had a high metabolism and swimming to hold me accountable. Because otherwise I feared I would not have been happy with myself.
What if this doesn’t go away? It’s unsettling and disturbing to suddenly feel unhappy with my body, disgusted with the way I look in a dress that I used to love. Angry that I can no longer fit into my skinny jeans. The name itself is an insult, honestly. I mean, because I’m not “skinny,” I’m not desirable or attractive or acceptable? And now, I’m closer to the average size in America.
I know for an 18 year old college student, 5’4” and 140 pounds is normal and more than acceptable. It’s pretty much expected for typically average people. But I put on the freshman 15 before I was even a freshman, and I don’t want to keep adding more. So I already gave up Dr. Pepper, which is terribly difficult because they have it in the bean (our cafeteria) and I am very much craving it.
I feel this self hatred for my body, my physical self, which I never have before. I used to be uncomfortable with certain body parts, maybe. I used to hate some of my mannerisms, mindsets, or some of the things I said or thought or did. But I never despised seeing myself in the mirror. This is new and scary. I’m not sure how to get rid of this negative mindset. Maybe it’s built up stress from school and people, plus I no longer swim to de-stress, all colliding with the fact that my clothes don’t fit as well anymore. It’s utterly terrifying to all of a sudden realize that I’ve dug myself into a deep pit of insecurity and body image issues. I know how hard it is to escape. But I am just trying to acknowledge it now, out loud, so that I can keep myself accountable and try not to be consumed by this.
Song of the Day: Beautiful, Beautiful by Francesca Battistelli