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!