Body Image Series : Peanut Butter Twix
I really loved beer in college. And Black Cherry Smirnoff Vodka (insert puke face emoji here). And the food court at school near my dorm was ridiculous. Oh, my favorite dish? My favorite dish was this pasta dish where they would put 1/2 alfredo sauce on one side and 1/2 tomato sauce on the other side. Yes, I'll have the breadstick. Wow.
And they carried TWIX peanut butter bars that you could put on your meal card.
One more, the Starbucks in my lobby of my dorm, it was a smaller style coffee cart of a Starbucks. I ordered the largest White Chocolate Raspberry Latte almost every morning (extra whip, please).
Oh wait. One more note. I started birth control in college (freshman year).
So. My jeans didn't fit after about 3 months of starting school.
I know, hard to believe, right?
I did have a brilliant collection of sweatpants that I wore on the regular. Remember ripping the elastic at the bottom to almost create flare sweatpants out of old school sweats? And I loved wearing scrubs (so much that I thought it was enough reason to go pre-med, that lasted one semester).
College was such a major time of transition for me. I know, probably for all of us. Personally speaking, the freedom was altogether overwhelming. The hormonal changes were at an all time high. I was a late bloomer and adding birth control into the mix was, to be honest, a chaotic chemical reactive mess. Choosing your future in the form of a major/minor, I panic thinking about it now and I have already done it. And my body. My fit and trim high school body which followed meal journals and double-a-day workouts, she graduated into a whole new life phase of almost pure ignorance.
And by ignorance, I mean absolutely ignoring my body. This obviously included the eating/drinking (see list above), yet also my sleep patterns, my reactive skin and my mental state.
I came back home to Houston, TX to meet with a mentor after my first year in school and I believe I opened up to him about my weight and my nonchalance around my eating patterns. And I will never forget what he said to me.
He said I was hiding. Hiding in my weight. Hiding in the 'ignorance is bliss, i'll figure it all out later' style of hiding. Hiding from the attention.
I scoffed. Disagreed. Changed the subject.
And then I got home and started to think about what he said. He might have been right. I was very insecure of my female form. I never liked getting whistled at, it always made me uncomfortable. I never liked the idea of someone liking me for my body, I wanted them (okay, a boyfriend) to know me and love me. I loved and love deep conversations and have always been romantical this way when it comes to the opposite sex (well, almost always - we all have mistakes in there....).
Fast forward two-ish years in college. I no longer had that meal card. And I had dabbled with a few diets, the South Beach Diet in particular. And I was prepping for Senior Year and making it the best yet. I was at the college gym every day, eating egg white omelettes and cutting out beer (still had the cherry vodka).
I remember being out one night and I don't know if it was because I was living in a college town over the Summer and the pickin's were lean or what, but I had all the attention on me. Something had shifted.
And I had been drinking.
And I remember I yelled out loud at two dudes that I had known for a while and I said, "Oh, just because I lose weight, now you want to talk to me....".
You guys, a lot of navigation in life was going on here. Excuse the drama.
And do note I had silver sequins glued on to my Hollister & Co. evergreen tank top, I literally remember what I was wearing. And blonde highlights. And low rise jeans. Whoa.
In this memory, I realize now that I did not have a relationship with my body. I did not know her. I did not really recognize how she was meant to be treated, or what she was actually for.
I was so disconnected.
There were my high school days where my body was strong and healthy and meant for function: SPORTS. Then in college, totally unaware. There was mass confusion. My body was meant to be attractive, sexy, and I dressed in a lot of neon, so I would say fun. Yet, I was so scared. I was so scared of being used.
And I feel a knot in my stomach as I write that. As I say it outloud in my mind.
The fear of being taken advantage of. All the hiding. If you don't see me, you won't use me. But then this inner conflict of needing to be seen, validated and heard. Seriously, I don't understand how I made it through.
Sitting here writing this to you, housing a child in my abdomen, my purpose is so crystal clear. And yet, I realize, perhaps I have never taken the time to say, given language or direction to my body and built that relationship and ultimate understanding. My body as my home for my heart, soul and deepest thoughts, goals and desires. My body as my source of connection on so many different levels, be it a high five to a stranger, a hug with a dear friend or intimate connection with my husband. My body, so strong in so many endeavors. My body, the space for pleasure, to be respected and deeply loved and truly, a space to feel pain.
My body is my home.
Dear Body, I love you. Thank you.