Throughout my childhood and adolescence, weight hardly concerned me. I was constantly active; I swam competitively and ran cross country for four years in high school. Restricting my portions was unheard of; it was crucial to eat in order to fuel the 2-3 hours of grueling practice after school. No one ever commented on my weight, no one ever told me to gain or lose weight. I fit into the smallest sizes in clothing stores, but never thought twice about it. Consequently, the first time I heard a negative comment about my body, it instilled a consuming, parasitic chain of thoughts that would severely compromise my mental and physical health.
During my senior year of high school, I stopped running competitively after I was accepted to my first choice school. Naturally, the muscles lost a little shape and a blanket of fat wrapped around me pleasantly. I was still un-phased by the change and accepted this as a neutral consequence of leaving track behind. I still loved the way I looked, I loved being able to fill in clothes a little more and having plumper, redder cheeks. However, this positive outlook on my appearance would soon become poisoned by the person I least expected: the first person I started dating seriously. All it took was one pinch of my lower stomach, a chuckle, and the words, “you should lose this.” Hearing those words was like crashing into a cement wall. How could I possibly need to lose weight? I’ve been underweight my whole life, but this person must really care about me so this person must be right.
Love became equated to thinness, achieving the body of the supermodel babes this person always talked about. I no longer became the one to determine how I should look, there was always some he that set the standards. It was a frustrating game that ran around in circles, “You’re too fat. You’re too skinny. You’re not the right kind of skinny. I wish you had more muscles like this girl.” The compliments on my body elicited no satisfaction whatsoever. I honestly did not care that people loved my abs or stick thin legs because I hated what I was doing in order to achieve them. Food and eating became a nightmare. Running, which used to be pleasurable and happy for me, enslaved me to burn more calories and lose more weight.
I’m now a sophomore in college and am still waging war against negativity in order to reclaim my agency over my body. I’ve finally escaped the abuse and misery of those previous relationships and found someone who refused to interfere with my weight and body image, “I don’t care if you gain 20 pounds, or lose 20 pounds, I’ll still think you’re beautiful.” Even though my first year of college was obscured by unspeakable despair, what I walked away with proves to invaluable. The power of words, especially from those you are trying to please, is enormous. However, no one who genuinely cares about you would push you to achieve impossible expectations in order to gain their acceptance and love. Currently, there is only one love affair I’m pursuing. I hope it lasts a lifetime. I’m trying to fall in love with the most wonderful person I know: myself.
I know what she needs and how to treat her right, she just needs to trust me. I want the best for her. I want her to enjoy those things she used to love so much. I want her to treat her to a cupcake or a nice meal without her feeling guilty afterwards. I want her to be able to run without thinking about how many calories she’s burning. I want her to look at us in the mirror and smile and feel blessed.
Anonymous | New York, NY | USA