Fat Is Not A Personality Trait
It sickens me that one of the most common issues plaguing young females today is that of body image distortion.
I say this as a person who once hated her body so much she welcomed the idea of going to extremes to obtain perfection. Whether it was by starving, purging, or over-exercising, if it “guaranteed” perfection, I would do it. It never occurred to me that the perfection I had in mind would never be obtainable. Nor did I realize that recovery would be a life-long struggle to relearn what it felt like to be full.
A year ago, I decided it was time that self-loathing relinquished its firm grip on my life. I did not consult a psychologist because I thought of my recovery as a journey I would need to take on my own, and I did just that. But this process has hardly been an easy one, for it required that I delve into personal issues and questions that I had previously, purposely, been avoiding.
The first question I had to ask myself, and possibly the most important one, was why and when did my self-loathing initially start. And the silly thing is, it all started when I fourteen years old, standing in the girl’s locker room, watching and listening to other girls compare their bodies to each others’. They were pinching the non-existent “fat” on their legs and bellies and exclaiming phrases like, “Ugh, I’m so fat. Look at my arms!” and “I have to work out more.” I, already a fairly thin girl, noticed that their legs were a smidgeon tinier than mine, and the idea that I was fat hit me like a bullet. The next few years of my life felt like a roller coaster ride that I couldn’t stop or get off of. By the time I had reached my bottom, I was literally and figuratively sick.
Today, the relationship between my mind and my stomach is incredibly unnatural. I have to set portion/caloric limits that I can neither exceed nor go under, and I still battle mentally over which foods to eat and which to forgo. I’ll never be able to replace the things I missed during the early years of high school, the experiences I never had because of my disorder, and the opportunities that I passed up. But I will be able to carry on and look forward to what awaits me just around the corner.
I wanted to write this to all the young girls (and boys) who feel as though they are inadequate because of what they perceive to be status-crippling, physical flaws. Don’t sacrifice a chapter of your life for something as insignificant as looking good in a pair of tight jeans. You are worth much more than that. Be strong, be proud, be confident, and don’t give a shit about what others think about you. I don’t want you to spend what could be the most exciting years of your life hating what should be loved.
Looking back, I realize that I was never fat. Fat is just a word, not a personality trait, not a person’s defining feature, not something worth feeling heartbroken over. It took me years to come to terms with those truths, but I’m finally doing it. And I’m finally FINALLY embracing the two body parts that I love the most: my heart and my brain.
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