I didn't always love my body.
I was born in the middle of the last century. I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s and loved all the social changes that were fought for and the social sicknesses that were fought against. I saw myself as a crusader, albeit a teenager, for the underdog. My heart was as big as the moon and I loved doing what I thought was right. Perhaps it was because I, myself, was a recipient of injustices such as sexism and economic prejudices (we were not rich). One of the ways I internalized the injustice of sexism against little girls in our culture was to hate my curly hair (I wanted Cher hair!) and think I was fat (even though I was not). I hid my body with loose, boyish clothing in order to not show my body, which I figured would result in unwanted attention. Thus, disdain for my body started early on. Deeply, it really did not matter – I was totally fine with myself (I don’t know where this strength came from), but socially, I played the shallow game by default. I just innocently bought into it. I truly disliked my body for not looking like all the girls on TV and in fashion magazines.
When I was in my late-twenties, I started occasional dieting. Badly, I might add; over-the-counter pills, bland concoctions, cabbage-only, protein-only, etc. - and I continued doing odd this-n-that dieting at various intervals throughout my 30s, 40s, and my early 50s. However, it has not been all bad. I’ve read and learned many good things regarding health and fitness. I was never an athletic child, but grew to love hiking, working out, and other outdoor activities. Over the years I have completed many wholesome cleanses, and have changed (for the better) many of my lifestyle choices in regards to eating, ethical consciousness, self-image politics, and physical fitness.
I thank feminism for helping me get free from the idea that my body was bad. I had been trying to lose weight because I did not like my body. It was recently that I realized that I LOVE my body. I love its ability to heal itself, to see with my amazing eyes, to manufacture energy with such efficiency, to allow me to move from here to there effortlessly. I’m so grateful for a healthy body, no matter the extra weight I carry.
My new mission is to work out, eat healthy, lose any unhealthy weight, and be ethically involved with the world around me because I love life – because I LOVE my body – not because I hate it. I am getting healthy because I love my body and my life. Here’s to the next half-century!