[possible trigger warning: body image and eating disorders.]
I was looking through Tumblr a couple minutes ago and saw a number of posts referring to "thigh gaps." Naturally curious, but fairly certain I knew what they meant, I searched the term. After looking few a few pages of results, I got sick and came to write this.
I know I come off fairly upbeat on here; I have consciously made this a space where I can keep positive energy and ideas, because I think happiness sometimes needs a reminder or two and why funnel negative thoughts online? With that said, there are times where I feel the need to post more than a few pictures of my outfit or my day. I'm a considerably more serious person offline than I am on. I have actually spent a good majority of my life being withdrawn and pensive, my brow furrowed as I survey my surroundings wordlessly. My family is familiar with this side of me; Henrik, too, reminds me that I need to relax before, he claims, I give myself a heart-attack. I take things very hard, and I am very hard on myself.
Growing up, I had poor self-esteem. I was in a series of not-so-good relationships from a young age, determined to find my worth in the opinions of boys and men. I remember very clearly the first time my body was really criticized at the age of 12, and it pains me to say that I still think of what was said nearly 10 years later. I became obsessed with "perfection," convincing myself that the only way to gain love and companionship long term would be to be flawlessly beautiful. A large piece of beauty, I thought, was weight⎯or, rather, the lack thereof. I wanted to be thin more than just about anything. That's changed now. I may not be completely different, but I recognize the harm in those earlier thoughts and behaviors. I am careful not to relapse into habits that left me weak and sickly.
While there is beauty in all body types and shapes, there is nothing beautiful about starvation and self-mutilation. There is nothing pretty about girls who haven't reached puberty going on diets, nothing sexy about women truly loathing themselves for the natural and necessary act of eating. These extreme behaviors are dangerous and quite literally destroy people. After reading just a sampling of posts from young girls and women so angry with themselves and the perfectly adequate bodies they're in, I'm unbelievably sad.
I don't even know what to say. I don't mean to come off as if I am perfectly well-adjusted, because I'm not. I am critical of myself too, occasionally in ways that paralyze and depress me. However, one does not need to be perfect to recognize what is flawed. These ideas are wrong. We as women are so much more than these vessels that carry us, though we may forget it at times. I am more than the size I wear and the number of calories I eat, and I am certainly more than the space that exists or does not exist between my thighs. And so are you.