My Body

How do I feel about my body 

My body is a void. 

A painting that has been hanging on the wall so long that you don’t see it anymore. It’s just part of the decor. A thing you know is there, but don’t feel the need to look at. Sometimes the painting can be so painful you intentionally try to avoid it. This painting was given to me. I did not choose it, but I cannot get rid of it no matter how much I want to. I can’t change or alter the painting, no matter how hard I try. Some days I feel like the painting is beautiful. Some days it’s abstract and I can’t see anything in it or make sense of it for the life of me. 

How do I feel about my body 

I don’t feel, I don’t look, I don’t touch. 

I ignore, I cover up. Like a piece of old furniture that you will not discard, but put a cover on to make it seem better or new. You can tell there’s a couch under there, you are not meant to see what it looks like. 

I pretend like it’s not there. 

If I feel anything, I pray that it goes away quickly. For fear that if I start to feel I will never stop. The feelings will consume me like a tidal wave and wash me away with the ocean. I will no longer exist. 

How do I feel about my body 

I distract, I make my body small and hide it beneath layers upon layers to make it seem like it’s not really there. Perhaps if you saw all the flaws, if you knew what I really looked like, felt like, you would see straight to my soul. It might be too painful to bear. 

I get mad at it for being hungry. I get mad at it for being in pain. Not all feelings are the same. 

I tell you maybe it’s better if I don’t feel, don’t think about it. Perhaps it’s better if I’m too distracted to care. Detached, uninvolved, unaware. You tell me this is unhealthy. Balance is out there somewhere. 

I’ll keep searching for the elusive body positivity. It seems to have missed me. 

I hide my body. I hide it like a child playing hide and seek with themselves. I forget it’s there, and then I have to find it again. Relearn what it feels like, what it wants, what it needs. 

How do I trust something that I don’t acknowledge? How do I listen to something I go out of my way to ignore? 

Why does my body always want more? 

What if my body needs too much? 

I hate when you talk about it. I can’t stand when you look at it as if it’s a thing to criticize, as if my body is for your eyes. As if it’s a sculpture that has been made for you, to judge, to tempt, to decide what you do or don’t want to do. 

Do I have control over my body? I don’t like when it changes without my consent. It’s a delicate balance, giving in to my desires and being disciplined. I haven’t found perfection.

If my body were a child, I’d be a bad parent. 

If my body had a relationship status it would be it’s complicated. 

That’s why 

When you ask me how I feel about my body 

My silence tells you 

I don’t know. You are asking me to identify one fish by name in a vast ocean. To pick out one flower in an endless field and identify it. 

When you ask me what my body image is

I tell you I have none 

I have no image, no snapshot of myself. 

There is no portrait that can capture a time point of what I see or feel. 

I have a never-ending wave of highs and lows that I try my best to ride. I try my best to walk the line despite stepping out frequently. Despite the discomfort of my frequent missteps. 

I tell you I will try. 

And try is the best I can do with this friend that is sometimes a foe. That tells me what I need, even though I don’t want to listen to it. That forces me to pay attention even when I don’t want to. That saves my life and then threatens to take it away. 

My body keeps the score, an unwritten history of things I can’t ignore. But I can try. No matter how hard I try it holds on to things I don’t want anymore. My body keeps all my secrets. I chose not to explore, not to go meddling in things behind closed doors. 

But I will try.  

I will try to feel things and not run away. 

I will try to not let the feelings consume me, knowing these unwanted guests will not stay. 

I will try to pay attention. I try to see.

I will try to let my body be.


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