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.
Your body has been smaller so that’s why you’re taking photos of yourself in side profile so you can go on some sort of diet (aka “lifestyle change”) and this will be your before photo. Your body has also been bigger than this but you’ve tried to forget that time because you were dating someone who was a feeder, someone who wanted you bigger, someone who didn’t love you at all. Your body will get smaller again in the future. It will also get bigger again. Through all of this change, you will think you have it figured out and then you will realize that controlling the size of your body forever is a full time job that doesn’t make you any happier. It will make you feel more accepted though. When you’re smaller you will be relieved because it’s easier to navigate this world in a smaller body. You’ll be thrilled because people will be congratulating you for being so “good”. You’ll also be constantly sore from working out. You’ll also be constantly foggy from giving up carbs. You will replace food with powders and bars. You will also look for shortcuts to keep yourself smaller. You will go see a ‘medical professional’ who will give you weekly b12 shots and Phentermine. They’ll monitor your blood pressure, warn you of the side effects but it’s no big deal.
It’s totally ok. You’ll be fine. You’ll be less hungry!
You will basically be on regulated speed which makes you forget about food. For the first time in your life food will be at the bottom of the totem pole of priorities. You will be busy with meal prep and measuring out your 12 pistachios and 15 blueberries into tiny containers for snacks. You will not tell people you are on weight loss drugs because it feels so deeply shameful. You’ll be busy expelling all that extra speedy energy into multiple spin and circuit classes a day. You will overwork your tired body and not fuel it correctly. You will wear down your knees and require surgeries.
But that’s ok because you’ll remain small! the drugs will make sure of it!
Until they don’t.
Until, like most drugs, you’ll need more of it to have the same effect.
It will take injury to make you slow down.
Your body will feel broken in many ways. But it will also get better because you’ll start feeding it again, letting it rest again.
You will stop seeing this ‘medical professional’ for b12 shots and phentermine. You will think about going back when your knee heals.
Your knee will never really heal.
Your brain will feel really bad about a lot of this. It will be resentful of the weight you will gain. It will be mad that your body will require this much rest and down time. Your brain will tell you that you are failing. You will continue to believe that you are failing at life because of the size of your body and how it is growing and growing.
Your body just wants to live in it’s natural state. Your brain will be mad it doesn’t fit into some of your favorite clothes anymore.
You will feel this sense of failure every time you see yourself in a mirror. You will stop knowing what you look like, the dysmorphia is too much so you avoid it.
Your brain will be mad that you are eating pizza on a more regular basis. Your brain will be mad that you are no longer working out every day of the week. Your brain will be mad about a lot of things.
Your body will start to forgive you for years of food restriction. Your body will forgive you for all the Phentermine you fed it that made your heart beat loudly in your throat and fried your nerves until it turned you into Jesse Spano in that ‘Saved by the Bell’ episode where she took caffeine pills.
Your brain will get tired of being mad at your body and will start to get mad at diet culture. Your brain will do research on the harms of weight cycling. You will search for community. You will find others with similar stories and your brain will start to understand what your body has been through. You will realize you are not alone in this struggle.
Your brain will still see pictures of other women and will still question the lingering want that sits in the back of your throat that makes you question everything, despite how much you’ve evolved and grown into something much more than this vessel you live in.
Your body may get even bigger. Your body may get smaller. This is not new and you need to know that it does not matter because you are still you inside of this ever changing mass of cells. There will be times where you will not like your body very much. Somedays you will hate it. On good days you will feel neutral about it. You may love it someday but, no pressure, you are not required to love it.
Yes. You are not required to love your body.
You are however required to cherish and care for the soul that lives inside this body. She’s pretty amazing. She doesn’t believe this very often but the simple fact that she exists and that she loves…that is enough. That has always been enough.”
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.