I've never had positive body image
I don’t love my body. At all. My body image has always been distorted.
Despite how many times my husband says “you’re beautiful.”
Despite the likes on Instagram.
Despite the friends that comment on my hair and makeup.
I don’t love myself.
I don’t ever feel like enough.
Let’s go back to the start.
I was always an active person. I cheered and danced every single day of the week. I was always doing something.
I loved what I did. Heck, if I hadn’t torn my rotator cuff I would still be coaching gymnastics every night of the week.
It was my life.
And in order to be in those sports, you need to be fit.
Have you ever tried holding a person who weighs the same thing as you above your head for a few minutes in one routine and then practicing that cheerleading routine for hours a day? It’s not an easy task but I loved it.
When I was in the eighth grade, I had all the normal body image issues girls went through but I took it to an extreme.
See, I wasn’t always this outspoken person. I used to keep myself small and quiet.
Because there was so much chaos around me and things beyond my control, I looked to the thing I could control. My size.
So I skipped breakfast. No one thought anything about it. I would run out the door and skip breakfast.
Then I would skip lunch. I skipped lunch religiously.
And then I would head to my own practice and off to coach cheerleading practice for two other teams. Practice 3-8ish every single night.
I’d come home, eat dinner and go on my merry way, knowing I was doing everything I could to maintain control.
Then, my best friend’s Aunt made a phone call. She called my mom and told her I wasn’t eating at school and she was concerned.
Since no one addressed my issue, things only got worse.
In high school, I was small. I was a sophomore in high school and still wearing pants from Limited Too Inc. which is made for little girls, not teenage girls.
I was on birth control because I had severe PMDD and any woman can tell you about the weight gain when you introduce birth control into your life. Well, that was not an option for me.
When I spent six weeks at DuPont’s Children’s Hospital for migraines, they gave me two medication options.
Option A: would make me gain weight and my birth control would no longer be effective.
Option B: would worsen my eating disorder and my birth control would still work.
Clearly, I picked Option B because frankly, I loved my issue. It kept me thin. In control. Desirable. I didn’t know how to function without it. I loved the attention I got.
I was back to coaching cheerleading and teaching dance while working hard at my own practices.
I went on a Devil Wears Prada diet before she mentioned it. I was eating crackers at lunch and calling it a day basically. I was burning over 1500 calories a day but taking in a few hundred calories max.
Then I fainted at school.
The nurse called my mother and said something along the lines of, “I think Ashley has an eating disorder and needs help.”
Instead, I was met with commentary about wearing a bikini at 104 pounds. I was told that I clearly couldn’t have an eating disorder due to my size. My mother said to the nurse, “look at her, she definitely does not have an eating disorder.”
I remember going prom dress shopping and leaving the stores hysterical because I was “too fat” for the prom.
I felt disgusting. I still feel disgusting.
Since no one addressed the issue, I continued to let it fester.
In college, I lived on alcohol basically to cope with all the issues and lead with my body. It was the thing I was in control of.
When things felt out of control, it was easier to just binge and throw up. I lived with a lot of girls so it was harder to pretend I wasn’t eating so instead we’d get drunk, I’d eat and then throw up.
I did things like binge eat, do cocaine and original Four Lokos so I had no choice but to get sick or die. Do not recommend this.
I saw a therapist and all they did was prescribe anti-depressants, which my mom then told me I didn’t need. So, I ditched them.
Gave up on therapy.
Just sort of decided this was going to exist in my life, always.
After college, I took a different approach to control.
I still partied hard but I was eating.
Instead, I was working out obsessively.
I was still coaching cheerleading and gymnastics seven days a week but I added the actual gym to my routine.
I was hitting the gym 2+ hours a day six to seven days a week.
I was in control still.
Not seeking any help because I felt like no one wanted to help me and at this point, we were approaching a decade and an issue with my body image and food became a norm.
So you're probably wondering where
I'm at now at almost 30.
15 plus years later and we’re in the same boat. I’m going up the same stream in the same boat with the same tools.
After getting married the first time, depression seemed to consume me. Outwardly I was projecting happiness but internally I was suffering. We never had money to do anything due to another addiction in the household so I learned a new problem. I just ate whatever without regard for myself.
Now, I’m happily married to my perfect and patient husband and the same issues are ever present.
We started going to the gym together and I was struggling. He works out like a normal, healthy person. I do not.
One night I went alone and he had to force me to come home. I had been gone for two-ish hours and had no plans of leaving. My bad shoulder was screaming but I didn’t care.
Even today, he caught me doing shady things when it comes to my body.
I talked to a beach body coach and told her about my issues because whoever works with me needs to know I can go 0 to 100 really fast. He caught me pretending it was no big deal. That my issues aren’t a problem. He said something to me that sparked this post.
He asked, “when is it enough? When are you going to be skinny enough?”
To be honest, it won’t ever be enough for me.
I won’t ever feel like it’s enough.
I won’t ever feel good enough.
At least, not in the future, I can see.
I can’t tell you what the answer is. I can’t tell you how I’m going to fix it because I don’t know how.
I’m not sure what the next step is or how to approach it.
Maybe telling the world is step one.
Admitting it’s an issue is the first step, I guess.
What can I say is that whenever someone mentions weight in general, I get triggered. I can say that without knowing it a person’s commentary has sent me into the deepest pit of myself where only self-loathing and hate live.
What I can say is be careful with your words. You never know a person’s struggle.
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