This is what it was like to hate my body: the anxiety manifests as a physical burn on my skin. The build up feels like a shock between too hot and too cold. It starts in my shoulders and makes me want to break out of my own skin.
Every moment served as a rebellion or a self loathing. The hatred I feel towards my stomach, face, and thighs was so intense that sometimes I look in the mirror and didn’t even know that it is me. I used to spend hours in the gym and would still feel like it was never enough to become lovable. I shut out friends, family, and relationships until it was just me and my eating disorder. I used to walk down the streets of New York and feel like I was submerged in water-- not the calm kind where you find peace; but pressurized, dense water that pricks your skin in a way that makes you want to squirm. I exhausted myself to the point where air feels like fire, and there is no longer a safe place to hide. I was 90 pounds, and at one point that was all that mattered to me.
I am a 90’s girl. My role models were stick thin, sexuality performing women printed on the pages of glossy magazines I read at sleepaway camp while I ruminated over what my own awkward 12 year old body would wear to the dance that night and if the cute boy from bunk 5 would ever ask me to slow dance. He did not ask me and I don’t even remember his name, but I do remember crying on the edge of my bed the first day of 6th grade pinching my own stomach and wishing so badly I could cut it off. These intense feelings of helplessness imprinted on my very own body and made me believe I was not only disgusting, but to blame for my hatred of myself.
Fast forward many frat parties and frenemies later, I took my first feminist theory class and emerged as a full blown intersectional loving feminist who has since dedicated her life to destroying the patriarchy through the inside out by empowering the female mind. But even my study of critical feminist legal theory couldn’t alleviate the fear I have not been able to shake: the more enlightened I am to the bullshit of my own objectification, my self-destructive behavior is fueled by either a rebellion towards or dependency on a system that does not value me. I curate my own demise because I know it is inevitable.
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