I usually avoid talking about, or thinking about how I feel, or what I think about my body. Oh, sure, I have mentioned it in passing, I am over-weight, and know it, but how I feel is another story altogether!
My first memories of body issues (self-awareness of looks) comes from when I was a pre-teen. I remember it very clearly. I don’t know how old I was, perhaps 10 or 11? I remember the cool water, my new purple and black bathing suit – my first, and last, two piece. Thing is, I also clearly remember the taunts only bothering me because “I was it” and could not catch anyone. It wasn’t until I was home and the taunts sunk in and had time to stew that I realized what it meant, to me.
Almost every kid in the neighbourhood was at the lake to swim. It was a hot summer that year, and we had been going there almost every day. Every age was there, from the 18 year old’s, to the 8 year old’s (By 7 or 8 most parents let their kids run free as long as they were in groups of 3 or more, or with an older sibling). I was uncomfortable in my bathing suit as it was. It kept ridding up, and since my breast were getting bigger each day (I developed VERY young), or so it seemed, I kept feeling like I was spilling out of my top.
The whole crew, all the kids, decided we’d play “killer Orca” Based off some movie or another. And this time, I was the Orca. Apparently, if my memory is correct, it had something to do with the design on my bathing suit, and the way I was spilling out “I looked like the Orca”.
By the time I got home, I was cold, angry (I hadn’t tagged a single person), alone (everyone grouped up and excluded me because “Well if you can’t tag even ONE person …”), and hating my bathing suit more and more. That was when I noticed my body. The slightly rounded belly, the wider shoulders, the bum that wasn’t flat, my breasts that were larger than any one my age. Back then, I didn’t clue in, or care, that this was how bodies developed, and I happened to be “blossoming” in to a woman’s body. I just knew I was different, I was larger, rounder, and softer than all the other girls my age. Never thought to look to older girls.
How much of the name calling, and taunting, during the game were about my body? I don’t know that I will ever learn that truth. Not without a time machine. But I sure know that a fair amount was my own doing. My own feelings about my body.
It makes me wonder just how much of my life I have wasted, worrying about my looks, my weight, fitting in, when it was just in my head?
I was looking at old photos the other day, and looking at pictures of myself. Back when I HATED my body (and everything about myself) and even tried dieting and stuff. I see those pictures now, with the eyes of someone who IS overweight and out of shape, and I want to slap the shit out of younger me.
I was a size 12 then, sometimes a 10. I had clear skin and perfect hair. WHAT THE HELL WAS WRONG WITH ME? I don’t mean to toot my own horn here, but I see those pictures of me and wonder “Wow. Who is the pretty girl?”
I do have a hard time combining the pictures I see with the memories in my head. How I remember what I looked like does NOT match up with the pictures.
So how much of where I am now with my body, was from others, and how much was a self inflected prophecy? And did others bully me about my weight because it showed I felt that way? Yes, I was not some thin model type. But I was so far from “fat”. I want to shake my younger self so badly.
BUT, this has taught me something to move forward with. And it is slowly working. When I see pictures of myself now, I try to look at them without the harsh judgment I have in the past. I try to look at them the way my husband does, or even my son, or a stranger.
I WILL rework my brain. I WILL change my vision to reality.
Doesn’t change the fact I need to get in shape, but does change my unrealistic goals, and makes it an obtainable goal.
I will love myself come hell or high water!