I have a diary entry from when I was about 9 years old that was focused on the fact that I weighed 72 pounds. I vividly remember writing that number down and circling it in my diary.
When I was younger, “Twiggy”, was the popular model. You can imagine how she got her name, and the message it sent to all of us females. I started smoking cigarettes on and off starting in 6th grade – never getting addicted, because truthfully, I hated it. It smelled awful, and I would get nauseous more often than not. I continued, though, because it would make me skinny, and that was the goal – right?
I drank my first slim fast in 6th grade. One day, I almost passed out in gym class from a lack of food. The fu*cked up part? I wasn’t afraid. It made me feel like I was getting somewhere with my weight. I was going to be skinny, and everything would be ok.
Throughout middle school, I was bullied HEAVILY for breaking up with a boy that apparently wasn’t “allowed” to be broken up with. He and his “popular” friends had a blast with me for three years straight. I spent my days in the nurses office convinced I was going to vomit on a daily basis.
In high school, swimming was a mandatory part of PE class. I feared freshman year more for that reason, than anything else. I had my parents plead with a friend of ours, who was a Doctor, to write a note stating that I couldn’t swim due to my skin being sensitive to chlorine. That wasn’t real…but the hatred towards my body was.
The summer before college, my OCD and anxiety had taken on a life of its own and I was sick. I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t going to the bathroom (duh – there was nothing in there🙄). I had irrational fears of fainting (again-thanks OCD), so driving alone anywhere was a big ordeal. I got down to 110 lbs before college, and my hip bones were showing. I was nauseous 100% of the time, every day. People complimented me.
“Nina, you look so thin. Are you ok?”.
I looked sick. Thin – but sick. I felt like I was supposed to be happier than I was. I mean, I had wanted to be thin since I was a small child…at 72 pounds.
Undergrad and grad school were both met with my fair share of internal body shaming, but frankly – those four years were also some of the best years of my life. I was preoccupied with college life.
Now, I’m 39 and I have two children. My life and body have changed quite a bit over the years…and so has my mind. Now, my inner monologue leads me to create moments like the one I had a few hours ago…
😬I TOUCHED MYSELF IN THE SHOWER TONIGHT😬
But…not in the way you’re thinking…
I touched the parts that I’ve argued with my entire life. As the water ran down my body, I saw the wet beads travel across a terrain that once seemed so foreign to me – especially after two kids. The water didn’t travel straight down, and it didn’t travel smoothly. It changed directions, and sometimes it pooled in my bellybutton that now hangs differently from a bellybutton piercing scar. It’s now a stretched surface from growing two humans. Sometimes, I even lost track of where the water went.
After trailing down my stomach, it cascaded down the sides of my hips. Hips that surround a womb whose cervix failed to open wide enough to let either of my kids pass through “naturally” (I heavily dislike that word when it comes to birthing, FYI). Because of my stubborn cervix, both children were removed surgically, as proven by the two *almost* symmetrical scar lines above my bikini area.
Then, my thighs. Talk about topography! The cellulite, the dimples, the curves…all of it.
As all of this was happening, I let my hands move across my body in a way that didn’t say, “I hate you.” I touched those parts with apologetic hands. I squeezed the soft parts and thanked it for being good to me when I was so damn awful to them for so long. I smiled at my stomach for carrying two kids, for loving just about every food out there, for being strong underneath the sub-Instagram quality surface, and for simply being mine.
I squeezed my thighs to purposely feel the soreness from the leg workout that I HAPPILY did yesterday, because I was able to – not something that everyone has the ability to do.
I even looked at my damn boobs! Yup! One is smaller than the other (FYI very common). They aren’t perky and porn-like. They are mine. And after seeing too many of my loved ones lose theirs – I no longer dare to take them for granted.
So, next time you see me post a bikini picture, or twerk for the whole world to see – understand this…
It’s NOT because I love my body all the time, and I certainly don’t have a magazine body. It’s because I have learned to ACCEPT it – with kinder words, softer hands, healthier thoughts, and as many well-deserved orgasms as I can possibly provide it. So, there’s that…