i want to talk about this more later, esp. "personal failure"
12.05.20 | 9:50 pm

some days, it really is jarring to realize that i still, deep down, have those thoughts that -- strictly because of my body -- i am undeserving of love. (that is, romantic love.)

i know that it's not true. i know that i've come a long way since my childhood, when my brothers would most frequently insult me by regarding my (perfectly normal and healthy) body, saying things like "i can hear you getting fatter" when i did something they didn't like. i've come a long way since i asked my cousin, at ten years old, how she managed to stay so skinny because i wanted to look like her (she told me she "ran circles around the house" and "didn't eat a lot of candy").

i've also come a long way since high school, where most of my friends were literally 100 lbs. and i wore clothes literally two sizes too large to hide what i considered a hideously large body, when i would frequently go on a website called "toneteen" and make posts that said, "i am 5'1" and 13 years old and i weigh 130 lbs. how can i lose 30 lbs.?", when i said no to a boy who asked me out because i was convinced it was a joke -- no one could have seriously wanted to be with someone as disgusting as i was.

i've come a long way since college, where i was so excited to get back down to 140 lbs., when i lifted up my shirt to show my boyfriend where i thought the fat would melt away next. he -- nearly 300 lbs. -- encouraged and pushed me to do more, to be better, and then insulted and punished me when i gained any of it back. when i was visiting home for a weekend, my mom point-blank told me that i "was just plumb fat now," never recognizing where it was coming from, that it was a physical manifestation of a sort of emotional trauma (trauma is too strong of a word here, but i can't for now think of one that better fits how it felt). but that's a bit too much to get into right now.

after breaking up with this boyfriend, years later, i convinced myself for months that even though matt talked me to constantly, even though he called me every single night, there was no way he was actually interested in me. i felt this solely because of my body, because i was at the highest weight i've ever been. after we became official, i lost 30 lbs. in the next six months, thinking that this proved that someone actually loved me (because they could love me despite my body) so i could finally work to change it.

i maintained that for a few years, and slowly became miserable with him, with myself in colorado. the weight started to slowly creep back on (not all of it, but a lot of it). and then there was the blow when he admitted, after we broke up, that he thought we "balanced each other out" because he was "more traditionally attractive" (read: thin) but i was "smarter and more likeable." something that i, too, had thought in our relationship -- but hurt to hear out loud, hurt to hear confirmed. and it confirmed that my body did mean i was lesser-than.

after matt and i broke up, i started to experiment more freely with my sexuality. i wanted to prove (to who? to myself? to the world?) that i was still allowed to be a sexual being regardless of the form my body took. and i was lucky, in that i did find a few men who celebrated my body, who made me feel like a goddess, like someone they were straight lucky to spend any time with, to get any glimpse of, to touch at all.

but there is still such a struggle. i still find myself thinking that, if i did not have this body, if i worked to change this body, someone would be more willing to love me. (which equally makes me resistant to changing my body, because someone should love me regardless.)

essentially, i have realized two things in these past few weeks about myself and my body:

1. i continue to seek out validation of my body because i don't think i deserve it


2. i view my body as a personal failure

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