Thursday, August 4, 2016

Body Image: I'll remember not to look

My hopes were high as I began browsing the Plus Size section-- interestingly enough, it was the smallest section of the store. The variety was even smaller. I was left to choose between a ridiculous patterned tent-like shirt or a hideous body-hugging top which would show all of my fat rolls as well as how many I had eaten at dinner last night.

I grabbed a few of the less-ugly articles of clothing and headed for the fitting room. I saw myself in the mirror-- my shirt snug against my mid-section. How did I become so big again?

My eyes moved to my thighs. While they've always been large, they were always "firm"-- if that makes sense. This time, they looked lumpy, with purple veins spidering out across my legs like cracks in glass. My heart sunk-- a new level of self-hatred achieved. These things don't start to happen when you're only thirty years old.

One by one, I tried on each article of clothing. The top that I somewhat liked looked crooked across my body, and not because it was styled that way--it was simply cheaply made.

I wondered if whomever designed it, or sewed it, thought about the plus sized woman who might wear it one day. Was it an attempt to make a woman feel beautiful, or just another low-quality style that could be over-priced since plus size women have very few options when shopping for clothes?

And why do we even need mirrors? Couldn't we just imagine how we look based upon how we feel? At least then we wouldn't have to face the truth.

The times that I feel best about myself are the times when I don't think about my body or worry about my food choices. I'm able to live in the moment, enjoy a good conversation, savor a delicious bite of food-- to just be, with no judgement or rules.

The moment I look in the mirror and see the shape that is growing ever rounder, plumper, and fuller-- I begin to feel desperate, helpless, and afraid. Worst of all, I feel so much shame and self-hatred that I question whether I even deserve to have a body for my soul to dwell within.

I can't shake the image of my lumpy thighs. I find that I'm wearing a larger size than ever before. My mood grows darker. When I leave the fitting room, I can't even look people in the eye because I am so ashamed and confident that they are judging me by my size.

And the only thing that I have on my mind is how I will get some chocolate.

Logically, it doesn't make any sense-- but somehow, my emotions have taken over every part of my being. And it has been this way for a long time. My emotions take over and the only way I know how to deal with them is by food-- and that's not even effective in the long run.

Will there ever be a way out-- some chance of escape? Likely not.

I'm here in the only body that I will ever have-- fat, defeated, and fearful. I know that my body is trying to save me by causing these urges to eat. It's a way to cope. In times of restriction (dieting), my body has a primal urge to save myself because it thinks I'm starving. If I were starving, this would be a good thing, but I'm not-- far from it.

All that I want is freedom, but I feel imprisoned in my body and in my thoughts. I know that it's ridiculous and that I have so much to be grateful for. My body is just trying to save me even though I am destroying myself.

I understand that I am not a victim, but I don't understand how to truly take control. Maybe I try to have too much mental control over things that my body should be able to tell me naturally-- when I'm truly hungry, what I need to eat, etc.

For now, the next time I'm in front of a full-length mirror, I'll remember not to look at my thighs.

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