It is safe to hate my body. That is why I do it. It has almost nothing to do with my hopes, dreams, fears and desires. It has nothing to do with that strange empty feeling inside, and nothing at all to do with why I feel disconnected.
That's where the real shit is happening. My emptiness, my fears, my desires, my regrets, my resentments, they are all in there waiting for me.
My poor body is an easy target because in the end, it is not really about me. I mean, it is, but it is a safe distance from the stuff that really matters. It is far away from what I really care about.
Then there is the Outside World. It is the place where I exist most often amongst people who tell me I am cute, or too manly, or not fat or thin enough. I get a lot of feedback on that. So how can I possibly address the horror I feel about myself? When I am redirected by the world around me to concern myself with something as unimportant as how I look, and told I can solve this issue by altering myself in some way? Unfortunately, I have to ignore a lot of what goes on. Not in a hateful way, but in a "those are the crazy people over there telling me that a pair of jeans will increase self-esteem," kind of way.
It's like understanding that the fight you have with your partner about the garbage is not really about the fucking garbage, it is about you feeling unsupported in the relationship, which is a much more volatile and scary topic to tackle. The garbage is easy. The garbage is nothing. Just like those thighs, hips, or ass. But, if I address feeling unsupported by my spouse, then the garbage is no longer an issue.
And that is where I start. I understand that my body shape will not bring me happiness. My nose, my acne, my greasy hair, if they change, I will not reach enlightenment. I will not feel more loved if my jeans fit me better. If I live in a certain place, drink a certain type of beverage, or use a certain lip liner, I will not feel better about who I am.
This is the other reason why it is so easy to hate my body. All of what goes into knowing, accepting and loving myself as I am is WORK. It takes guts and an ability to see things that are much more horrifying than an extra 20 pounds on the scale in the morning.
It is no wonder the beauty and fashion industries are booming. It is easier to focus on the exterior; what you own, how much you make, what you do to make it. It is more challenging to deal with my fear of abandonment, my fear that I am not worthy of love. My fear that I will never live up to my potential.
Dealing with real fears takes more work because in order to really deal with them, I have to embrace them. I have to sit with them. I have to really look at myself and decide if these fears are real, or if they are just echoes of events passed.
That's why I have no problem when people tell me about their diets, the work they do to look different, or the stuff they buy to dress differently. I totally get it. It is easier, and let's face it, more entertaining and pleasurable to focus on this stuff. The only problem is that it is not really enough to divert my attention. In fact, after I buy things, change things, or do things differently, I am still left with my resentment. I am still left with my regret. I am still left with all of my fears.
I remember at one point being the most fit version of myself, the point at which everything in my life should have been perfect, according to all the women's magazines...I think...I honestly don't really read them so I am making an assumption here. Anyway, THAT is when all of the demons decided to spring. It was really amazing, actually, I had an adventurous sex life, this bangin' body, and all of a sudden, all of my fears came screaming into my head and would not let me rest.
On the one hand, I had absolute proof that a better body was not the key to happiness, but on the other, all the hateful voices and fears inside my mind unleashed hell upon me. A hell that quite frankly, I am still working through.
But it is all a distraction, because in the end, I just want to be myself, no, not just an ordinary version of myself, but the best possible version, the version that creates a belly laugh, a leap of faith, an explosion of art and science and love and compassion and hope. That is who I want to be, and that is why I fight against the hate, though it is easier.
I fight against the hate, and work my way into myself because I want to taste the sky and swallow the stars. I want to be better than I could have ever imagined, and that person, the very best version of Sara, she doesn't waste her energy hating her body. She spends her energy working on what lies beneath, and in the end, loves it anyway.
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