It took me most of my adult life to be able to say I love my body. In fact, I spent most of my life hating my body and obsessing over what a “good body” looked like.
From a young age, I was terrified of having a bad body. My mother, with the best intentions - but a very specific idea of what a good body is, wanted so badly for me to be happy with my body that she put me on a diet - when I was in the first grade.
I remember not being allowed to have Twinkies. This girl at school had one and I eyed it like it was, well, a twinkie. This girl knew I was on a diet so she held it in front of my face and teased, “you can’t eat this, you can’t eat this.” Then she dared me to eat it. And I did. So I became known as the fat girl that ate Twinkies on a dare. At seven years old I hated my body.
Throughout school, I was always picked last for PE. So I never asked to sign up for sports. I never thought anything physical could be fun. My relationship with exercise only started as something to do to lose weight. It began as a punishment, not a reward. During my teens I hated my body.
When I was 16, I went on a family Trip to Italy. We were in the country that I now regard as having the best food in the world, and lugged around a suitcase of nutrisystem food. Instead of housemade pappardelle, I was eating diet pasta out of a can. I have a picture of me eating gelato in Venice and I still associate that photo with feeling guilty for eating ice cream. At 16 I hated my body.
In college, I had a meltdown in a Macy’s dressing room. I was trying on pants over the Holidays. I freaked out my thighs were too big and decided I needed liposuction. I begged my parents for help, aka liposuction. They obliged and it was scheduled for over spring break. At 18 I hated my body before liposuction, and at 19 I hated my body after liposuction.
I later dabbled with acting. I had a manager that told me I wasn’t ugly enough to be the ugly girl - I could gain a hundred pounds to do that she said. Or I could get my nose done and maybe I could be the pretty girl. So I got my nose done. And I still didn’t love my body.