As a person with two chronic illnesses and a…complicated history with my body, body love doesn’t come easily. I’ve had periods of relative peace, but body love is an elusive goal.
I’ve been thinking, lately, that perhaps body love is too high of a goal. Perhaps what I’m seeking is simply a body detente.
I’ve tried the reframe of “love is an action” to see if that could take me to body love, hoping that action would be easier than affection, but there are too many ways I fall short for that to be meaningful.
The simple fact is that there are billions of dollars and entire industries built on women and femmes hating themselves–and we are taught to hate ourselves through our bodies. (Because, of course, even in our own self-hatred we are sexual objects before we are subjects (sigh)). The fact of the patriarchy cannot exist without women spending an inordinate amount of time, energy, and money striving to meet impossible expectations. And so the patriarchy punishes women cruelly when we fail. Which we all do, in some way, whether large or small.
Anyway, this is an ever-present and evolving project, and I’m constantly looking for reflections of this fight, and inspiration to continue it. Here are two of my favourites:
This is my body, and I live in it. It’s 31 and six months old. It’s changed a lot since it was new. It’s done stuff it wasn’t built to do. I often try to fill it up with wine. And the weirdest thing about it is I spent so much time hating it but it never says a bad word about me. This is my body and it’s fine. It’s where I spend the vast majority of my time. It’s not perfect, but it’s mine.
I’ve got a perfect body but sometimes I forget. I’ve got a perfect body because my eyelashes catch my sweat.