It’s important to realize that what you see isn’t always real. I find it incredibly hard to remind myself that the images I see in magazines are photoshopped and edited by professionals because what I do see, I want to believe is real. I want to believe it’s achievable. Why? Because I find it beautiful, attractive, and coveted. I fall into the media trap just as millions of others do. We have to become aware and willing to look at the beautiful models and images and say, “This is a product. This is a message. This is a lie. This does not have to be me.”
^^ Hell yes ^^
I will begin this by admitting to having one form of an eating disorder or another for as long as I can remember. To further complicate my body image concerns: just over seven months ago, I was in a car accident that caused severe head & facial trauma.
I became a self-proclaimed feminist at sixteen, after having been exposed to Sylvia Plath, Bikini Kill, & Sleater-Kinney. “Finding” feminism was a turning point in my relationship with my body. So many conflicts arose, with bulimia nervosa yanking me one direction & The Beauty Myth pulling me another. I eventually found myself enamored with self-help, support groups, & group therapy.
As a Feminist Studies student in a liberal forest-ocean-town, I have been exposed to so many positive books & theories & events & people that promote self-love, self-care, courage, bravery, & overall “radical” thought. I learned very quickly that the personal is political, that my relationship with my body is layered, perplexing, & intersectional (by now, I could write a 600 page memoir on the subject, but I digress).
However, it wasn’t until, at 22 years old, on August 25th 2010, when my face was pounded into an incomprehensible pulp, that I truly learned to love what I had once (almost, at times) abhorred.
I was hospitalized for three weeks. I crushed my cheekbones, nose, & left eyesocket (my cheekbones & eyesocket are now made of titanium). I lost my left eye. I had a brain bleed. The doctors shaved a third of my head-hair to drill a hole into my skull for pressure relief. I was on more medications than I can accurately recall - I have PTSD, mostly due to the fact that I was on so many sedation drugs (dilaudid, mostly) that I couldn’t accurately put together the pieces of what had happened to me. I was set to begin my senior year of college in the fall of 2010, but have been forced to take the year off for numerous surgeries. I cannot work because of the abundance of doctor’s appointments, operations, & my malfunctioning tear ducts (I’m always seemingly crying - my tears do not adequately drain down the back of my throat like everyone else’s). I was forced to move back home with my parents - while the majority of my closest friends are graduating from our university on June 11th.
While I have sometimes found myself defeated - a recovering bulimic with a broken face, no job, living with her parents in her small-desert-hometown - I often recall Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking. In this memoir, Didion recalls the year following her husband’s death & the nightmarish caliber of her daughter’s illness - & the most cathartic point of the story is the fact that she made it through.
I could have lost my life. Everything could have been so much worse. Instead of ruminating about my thighs, my belly, my hips, my arms, my blemished skin, my too-big-nipples, my hairiness, my scarred wide nose, my left non-eye, my chipped tooth, or my tracheotomy scar - instead of indulging in a disorder that only harbors detriment - I am determined to love this body. I am going to love this body at any size, any weight, any physical “abnormality”. I like my hairy armpits. I like my round rump. I AM AWESOME. There are SO MANY issues that are TOO IMPORTANT for me, or anyone, to waste time scrutinizing themselves.
I love my old face, & I’ll love my new face just the same. Why? Because, if I have learned anything through my feminist education, it is that SELF-LOVE IS REVOLUTIONARY. As you begin to adopt this decree, your whole world slowly feels renewed.
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Wow wow wow, I have so much respect for her because God only knows what she has been through. I am vain and often find myself criticizing each and every aspect of my body instead of being grateful for all the things it does for me. I really do believe and find her to be brave and phenomenal. I am on a journey to find love, acceptance and peace and I am grateful for my big nose, no eyebrow having face. I may not really like certain things about my body but honestly it is what it is and I believe that I wasn’t meant to have any other face or body. So I am proud and happy to look the way I do! =D Love yourself ladies! You only get one life and one face stop bitching for a moment and appreciate it!
What a gorgeous young woman… in mind, body & spirit ♥
This is just… disgusting beyond words. To all my beauties struggling with eating disorders out there, please, please, please be careful. Do whatever you can to ensure this doesn’t ever happen to you.
Ronny Bi, originally from China, now living in Canada, says she was held captive and forced into anorexia pornography after being tricked by someone she had been in contact with online. “He forced me to pose for photos both in revealing clothing and nude, it was sickening. I was too weak to fight back because of how thin I was. I was completely powerless.” Bi, who was held captive with another person with an eating disorder, was starved by her captor in order to make her as emaciated and marketable as possible.
"Sadly, I was not the only woman he did this to," she says. "Eventually, both of us managed to escape but my friend died shortly afterwards from heart failure due to her anorexia. It was shortly after this that I found out he had posted all of the photos he took of us online and they spread to all the pro-ana and anorexia pornography websites like wildfire.”
Warning: Self harm
My name is Libby, I am seventeen and a junior in high school. I am 5’2 and weigh 210 lbs.
I have NEVER ever been thin. My whole life I have always been a big girl. I have broad shoulders and big wrist so I have a big frame which means I’ll probably never be a tiny girl.
I was diagnosed with OCD when I was 5 and Anxiety and depression at 10. Later on I found out I had PDD which is a form of autism.
I started cutting at the age of 6. My mom said I use to bite the erasers of pencils and use the metal part to hurt myself. I don’t really remembered what triggered me to start hurting myself. I had a good life at home. I had a wonderful family. But I never had friends because I was different.
I was made fun of a lot as I went into middle school about my weight. I have never known a time when I felt comfterable in my own skin. I started to make friend and I was always the person they could come too if they needed help. I started trying to help everyone….and it caused me not to have time to take care of myself…I slowly fell into a very bad depressed state. In 8th grade the cutting got worse. I had my first serious relationship at 15 and that ended badly.
By high school I had many friends. I always came to school with a smile. But I was truly never happy. My weight and nonexistent self esteem was in the way. I left my high school the beginning of my junior year and starting going to a private school. I have never been so happy. It’s horrible though that I had to give up my prom, my graduation, my senior year just so I could be happy for once.
I have a dream of being on broudway…but becasue of my size I am afraid to try. I have been singing for years. Music is what has kept me alive. I love to act. I have been in threatre for years. It helped me alot because I get to be someone other than myself.
I want to stop putting myself down. I want to feel beautiful for once. So today and every day I will wake up and tell myself I am beautiful.
A couple days ago, a friend of mine made a post on Facebook, saying, “I don’t think I’ll ever be happy with my body.” Several people had already commented, giving bad advice and invalidating the issue altogether (“gym.. blood sweat tears. works everytime,” or “This is stupid. You have a body so many girls would die for. I do understand not being happy with your body,” etc.). In some moment of insight I didn’t know I was capable of, I wrote a comment that I’d like to share with all of you who are struggling:
Nobody is ever really happy with their bodies, regardless of what they look like or how close they are to the societal standard of beauty. That is, until they realize that the notion of beauty is completely subjective and a lot more goes into your beauty than just what your body looks like. Your body keeps you alive. Somehow, you wake up every morning and your legs carry you through the day, your heart pumping blood everywhere it needs to go, your brain keeping all your parts in check while simultaneously creating thoughts and feelings and opinions. Remember this when you aren’t satisfied with your body. It’s not a thing to perfect. It’s a thing to nurture and appreciate. And it is beautiful.
AWESOME. What a perfect response ♥