Body dysmorphia. Eating disorders. Self-hate. For most of my life, I’ve hated my body. I’d wear over-sized jumpers to hide my big hips. I was nicknamed J.Lo in school; to some it was a compliment, but to me it was a painful reminder that I wasn’t the stick-thin girl I aspired to be. I remember being 11 and wishing I could cut off my hips. I remember being 12 and wishing I’d be diagnosed with diabetes so that I’d have to stop eating anything sugary. I saw my mum dieting and fretting about sugars and waistline, so I thought if only I had the willpower – or the diagnosis- to steamroll myself into thinness. I remember being 13 and reading a novel about a girl with eating disorders, which gave me the perfect idea to emulate her. I went through bouts of anorexia, and the thinner I got, the fatter I felt. I remember being 14 and wishing I could way 40 kg despite my 162 cm. That’d be a bmi of 15.
I’ve always been at war with myself. People would comment on my small waist or perfect skin, and I’d hate myself for it even more. I’d hate the ‘commendable’ parts of me because I was stuck with the bad parts. So if I wasn’t perfect, those parts didn’t count. I hated my lack of will-power. I hated my genes for inheriting curves. I hated walking in front of people because I was convinced that they were looking at my fat behind and mocking me for it. I’d only buy tops and blouses because my upper part was acceptable and I could fit into the ‘normal’ 36 sizes. I never bought any bottoms; no trousers, skirts – nothing. Mum would get me those when she’d see that I had no intention of buying any of my own. As far as I was concerned, I’d wear that one skirt until I lost the weight, even if it took me years. I would not accept myself in medias res.
Of course, I couldn’t achieve my impossible demands. Self-hating and self-criticism are hardly positive factors to motivate one. I felt I didn’t deserve positivity because I was so hideous. It was a punishment. And for each time that I ‘failed’ at another starvation-stint, diet, or workout, I’d plunge deeper in depression which eroded my self-esteem. It was ironic; the more that I forced myself to achieve an ideal, the farther away from the ideal I’d end up.
I never stopped to think that perhaps my methods weren’t effective. No, it was because I’m a lazy cow who lacks will-power. See, the issue wasn’t my body. It was who I were as a person; I felt unlovable,undesirable,unhuman. I wanted to prove myself to others. I thought if people loved me, perhaps I could learn to live with my self-hate. If people approved of me, I could approve of myself. That’s why it was such an impossible feat to become stick-thin; it was deeply emotional and no amount of work out could shake it off.
Till this day, I have those thoughts. Tonight I realized ( reluctantly) that I had to accept myself for who I was now. Not 6 months from now. Not 6 dress-sizes from now. It was a tough pill to swallow. I went to my drawers and looked at the clothes I hadn’t worn for…years. I stopped buying myself clothes that fit me because I didn’t want to accept that I had become…fat.
Fat. Typing that word feels like being whipped. It’s the first time in my 25 years of living that I’m acknowledging this. I still don’t know how I’ll accept…this. But one step at a time. I removed all the clothes that didn’t fit me or that I hadn’t worn for long, and I realized ; I stopped buying clothes long ago. I was punishing myself for comfort eating. I was punishing myself for being punished by my self-punishment. -_-
My comfort eating has saved me from an early death. Every time that I felt like my heart was being pulled out from my chest, I drank coke. Every time I was reminded of my fatness, I drank coke. Every time I felt unlovable/ugly/disgusting/hopeless, I ate anything sugary to alleviate the tsunami of anxiety ripping through my body. I don’t eat food. Maybe once a week, or once every 10 days. My stomach can’t hold much anymore. I feel sick. I have to vomit if I eat the normal meal size for an adult. My body is not used to it. I make room for empty calories. I end up malnourished and devastated. My body has been there for me, supporting me when I didn’t want to live. It did what it had to do to survive by adopting unhealthy coping mechanisms, by shielding me from the immense pain that would emit from my mindset. It has been deprived of nutrients, scarred, vandalized by harmful foods. It has survived six suicide attempts and hundreds of pills. It’s carried me miles across the world. It’s stayed up with me on tv show-marathons because it knew I wanted to escape my toxic relationship with mum. It tolerated sitting cross-legged for 12 hours a day on my bed with my back bent over my laptop. It tolerated squinting at the bright laptop screen in the darkness of my room because I like darkness, it makes me forget where I am.
And tonight, I want to reconcile with it. I want to accept it. I want to accept my past and my pain and my present. I want to accept who I am so that I can eventually make lasting changes.
So, tonight I cleaned out my closet to make room for clothes I’m going to buy for the body I have. I cleaned out my mind to make room for who I am and the feelings I have. I cleaned out my heart to make room for the dreams I have.