A Conflict of Body and Mind
February 8th, 2019
I have a conflict of body and mind. It is all I think about.
My body tells me it needs to change. Tells me it is not satisfactory. No one will love it. There are others that are better.
My mind tells me not to listen to my body. Tells me that it is wrong. I should love it, for that is the only way anyone else will.
Both seem problematic… but fine.
This conflict riddles me with guilt. I have goals for myself, ideas of a body I know I should have to be healthy and strong and to prevent me from breaking down in tears in the changing rooms of clothing stores. God, how many times I’ve broken down crying in the changing rooms of clothing stores. And I feel guilty for not having achieved this goal, this body, for not working hard enough. I clearly just don’t want it enough. I know that if I just payed a little more attention, I could get there. I’ve done it before. My weight is very much like the needle of a scale it is measured on: going up and down and finally settling on a number, only to keep moving and moving again and again. Never quite sure if it’s right, never quite sure if it’s okay.
I know the term “curvy” does not apply to me. Curves are supposed to be specific, they are supposed to accentuate one’s body, not consume it. No, the beautiful kind of curves are still trim, still contained. Controlled. No, I am not “curvy” because that implies my body is beautiful, and I know, it is not.
But there’s another kind of guilt too, a guilt that consumes me as much as –– if not more than –– the guilt I feel about the body I do have. I feel guilty that I do not love the body I have, my temple, the body I should walk around every day with feeling proud.
Why don’t I love my body? Let’s assess, shall we? I walk through the halls of my high school every day and am surrounded by girls who look nothing like me. Sure, there are a few who break the mold, but more often than not I see girls who seem to embody everything one could want to be. They wear the clothes I wish I could wear and look better in the ones I do wear. They can share clothes and walk into any store and find something that looks good on them.
And as I walk by them I hear “I am so fat.” It’s surreal. Straight out of a high school movie. I used to question it, I thought that might help. I used to turn around and say “what did you say?” They’d usually respond with knowing looks. They knew just as well as I did, they were not the fat one among the two of us.
So, while in conflict, my body and mind both make me feel guilty. Now that seems fair.
Yet, there’s still more guilt to be had, as there often is with things like this. Because not only do I feel bad that I don’t love my body because I feel like I should, but I feel bad because I don’t want to become one of the girls I described. I am not someone who walks down the street and feels like the biggest one. I know that there are others who society attacks endlessly and who can never seem to catch a break. I can catch a break, it happens. So I feel bad speaking out, because I feel more and more like this is not my story. It’s not how I should portray myself. I don’t want to become someone who takes attention and love away from those who have had to struggle more than I have.
So it’s a lose-lose-lose situation. I feel guilty all the time. I never feel proud of the person I am–– no, I never feel proud of the body I am. Sometimes I lean towards one side or the other. When I’m particularly angry with my mother I feel as if embracing body positivity and not caring about the way I look is another effective means of hurting her. Other times I feel motivated to exercise or eat a salad and know that I am getting closer to the body I want, and society wants me to have.
And no, I’m not going to tell you that you’re beautiful and should love yourself unconditionally. Because I know that to most people, that feels like bullshit. I know if you don’t love yourself now, me saying it isn’t going to change that. But what I will say is that you should try. I have to remind myself that being skinny isn’t everything, constantly. I am not content with myself –– far from it –– but I try to keep a voice at the back of my head to remind me that it’s okay.
I will say you should have this conflict. Because, if nothing else, at least I have a conflict. At least there’s a fight. At least I haven’t let one side or the other win.