I want to preface this by saying that this post will not be for everyone, but it is for someone.
Body image is a topic that a lot of people are talking about lately, but it’s not a topic that I feel like many people talk about honestly. As these conversations become more frequent, I am noticing a surge in people deciding which types of bodies get assigned positive feelings, and which do not. There is a faux concern for the health of people who are larger. There is a weird belief that people who are thinner are healthier. And society bounces from one extreme to the other, never accounting for the dangers of basing self-worth and self-love on the amount of space you do or do not take up in the world.
I was conditioned in an environment where being fat was negative, unattractive, and something to be fixed immediately. I’d been told that people wouldn’t hire fat people. I’d been told that being fat inherently meant I was unhealthy. However, as I am, I am at the healthiest I have ever been. And this is because of a healthy internal talk surrounding body image.
One thing I’ve uncovered since starting therapy is that I have an eating disorder. It’s not something that I’ve told many people, and it’s also something that I struggle every day with controlling. Aside from picking at my plate little by little, often times convincing myself I am full before I finish eating, I also tend to skip meals. When I do eat, my body is starving, which results in me eating too quickly and not chewing my food correctly. Most times after I eat, I experience what is called rumination syndrome, which essentially means that most days, my body doesn’t really get what it needs. This has been something that I’ve been experiencing since I was about eight years old, ever since the first time someone in my family had started to fixate on my weight.
Going out to eat with someone is something I dread. I typically end up doing most of the talking so that I can allow that person to eat. Then, I’ll take my leftovers home and pick at them until I feel sick, and the process starts all over again. However, this doesn’t come across as such, it comes across as Cydney is eating again, even though she just went out to eat.
My body is my own, as are my issues, but, people like me are often times looked over in these conversations. Being a fat black woman means that it is assumed that I overeat or eat bad foods, and also that any aches and pains my body feels are often times attributed to my weight, and not to the fact that my body is basically malnourished, and I am tired constantly because my body has no energy to feed off of.
I say all not to trigger anyone, but to say that in spite of recognizing all of these things about myself, I made it a personal goal to begin to love myself anyway. A positive body image and self-love didn’t have to begin with a desire for weight loss; I realized I should love my body because it gets me from day to day, despite the hateful words and harmful habits I force it to endure.
I know that removing people’s power to determine whether or not I deserve a life full of love, happiness, and many career opportunities has helped me a lot. Knowing I’m not alone helped, too.
We’re not alone.
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