Contributed by: Hager Eldaas, Multimedia Journalist
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Story from: Queens New York, USA
I can’t place my finger on the exact day that I started hating my body, but I remember vividly all the moments that may have led up to it.
The first time I experienced a deep awareness of its existence, my body’s existence, was when I got my period. My mom had done her motherly duty of telling me that it was coming and what to expect when it did. But I was a late bloomer compared to my friends and I got mine at 13. I wasn’t excited or scared, nor was I confused about the changes ahead of me. I was not ashamed like I had heard many girls were when they spotted that first red stain. I was annoyed. I didn’t tell my mother and just kept changing my clothes and hoping that it would permanently go away. I wanted to wish it into disappearance. And it worked. I didn’t get my period the following month or the four after that. But after five months, it came back and had apparently grown more resilient. It’s been a regular visitor ever since.
I now know that there are other women who can claim the same feelings, but at 13, my epiphanies only lasted as long as my longest teenage crush, and so, aside from when I received my bi-weekly migraines, I went back to forgetting that I had a body.
At 15, I was interrupted. I had fractured the same toe twice in one month. Afterwards, I was taken to a podiatrist who revealed to me that I was walking all wrong, but I knew for a fact that this was no fault of my own. I had my father’s walk—barely lifting our feet off the ground, exerting minimal effort to drag our bodies along and hoping they’d learn to cooperate. But it was understood that I’d have to develop a new walk because my toes could no longer afford to go on tripping over and bumping into chairs and doorways and whatever else came in their way.
I could imagine that somewhere in between the time that I was practicing my new walk and the time I did away with the idea that I’d ever perfect the new walk is when I started noticing that I didn’t like my body very much. I was probably around 17. I don’t remember the specific instance when I acknowledged that feeling, but I do recall staring at the mirror often during this time. Puberty had hit me hard and I was putting on the weight. It might’ve been one of those days when I was feeling particularly metaphysical and had caught my reflection in the mirror and thought to myself, “That’s me. I am that. That girl, the one that I’m looking at right now, is the same girl who’s thinking these exact thoughts.” I probably didn’t like what I saw.
At 20, I started to feel sharp pains at the top of my stomach and down to the right side of my abdomen. Anything I ate made me sick, especially if it was spicy or oily, which was all I consumed when I was in college. At 21, they told me I had to get my gallbladder removed. It made sense. I hadn’t been very kind to it.
I spent the next few years trying to fixate some of the fascination I had for my mind onto my body. “No, I don’t have a body. I am a body, just as much as I am a mind and I am thoughts.” But at 27, I was in a hospital room as my father’s soul was exiting his body and the idea that the two were one was no longer sitting well with me.
Shortly after my father’s death, my ears started ringing (that’s what they call it, but it’s more of a whooshing— tinnitus is it’s official name). My neck pain was unbearable. My hands randomly numbed and tingled. My doctor ran tests and then recommended a psychologist and maybe some yoga. My symptoms were likely caused by trauma.
At 28, I tried yoga for the first time. It was nothing too serious, just me following along to a Youtube video. The instructor often repeated the same sentence, urging us to focus on our breathing, which proved to be an impossible task for me. My breaths just aren’t the most cooperative. But the exercises did make my neck feel better, so I kept up with them.
And now, at 29, I wish that I could end this by saying that through yoga and meditation, I have finally found a way to love my body or even that I’ve been tapped in to it’s flow, but no. Most days I forget that I have a body, that I am a body— I haven’t decided which one it is yet. But I can tell you this: I take it out for a daily stroll and I think it’s grown accustomed to it’s strange little walk because it rarely trips over it’s own feet anymore.
This is Aida, Founder of 365 Days of Love <3
First, a big thank you to the inspiring woman Hager for sharing her story. I battled for years on my body image and developing love for my body. It is indeed one of the biggest battle I have tackled and still find ways to improve it. I have finally found love for my body and where I am today. I learnt how to stop looking up and feeling inadequate when I looked at magazines with super model. I hope you have been working on your body image and body love because it is a key to self-love.
Second a big thank you to YOU for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed this and have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch (button below). We have 329 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!
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With Lots of Love,