Body Story ~ Jen D.

Written by: Center for Body Trust

Categories : Body Stories

Body stories are largely missing from the zeitgeist of our time. We are often reluctant to dive into our body stories because we believe they are too taboo to share or too boring to be of interest or value. 

In Reclaiming Body Trust, we shared body stories of those who have defied the standard narrative of body apology, instead demanding care and deep respect. These stories, once unearthed, encouraged others to share theirs, too. 

Here is Jen’s Story.

My Body Story is long and complex.

My Body Story is still being written.

There is trauma and redemption.

There is heartache and love.

There is disappointment and acceptance.

There is everything and nothing.

As Sri Nisargadatta suggested “Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. Between the two my life flows.”

So what snapshot to share out of this vast flowing river of time and flesh? How do I even begin or end?

There is the story I believe I should share. The story of my childhood. The book I wrote when I was 10 years old titled Fat, Fat, Fat. The shame, the pain, the anger that lived bound up there for so long. However, I have worked through so much of that sticky story. Much of the pain has transformed to action and passion. I have a cohesive story and voice around it. I have told much of that story.

I want to authentically answer the invitation of the Body Story Archive project to:  

Tell us the story you always needed to hear.

So I went down into my heart and my body, my spirit and soul and asked: What is still sticky? What are the anger and rage and sadness and fear still bound up around?

My mind popped back to a time, perhaps some of the darkest moments of my adult life. At the height of my symptoms of anxiety and eating disorder, I was disorganized, fearful, and semi-starving and I came under the care of a Chiropractor who offered a form of nutritional testing. I was told to restrict even more of my food choices: no eggs, no dairy, no wheat. This was devastating to my mental and physical health. Which I now know are inextricably woven together, and not so easily separated as for someone to so easily claim to know better than I do what nourishes me. Harm was done.

Judith Herman explains “psychological trauma is an affiliation of the powerless. At the moment of trauma, the victim is rendered helpless by overwhelming force. She goes on to say that “traumatic events overwhelm the ordinary systems of care that give people a sense of control, connection, and meaning.”

My experience with the Chiropractor was trauma. I was not given choices. I was told what to do. Things were not clearly explained, options were not presented. I was not truly seen. There was no connection. I felt like the last ties to my autonomy, my own knowing, my ability to care for myself were cut.

I hobbled home. I restricted the foods. I gained a last breath of superiority around the restrictions and being a “good girl”, following the directions I was given. Then something in me snapped. That day I walked into my bathroom, I looked in the mirror at my jeans hanging on my hips. At my listless eyes and felt the stark terror of losing myself. A question bubbled up. Did I want to die? The question echoed around in my almost abandoned body. Then, miraculously, a spark in my belly ignited. I knew the answer: No. I wanted to live. I grabbed onto a rope, a rope I thought had been cut, and pulled myself up into my eyes and I saw myself. The real me. I would save myself, somehow, some way I would.

I did. All the while eating eggs, dairy, and wheat.  

I learned to be a good enough eater. I learned that quinoa gave me gut wrenching stomach aches, so I avoid it. I learned I hate fresh parsley. I learned I do not have to be perfect. I do not need to relentlessly pursue perfect health, or perfect eating. I learned to relax. I learned to trust myself. I learned to take in nourishment in the form of food, the support of others, self-compassion and love. I learned I am powerful and have important work to do in the world.

I learned I am good enough.”

~Jen D.

What is the story of your body?

Collectively, we need to hear more body stories of others in order to feel less alone in our own. If you’re open to sharing your body story, we invite you explore our body story prompts and submit your own story here.

Your story has the power to change how we regard all bodies. Thank you for telling it.


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