I saw this meme a few weeks ago on a friends timeline and it shook me to the core.
I battle with insecurities about my weight everyday. I do not have a diagnosed eating disorder, but if I am honest, I have to acknowledge that I am more conscious of my body weight than I am of my gender or my race (yet, I know that these things are inseparable in terms of how I internalize and resist them).
Getting dressed each morning is either affirmation of my body operating within the idealized boundaries I have for it or confirmation that I unable to control my undesirable mound of flesh called my body. Either way, it’s a win or lose game. I go to sleep thinking about how my body is healing or hurting and I usually awake dreading presenting my inadequate body to others.
Despite this, randomly I have a ton of appreciation for my body and its marks, curves and disproportions and I have impromptu nude photo shoots alone in my bedroom. I send photos to my best friends, because in case you missed it, that’s what best friends are for.
What I do know, is that because this is such a struggle for me personally, I do not EVER like any comments from anyone about my body. For example, a friend the other day, assuming she was giving me a compliment (I think?) mentioned that I was “looking thick”. After a full week of working out and monitoring my diet and water in take, this comment hit me like a ton of bricks. Psychologically, I was checked out for the rest of the day.
I don’t like when any elders in my family mention anything about my weight. I see my body in all the mirrors in their homes (What is it with Black people and their mirrors anyway?) and I become disgusted with myself. At times, this disgust drives me to tears.
I wish I could pinpoint where these feelings come from. I don’t have pictures of Sarena Williams or Teyana Taylor plastered in my room. I don’t even have a perfect body that I dream of. All I know is that I am never quite satisfied with mine.
The cognitive dissonance comes into play when I have an internal battle in my mind about creating the self-discipline to work out and burn 1000 calories a day or to be “body-positive” and accepting of my body as it is and work out for a healthier me. I seriously, have yet to figure out, how to negotiate such a space.
It’s not that I want to be skinny. I have big boobies and fat thighs that I actually like. I sometimes look at pictures of thicker women and wish for their bountiful hips and full derriere.
And if you are wondering, all the guys that have shown sincere romantic interest in me have been nothing but loving, kind and appreciative of my body. So it ain’t about them, either.
As a Black woman, loving myself is a radical political act. My consicousness of this fact makes the work to engage my self-esteem on this issue not just important but critical to my leadership and activism.
Everyday I struggle, but I am working on it.