Disclaimer: This personal essay reflects my own experiences and should not be construed as a guidebook or one-size-fits-all solution. It is not intended to endorse or promote diet culture or weight loss practices. This essay is simply a narrative of my personal path to self-acceptance and healing body image issues.
In 2021 I got myself painted. An artist put out a call for nude models, she wanted to practice her skill. I volunteered.
It was a long road that got me there. My relationship with my body has gone through most things imaginable. It has shown me great power and strength and resilience and ability, it has also shown me grief and pain and loss and shame.
I've done karate, tennis, swimming, cross fit, yoga, strength training, basketball, running, weights. I've done the GM diet, Atkins, keto, have worked with nutritionists, dieticians, trained and untrained, regulated and not. I've had screams and fights and tears and scoldings and hiding and lying.
Food, body, and me - we are not a union made by the gods. But then again, we are.
In 2020 I set out on one of my life's great challenges - I successfully dropped 28 kilos in 8 months. Some came back, but 80% has been gone and I'm damn proud of myself. A lot had to happen to reach a place where I was able to commit to that journey. And all of it had to come from within.
When I was younger, I was more made to do things other's determined best, rather than recognizing and choosing what felt right to me. That outside instruction clashed perfectly with my adolescent brain and launched a mast of rage rebellion. A lot of eating Nutella in the bathroom. A decade after that behaviour I still do not bring Nutella into my home - it makes going for brunch more fun but stays a food that needs psychological control.
In 2020 I finished my masters and was transitioning into my peak independence era and along with that came maybe a sense of responsibility? Maybe it came from a less healthy place of discontent and dissatisfaction. Regardless, food, body, and me, we took a trip. Rather a recovery journey that was major food changes with minor exercise and on some deep level, a lot of loss.
Loss of parts of my body. I was dropping kilos and was watching pieces of me leave. The food was dreadful, I tasted joy after 60 days – one scoop of ice cream, after I lost my first 10. It worked for me, I somehow sustained.
After all that, I took raw pictures of myself and sent it over the internet to an artist oceans away who treated my body with such kindness and softness and in doing so I swear I healed.
I felt magic in that heavy paper and charcoal curves. It's an intimate relationship, you and your body. Me and mine - it felt like the slices were starting to be sown. Healing scars are heavenly. The tiger stripes glimmering white and red across my back, they remind me of all I have contained. Hanging above my couch is a reminder of my eternal partnership with my body - of the love and respect that is our duty to each other.