I don’t know if I will ever have a healthy relationship with food or my body. I can’t remember a time when anything about that part of my life has been normal. I cannot fathom what it would be to look like in the mirror and not be filled with disgust. Similarly, I don’t understand what it is like not to rethink every meal I’ve eaten (not unlike the way I replay in my mind over and over the most recent awkward thing I said).
Even in losing 100 pounds, I always felt like my body was never good enough. While I raved about how great I felt (I did), I still secretly hated the way my body looked. My boobs sagged, my stomach needed tucked, my skin was still covered in the turquoise mountain ranges of stretch marks. After regaining the majority of that weight back (due to the unsuccessful rounds of fertility treatments), my body disgusts me. I look back at my thinner self, and I can appreciate it now. But never in the present – not ever.
With food it’s always been the old anxiety causing game of guilt and shame. From early adolescence to early adulthood, I starved myself until I finally broke down and ate something, which was immediately followed by purging. Even after that cycle was broken, food has always held some sort of weight over me (pun not intended). For a while I used food as a means of defiance. Then I used it as an obsessive tool to become healthy. Most recently I have found myself binging. I have somehow had myself convinced that because I am no longer purging, binging isn’t really a problem. Except it is.
I berate myself daily because I will never be pretty enough, fit enough, or thin enough. My hair will never be smooth enough or curly enough. My skin will never be free of lumps and bumps and landscapes of stretch marks and scars. My boobs will always be long and low. My arms will always be flappy, my thighs wide and full of divots. My nose is bumpy, my chin is fat, my cheeks too full, my skin too patchy, my fingers too long, and my moles too abundant. My stomach is the recipient of most of my hate. The way it bulges out and hangs down disgusts me. The way it spills over the tops of my pants is repulsive. If Mr. B accidently brushes my torso, I become nauseous and shrink into myself.
I have a day of stress and I eat. And eat. And eat. Not salads. A shameful amount of empty calories and sugar and carbs. I raid the cabinet containing Little K’s snacks and then am ashamed when I have to deny his request for a granola bar. I am never full in these moments – never satisfied. I can eat a week’s worth of calories in one sitting and still need more. In a society where a woman merely mentioning she is hungry is shameful, binging is downright reprehensible.
I always thought that being an adult would make these things easier. Maybe it’s the addiction that runs through the bloodlines that created me. Maybe it’s my tendency to reside in my anxious mind. Maybe it’s the daily battle to not let depression swallow me whole. Maybe it’s my need to control all the things. But it’s not easier. In fact it’s more complicated. Because I am someone’s mom, someone’s wife, someone’s employee. Regardless of my self-hatred, I have to keep myself together even when I am falling apart.
I feel like people likely laugh when they see me enter a vehicle donning a CrossFit sticker. They probably scoff when they see me in Yoga pants. Or, more likely, they don’t see me at all. I am surely as invisible as I feel.
Often, when I write like this, I am the target of criticism for not being funny enough or upbeat enough. But I always try to be authentic. I need to be genuine. And real life isn’t always rainbows and daisies. I am certain we are all fighting our very own battles – and in the grand scheme of things, maybe hating my body and having too much food at my disposal isn’t the worst possible thing. But if we present ourselves in a way that glosses over the hard stuff, then what is the point of writing about life anyway?
If I had a solution, I would share it with you. But I don’t. Life is much more complex than simple questions with definite answers. I don’t know how to stop stuffing my face and hating this vessel in which I live. I’ve been waiting for this period to pass, but it hasn’t. But I have faith that it will – certainly not permanently, but at least for a while. And a break from the clouds to see the sun shining in the turquoise morning sky every once in a while is all I really need to keep climbing toward wellness.
Thank you for keeping me In Good Company.
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