Finding body-peace

As I mentioned before, this blog seems to be slowly dying. And I’m sort of okay with that. Though the chaos in my head will never vanish, – I have accepted it is a part of who I am -, it is no longer what controls me. Chaos is a part of me, I am not a prisoner of my chaos.

Also, in recovery, I have come a long way over the past two / 2,5 years. I do not by any means consider myself recovered. I still struggle with body-image, still binge and still let how I judge my body influence how I feel and how I act too much too often. However, I can put things into perspective again. Pick up right where I left within a matter of minutes. Be spontaneous (again? was I ever before??). Laugh, dance, flirt, travel and LIVE again. And in the end, I believe all of this has made me a more complete and understanding person.

I still have a few posts in mind that I might or might not be writing in the coming future though, and today is the day I want to talk to you about (struggling with) body image. Call it what you want, right now, I’ll stick to body-peace, because acceptance sounds like something external and love sounds like something a little too overwhelming. So, peace it is. And I kinda like the sound of it. Plus, peace, in my mind, is something mutual. I am at peace with my body, but (quite miraculously after all I’ve put it through), my body is at peace with me again as well.

First of all, my picture post was partially meant as a reminder how eating disorders (or food addictions, I know you’re reading!) are about bodies. I never developed this because I wanted to lose weight. I didn’t like my sickly, skinny body. But ironically, my recovery (for a large part, anyway) wás about my body. In matter of months to  a year I doubled in weight (no, not kidding), none of my clothes fitted me anymore (I even outgrew my shoes!), my body started doing things that belonged to puberty (which had been ten years!), and everybody commented on my change in appearance. I immensely struggled with this, and I’d like to show some things that helped me along the way.

Basically, it comes down to this: Touch it. Rub it. Watch it. Dress it. Love it. Let it be loved. Lemme break it down for ya:

  • Touch : Schedule some quality bathroom time. Take a long shower or a hot bath. Wash your hair, use some really nice soapy product. Feel that soft skin, untangle your hair, let the tears flow away with that hot shower water.  Let the water cleanse physically and emotionally.
  • Rub : After getting out of the shower or your bath tub, take time to lavish yourself in crème or lotion. Gently rub every inch of your body, without judging it. Almost like a mantra : Now I am putting lotion on my legs, lotion on my bum, lotion on my tummy, lotion on my boobs, lotion on my arms, now I lotion my shoulders, my neck, lotion my face, etc. Comb your hair, spray your favourite perfume. Just take the time to feel your body without being judgmental.
  • Watch : You can already do this while showering and while lotioning. See your body for what it is, not for what it could be, should be or has been. If, like me, your body changed rapidly, it is not at all weird that your body feels foreign. Sometimes passing a mirror or a shop window would literally make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up straight. That was me?! And then I got two mirrors for in my home, both in spots I’d normally just pass. So not in the bathroom or closet door, but in my hallway and in my kitchen. Why? Because now I was confronted with my reflection more often, and more off-guard. I literally made myself get used to the confrontation, and after a while, it didn’t shock me anymore.  I would notice how different clothing made me feel and look different. I noticed some days I didn’t look all that bad. Sometimes, at night in pitch black darkness, my reflection caught a little outside-city-light and I’d notice my contours in the mirror as I’d sneak through the house naked for a midnight bathroom stop. I would see myself in all different kinds of light, literally as well as figuratively. That soft golden hour light, that harsh artificial lighting, gloomy grey day light or bright and sunny daylight. All and all, I got used to seeing myself, started to accept that reflection as mý reflection again.
  • Love : As I just mentioned, I think being gentle with yourself and non-judgemental are the first big steps. Letting your body be without focussing on what it coulda/shoulda/woulda been is not easy. Not to mention to stop comparing yourself to people you pass on the streets, on TV or in magazines. But taking it a step further, is to actively appreciate and, dare I say, love it. Now, I am not saying I am now the queen of body love (or even acceptance), but what I mean is this: When you have a ‘good day’ (which does NOT equal a ‘skinny day’ !! ), say it. Out loud. To yourself. To your reflection. When you catch yourself in the mirror and realize you don’t look all that bad today. When you catch a glimpse of your tummy/legs/arms when taking a shower and you kinda like that wet and soft skin, when you put on your new dress or check your freshly done hair/make up, tell yourself that, – damn girl! -, you look fine! You don’t have to always feel comfortable or great, but just make sure you actively state it when you do!
  • Be loved : Ooooooooo lord am I going here? Briefly! Yes. I am not saying external validation is what body love should be about. Stop comparing, stop the deadlines, stop the start-overs, stop judging. Be okay with being okay. We all know people will always have opinions, and even though they mean well most of the time, a LOT of people will be commenting on your new look as you slowly get back to a healthy weight. As I explained, most of those comments aren’t even about your new weight, but about the life and fire and stars and brightness that is coming to life in your eyes again. But there is more to letting others love your body. It is getting vulnerable, honest, naked. It is accepting someone else doing the same. It’s dead scary and exhilarating at the same time. Having someone else not run away screaming, and making myself not do so either for that matter!, was a bigger relief than I would have liked to admit. But now, I sort of see how helpful it is to have someone else confirm the fact that this (new) body is fine the way it is. That it doesn’t have to look like it did when I was 18 anymore. Because I’m not. We all change, and that is totally okay.

I think this was already a lot to take in, so I’m leaving it at this for now. But please do comment with additional tips and tricks you have found useful in this journey of self(re)acceptance. Some of the best stuff happens right below in the conversations flowing from this comment box, so share away!

Love, Sooz

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9 thoughts on “Finding body-peace

  1. What WONDERFUL advise. I remember commenting on your picture post , the thing I first mention was your eyes and the return of some freedom. I think for myself anyway, sometimes people that COUNT, actually are interested in you as a person. It’s me that’s actually so judging of my actual body, of course it’s a age of beauty equalling ‘skinny’ or the ‘perfect’ body. I can understand this logically, it’s a matter of as you have said, actually doing things to lessen the obsession with my body and it’s flaws. Thank you for this advise, I will put it into ACTION! I think it’s a great point to DO something, I think that can help me anyway, ‘get out of my head. ( Ed head) that is. I hope you do post some more , I personally have been inspired by your honesty, I thank you with all I have….lol
    Love Ziggy

    • Such sweet words, thank you Ziggy! Getting out of that EDhead is so difficult, because at times it so difficult to differentiate between your rational self and your irrational ED-self. But being conscious about the words you use against yourself, how you judge yourself… Being conscious is what is needed before you can take action.

      Let me know if you’ve tried some of the things above (or other things) and how it helped! xx

      • Dear Sooz,
        I tried for the first time in DECADES, I put lotion on my body and tried to be kind, tried hard to think of this as something ‘outside’ myself. It helped to actual have a small amount of time, ‘away’ from my ED head! it was of great help to ‘go through my body parts’, I was not up to looking at myself in the mirror just yet! I also found it of help to realize that inspite of what my body has been through, it has CONTINUED to function. I found a ‘voice’ inside of gratitude that as I move into a more healthy weight, I actually ‘thought’ of that photo of freedom you have shared, although, I still ‘heard’ the ED, I really wanted that magical freedom that is soo well shown in your photo! Thank you soo much for the ”drive” that I have found deep inside. I’ve been stable and more healthy for about the past year, however I’ve remained a bit STUCK at a still lower than healthy weight. This is progress, however as my ‘meal plan; is very boring. I long for that freedom, it’s personally what I call true BEAUTY! Sending support and compassion to you dear warrior, …lol
        Love Ziggy

      • That is the sweetest comment!!

        Yes I agree, BODIES ARE AMAZING! Their power and determination. Their flexibility (in my case, not literally haha) of bouncing back after all we’ve put it through.

        Don’t overestimate my freedom. I am not ‘clean’, far from it. Binge eating is still a very real part of my recovery. But I have found life back and it is so so so deeply worth it! Keep fighting, I promise the not-lower end of healthy weight is totally something you can survive as well ;)

        love, Sooz

  2. Developing anorexia was never about the body. But recovery certainly was.

    How true. Intention to lose weight wasn’t there. I hate the ugliness, the terrifying skeletal look, the weakness. Yet… recovering from it…somehow it was as terrifying to gain as it was to lose. It doesn’t make sense, does it?

    Ah.. I remember talking about the taking time out to get to know your body again, to use lotion and get used to the feel of the softness of your skin without the bones protruding through. And on bad days. it helps to concentrate instead on the things that… haven’t changed as much, but are still you, still beautiful. Like your hair. styling it, colouring it. Painting nails. And doesn’t need a mirror either. Going out, walking mindfully, feeling how your limbs have strength to move, feel the soil under your feet, marvelling at how your body just WORKS… that’s just.. amazing :D

    Yes, people will judge. And not necessarily in a good way either. But the judgement of other people shouldn’t matter. Their viewpoints can easily be as warped as ours was. Ultimately, we are our harshest critics. If we can’t live with ourselves, how can anyone else? Acceptance. Peace. THAT . is true beauty.

    • And becoming less critical of ourselves will also help others do the same for themselves and to us, and if not, then it’ll simply matter less, I think! Because if we’re happy with ourselves, it doesn’t really matter if someone’s got something completely irrelevantly un-nice to say, does it?

  3. Hey, Sooz
    I’m just now rediscovering your blog. I had stopped checking to see if you were posting anything after checking for weeks/months. I don’t follow most blogs because I can’t take all the flood of email. i just have a routine of checking the blogs I’ve bookmarked when I sit down to my computer time.

    But wow it’s wonderful to read your thoughts, feelings and insights.

    Thank you!

    • More than fair, as I cannot even remember the last updates. Maybe, at some point, I will write some final thoughts to this blog. Right now, just now, I still read yours, even though I barely comment anymore. Oh, and I am well. Better than I can remember being in a long time :)

      Lots of love! x

      • Dang! That’s good to hear. (Grin from ear to ear)
        So are you ending this blog or have you ended it already?;

        Moving on is good when it’s the right time.

        So glad to hear you are well. I kind of thought that was the case.

        xx

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