Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My Dear Body

Sometimes, out of nowhere, you get hit with thoughts that are significantly less than cheerful. They're a slow blue-green poison in your veins, and they last for days, weeks, months.
I have anxiety, and it likes to manifest itself in some really unpleasant ways. One of the most common: decisively un-stellar body image. While this it doesn't always happen because of my anxiety (everyone has days where they just don't like the way that skirt or dress fits), that certainly doesn't help to make it any less annoying and awful.
Sometimes, the best way to get rid of these toxic feelings is to pour them out and hope that the light can fill the gaps and take over. That doesn't always work, so the Next Best Thing is injecting some sunshine into that blue-green venomous darkness and hope for the best.

My Dear Body:
For the past twenty years (and some change), you've been my transport, my best tool, my home. You've let me run and climb and bake cakes for my best friends. You've endured my conflicting desires to curl up in bed and sleep for hours and go out for a run at three in the morning. You're strong, and soft, and endlessly forgiving.
My mind, however, is rarely any of these things; it's almost never all three together. I'm not sure if it's ever been as kind and gentle as you, My Dear Body.
My belly consists of many curves and rolls and whitish pink stretch marks across the skin. My arms are covered in rough skin and banners of softness that society demands I feel shame for. My legs are arching and powerful and scarred all over. I see these things, the little fat-induced dimples on my thighs (and sometimes calves), the scabs and scars and freckles and moles, the nail that grows a little funny, the thin lower lip, and I want to love them like I do so many other things. I see the way fabric stretches and curves over that soft belly, and I wish my love (or even like) was unconditional.
Far too often, I see my body in the mirror and I feel it wash over me like a tsunami, sweeping me to sea and leaving me empty and ravaged. It is shame. It is sadness. It is anger, fear, a myriad of bad under the skin. It is this darkened and cobwebbed thing that ruins me.
It isn't because I'm fat. God, no. I could think and feel these things even if I was a perfectly toned size four. Sometimes, I'm vicious and harsh to myself, and that almost always manifests itself in terrible body image days/weeks/months.
My Dear Body, I'm sorry for these days/weeks/months. You're so good to me, and in turn, I tear into you, looking for bone marrow. When these days/weeks/months surface, I need to remember.
I love so many parts of you, like
my eyes
the aquamarine tattoo of veins on the undersides of my wrists
my ankles
my wrists
the battle scars on my right knee
the little connect-the-dots collection of moles on my left forearm
my ridiculous hitchhiker's thumbs
the soft hook on the bridge of my nose.
Sometimes, it's difficult to love the whole of you, My Dear Body, and I'm sorry when that happens. I'm trying, though, and I won't ever stop trying. When these days/weeks/months appear, I promise to swim to the surface and let the sun warm my skin. I'll remember this list. I'll run or walk or do yoga, do something kind that allows me to remember what a good tool you've been for me. I'll put on a pretty dress and pretty shoes and rock out to Ludo whilst making myself look good. I'll bake a delicious pie (finally!) and revel in the happiness it brings for others, knowing that my hands are capable of this.
Though I forget it from time to time, I do love you, My Dear Body, and all you do for me.


  1. This made me smile from ear to ear :)

    1. I'm so glad! Sometimes, when you're faced with so much negativity, you have to counter it with some positivity like this.

  2. Aww very cute, I agree we all have those days and I know how you feel I have the same problem and you know what really works for me is going out and seeing my friends because they really cheer me up. I think you just need to find something that makes you happy and do it. :)


    1. Thank you! I don't always (or even often, really) have bad days like that, and I have developed quite a lot of coping mechanisms to help.
      Truth be told, this post isn't solely one of those mechanisms. I mean, it helped (a lot), but it's also a bit of a springboard for a new project I'm starting very soon!

  3. I love your writing, you have a wonderful, enchanting stream of conscious style. I relate a lot to this post as I think you can be the most body confident, fat positive person in the world and still have days when looking in the mirror actually hurts. Writing lists like this is a great because you can look back and think hey just because I feel like shit now doesn't mean I always will nor does it define me. :)

    1. Thank you very much! I find it difficult to balance my more creative writing style with blogging (similes aren't really as useful here as they are with creative writing, unfortunately), and I love getting the chance to write a bit more closely to that.
      And we all get hit in the chest with it sometimes, and I think it's something that's sort of overlooked. We spend so much time as Awesome and Cool Fat Girls that even a second of self-hate feels like absolute failure, and no one ever says that it's completely okay. Except a few people do, and I think that's the single most important thing to tell people. That it's okay. Sometimes, you need something like the list or whatever to remind you that you are incredible, too.
      I dunno, I lost my point somewhere. Haha.

  4. "Sometimes, the best way to get rid of these toxic feelings is to pour them out and hope that the light can fill the gaps and take over"
    This whole thing is beautiful Sarah, thank you for writing it.

    1. Thank you so much! It's hard to admit to having bad days, and this has absolutely helped me tremendously. It's like admitting that it's okay not to feel totally stellar all the time.