Someone said to me the other day, “I’ve struggled with my body my whole life, too.”
I felt sad for this person, but it was the “too” that got me. It’s true that I spent many, many years fighting my body. Sometimes just mentally – hating it for its size and shape, wishing it would go away. Sometimes physically – through restrictive eating and compulsive exercise. Years of struggle! Most of my life, in fact. It’s exhausting and sad to think of the energy I’ve wasted struggling with my body. But I’m done with that now. The struggle is over for me, and I’m so grateful.
That isn’t to say that I don’t still have days when I’m blue about my size. I wish I had more clothing options that didn’t involve ordering stuff from websites and hoping it fits. I wrestle with the belief that I’m single because I’m fat. I catch a glimpse of my belly in profile, or my upper arm jiggling, and I cringe. But, on the whole, my struggle is done. Because even if I have those small stumbles, I now refuse to expend my energy trying to force my body to be something it is incapable of being (or, perhaps better to say, incapable of sustaining).
I haven’t been blogging much lately because I’m so busy working on my fiction. That takes loads of time and energy! And it’s truly my life’s purpose. My days are also full of other stuff – friends, family, work, working out, volunteering, voice over, the writing workshop I started, travel, and even television! – that are a much better use of my life than warring with my body.
One other thing about that “too.” (Such a little word – but so powerful.) The person who said that to me assumed that I have struggled the same as they have because I’m not thin. They weren’t wrong – and that makes me sad. We see a fat person and just know that they’re unhappy with their body, and wish they could be different, and spend their time trying to change. Because so many of us are and do those things! There are probably very few people in the world, if any, who haven’t spent some part of their lives engaged in some form of fight like this. So much energy, wasted.
If I had one wish for you, it would be for you to give up the struggle, too. How many years have you spent fighting your body? How much emotion have you burned up being angry or disappointed or ashamed of what you look like? Try to let that go. Don’t wait until you’re older. Start now. Think of the years to come: Imagine spending them in pursuit of what thrills and moves you, imagine spending them caring for your loved ones and yourself with purpose and energy, instead of fretting about how your thighs look in a bathing suit, loathing yourself for eating a slice of pie, refusing to have your picture taken.
You are loved, and lovable. Your body is unique, and powerful, and good. Yes, yours, right as it is at this moment. Not five or ten or one hundred pounds from now. Step up to a mirror, look yourself in the eye, and vow to put an end to the struggle. Embrace your body – literally, if you want! Say goodbye to the fight, bury it, and go live. I’ll meet you out there.