I Hate My Body. I Hate Myself.
Thirty five years ago I was skinny. I had a body boys admired. I had a body I didn’t hate. That I barely even thought about.
I was thirteen.
I used to wear this denim skirt that I absolutely loved. It wasn’t anything special but I felt good in it. Then it began to get tight. I just assumed it was because I was a growing girl. Getting older. But, nope. Wrong. I was getting fatter. And fatter. And fatter. And fatter. Until one day I was no longer recognisable. The weight piled on throughout my puberty years, sending me deeper and deeper into the darkness.
Then an emotion I never really felt before took over with such ferocity there was no way I had the strength to hold it back.
Down in the depths of my depression, hate plunged itself into the murkiness and enjoyed wallowing around in every single feeling of hurt and every single thought of contempt I had about myself each day of my miserable life.
Hate became all I knew. It controlled almost everything. It prevented me from being who I wanted to be. Skinny. Well, that’s all I thought I was meant to be but inside I could sense so much more, but because (as a woman) I was only allowed to be one certain thing (can you guess?), I pulled myself back from dreaming about being anything else. I lost sight of who I wanted to be. She fell down the cracks of my depression and hatred and got swallowed up by the tangled and twisted mess they each created inside of me.
And, now, in this present moment I am foraging furiously amongst the mess to find her.
I can hear her calling me, ever-so faintly. Her voice making its way up to my ears so I can hear her once again.
All of that hate, though, it consumed me. Nothing else mattered. Yet, it was covering up for the accumulation of pain and suffering I wasn’t allowing myself to recognise. For the way I was being treated by my parents and then me. For the love missing from our family. For the verbal and physical abuse spewing out of our parents. For the abandonment I felt as a little girl by the two people who were supposed to love and care about me the most.
The list could go on.
They all sat under the umbrella of hate.
I could say I felt that way because I wasn’t pretty enough or skinny enough but that is a lie. That is the truth I was taught to believe. The (false) reason I wasn’t at all loveable was because my body was fat. It was ugly. And, the woman inside; the one I was supposed to be, along with the little girl who didn’t receive the love she deserved, well she hid behind the hate of her body because if she could just get skinny then all of the bullshit would melt away. It would finally disappear because now she was enough. Her skinny, beautiful body was enough. Enough for love, enough for happiness and enough for the life she always longed for.
With every waking moment I was bombarded with thoughts about how to get skinny. If I eat less today then I will lose weight. If I exercise more tomorrow then the weight will drop off me. If I starve myself I’ll look so beautiful. If I try this crazy diet I will lose so much weight. If, if, if!
My mind went zooming from one thought to another examining all of the ways for me to stop being so fat. To stop being so hideous. To stop being so disgusting. Each and every thought reminding me of this very real fact, ensuring I felt worse and worse and worse about myself. Expanding the hate until my whole, fat, disgusting body was filled with it.
This went on for decades. My mind reeling out of control. Every morning I woke up and there they were. Talking smack from the instant I was awake.
That’s where it all came from. My mind. My mind kept me stuck in the feeling of hate.
*I had to take a nap after I wrote the part of this column before this. Writing it felt heavy. Too much. I have been silent for so many years about myself and all I have felt. Thinking about it today was overwhelming. I want to say so much and I am overwhelmed with every thought and feeling being stirred up inside me. I am tired. Mentally and emotionally tired. It is exhausting hating yourself so much and it is exhausting working to bring the love back.
Love is meant to be easy. It is not. When you have it it is wonderful. When its gone it is crushing. My body has been crushed under the weight of all this hate. My exhaustion comes from not letting it crush me completely to death. Holding the weight of it all has left me depleted.
So often I wonder why I can’t get myself out of this misery. Why I have to even feel like this in the first place. Why can’t I be one of those people who lets life happen and just feels good? Such thoughts crush me even further.
What if I stopped pushing against it all? What if I simply let go? Would the weight crush me to death like I believe it will or will it disappear into thin air? How do I let go?
A few months ago I read a book entitled just that, Letting Go by David. R. Hawkins. The premise is simple. Let go of everything you are holding on so tightly to and surrender yourself to what you are feeling in the moment. Thoughts and emotions crush us when we resist them. We fight them. Push them away. Ignore them. All that does is keep you in it without realising you are still in it. Those thoughts and feelings never truly go away unless you actively release them.
Thoughts and feelings are like little kids. They want your attention and the harder you ignore them or resist that attention the more persistent they become. Once you acknowledge them they settle down. They let you know what it is they want you to know and you move on with your life. We don’t do that very often because we are taught that our feelings are wrong. That is so not true.
This was how my childhood was. Whatever feelings I had they were either ignored or I was told they were wrong. I grew up believing I wasn’t allowed to feel much of anything. Except hate. That hate exploded out of me in the form of pure anger.
Guess what I used to diffuse all of it? Food.
I hated my body so I ate. I hated myself so I ate. I hated my life so I hate. I wasn’t allowed to express myself so I ate. I wasn’t allowed to be my true self so I ate. I couldn’t get skinny so I ate. I couldn’t do anything right so I ate. I expanded and exploded all over the place.
Its all connected. The hate and the hurt. My thoughts and my feelings. What I allow and what I don’t allow. What I choose and what I refuse. Each little individual piece makes up the totality of me. The me inside this body I have never felt comfortable in. I wanted to trade it in for one that made me feel better. That looked better.
Not a day goes by when I don’t think about my body and how I can make it better. I know what I want for my body and from it. I know what it is capable of. My mind has to catch up and stop telling me otherwise. My mind is the reason I am on this never ending cycle of abuse. It has made the last couple of years very tough as I work hard to change all that I hate.
SHUT THE FUCK UP!
Ahhh. That feels better.
I deserve better than this misery it keeps me stuck in. I deserve to let all of the hate go. I am doing that. Some days are easier than others. Some days I feel as though I am right back where I started but, honestly, that is my mind playing tricks on me. I know I’m not. I know the hate has almost emptied out from my body. I can feel it. My mind just wants me to think otherwise.
So, for now, I choose to keep letting all that crap go and to keep telling my mind to SHUT THE FUCK UP.
Yell it to yourself today. See how it makes you feel. Because you deserve better than the bullshit in your mind too.
P.S. What do you hate about yourself? Is this really true? Start exploring this within yourself. Where did these thoughts and feelings even come from? Do you need to believe them anymore? Probably not!
Write it down, talk it over with your partner or closest friend. Talk about it with yourself. Open up the lines of communication between you and your mind. Be honest about what you really want to hear.
If you’re feeling brave, comment below and share your thoughts. I reckon you’re not the only one with so many fucked up thoughts.
In the next column I will go into more detail about the mean voice inside your head.