What are the ingredients to a perfect storm leading to bulemia, dysmorphia or anorexia? Body shame
I Began To Wonder If I Measured Up
I hadn't even begun to blossom yet, so I was not particularly looking at my body in a judgmental way although comparing myself to others began to seep in at about age 10 and lower my self-esteem. There were the sisters that had tight abs and the friend with a slender waist and flat stomach while I felt soft in the middle and in need of a bra for support.
My Introduction To Dieting
I was standing at my locker, and Jane pulled out a book from her locker, which was next to mine. She was a muscular 12 year-old. Without an ounce of flab, her arm muscles were tone and defined. She was not frail or thin and looked strong and capable. She had 13 brothers and sisters and a mom and dad -- an army for a family. In this arsenal, her older sister was the one that had given her the idea of going on a diet and had loaned her the diet book. This was the first time I was introduced to the idea of dieting.
I Was Introduced To The Idea Of Being Broken By People I Looked Up To
After seeing the diet book and listening to Jane talk about how she needed to change her body, I became more in tune with the talk of dieting. One friend’s mom was on the Atkins diet, and she talked at length about what she would deprive herself of and how it would work for her. She smoked cigarettes and drank coffee and alcohol often, so it was not about getting healthier or creating great habits. It was her shape that she needed to remake. She was the kindest, most present and relaxed mother I knew, yet she felt she needed to change her body. Part of me was a bit confused as I knew she was not broken and that she was completely loveable as she was.
My First Diet Happened Before My First Kiss
That summer, my friend and I turned to a diet of our own. We would walk all day from necessity and to fill the time. When we returned home, we would eat scrambled eggs on white bread (I had ketchup on mine). We had declared this our diet strategy. That was the summer of my first kiss.
I Remembered The Teasing More Than The Fun And The Connection
Fast-forward one year, there were a few girls that were looking like starlets at just 14. I was still straight up and down -- front and back. I remember being teased; pancake butt is what I was called and flat as a board. I was only teased for one lunch break. During that lunch break, we had loads of fun; we were playing table tennis and being rambunctious and connecting with the hottest boys in school. The comparison, the idea of being broken and the desire to be something I wasn’t started to seep in.
I Did Not See Myself As Attractive In Any Way
Before I could drive a car, there was an unfamiliar feel about my body. It's as if I was looking for clues in what people said as a means to know how I looked. Couldn't I just look in the mirror and see for myself? No I had to listen and to get opinions from outside of myself. Looking in the mirror would not do. It's as though I had no trust in my own sight. It seems like nonsense, but I carried that with me for a very, long time.
40 years later, I still look in the mirror, front and back before I leave the house to make sure I am not flat as a board and looking like a pancake. I still question, shall I go on a diet? Luckily, it ends there, and I go about my day looking for some fun. I remind myself to appreciate life and my body.
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