Body Love: R is for Roots
The way that we look at our own bodies is very much influenced by our experiences of other people’s approaches towards our bodies. If you come from a loving and non-judgmental home, you most likely have a more positive perspective. If you have been bullied for the way you look, you might struggle with body acceptance and have internalized a lot of those views. It can be difficult to change those perspectives, and even the smallest comments from the past can forever linger in the backs of our heads. I certainly struggle with this a lot and although I am aware of where the roots of my negative body image lie, I have a hard time cutting them off.
Throughout the A to Z challenge this year, it has probably become more than apparent that I don’t have a very positive body image. I have been working hard on learning to love all parts of my body, and being more accepting of that I don’t have and never will have the sort of body that society in general would deem as beautiful. But it is hard. I compare myself to others, and I can’t keep away the thoughts that a fat or overweight body is unattractive.
The interesting thing is that I don’t feel that way about others. I see something beautiful in everyone. Would I fuck everyone? No, of course not. But beautiful doesn’t need to be equal to being attractive. I don’t have to be attracted to someone to see beauty in them. Body shape is not important to me when I look at others. Personality, creativity, confidence and intelligence are what I find fuckable. Bodies don’t have much to do with sexual attraction, or romantic attraction, for me.
It is odd that I have been able to question and disregard the negative thoughts about fat bodies when it comes to others. I treat myself and my own body not with the same compassion and kindness. I seem to have a different gaze on myself than I have on others. And it doesn’t matter that I am aware of this, because so far I have done a pretty bad job with erasing those negative views that have been conditioned into my mind ever since I was a chubby kid.
Roots to my negative body image
So the roots to my body hate are definitely to be found in my childhood. They are linked to comparing myself to others, and to the premise that a fat body is unwanted. It all started when I was a small kid and I was a bit chubby. My parents started limiting my food intake and I felt unfairly treated because my siblings were still allowed the “bad” food, like chocolate, ice cream and the fries. My portions became smaller. And I got daily reminders of how a fat girl would never land a successful husband, and how I needed to be slim and beautiful to attract the other sex.
It was really weird. For my parents it was never really about being healthy. It was about being slim. I didn’t have to love my body. It was all about what others thought. So my goal was to become attractive to others. I am still fighting with the need for appreciation from others. It is not like I panicky crave compliments. But it is more like when others comment negatively, or not at all, I freak out. I think I am unattractive, unfuckable and I should hide my body.
When I am in a low mood, I might even disbelieve compliments I get. I try to find out what they really mean, if there is any sarcasm detectable, if someone is trying to manipulate me. So even though I have a need to get my worth as an attractive person validated by the views of others, when those views seem positive, I question if they are truthful.
I also constantly compare myself to others. I know that comes from my parents’ constant reminders that I am not as slim as my sister, not as beautiful as my cousin. It was always about that I was the ugly fat daughter that will probably end up alone. So this has led to that I compare myself to others. I look at other people’s bodies and I see how shitty, fat and disgusting I look in comparison to them. It is almost a form of self-destructive behaviour for me, to look at beautiful women, and to hate myself for being a fat ugly blob.
A lot of my body hate also derives from the bullying I had to go through. I was bullied for being fat, for being short, for looking Persian, for my big eyes, for my boob shape, for my belly. My body seems to have always been under scrutiny from my peers at school and later also in some friend circles. I was called some vile names, and some nicknames stuck with me for years. Rude names that basically described the way I looked in a very negative way.
The bullying of course got to me, and it is still something I can’t just shake off. I have a difficult time talking to old peers because they often bring up either those nicknames or they comment on how I have such a beautiful face in some of my pictures now. I remember one guy calling me the ugly duckling who has grown into a beautiful swan. And then hit on me. He used to really make fun of me. I blocked him.
All those things I got bullied for, are the things I hate most about my body. I hate that I look Persian from certain angles. I hate that I am fat, that my belly is fat. That my boobs have an odd shape. I don’t hear those words in my head, but I can sense their echos. And I don’t know how to totally ignore them, because it is not like they are wrong. I have a big nose, big eyes, droopy boobs, a big belly. I wish I could understand that those things don’t mean that I am ugly though. They can be beautiful too, or at least intriguing. Or okay.
One thing that has me confused is how selectively I only focus on the negative things that have been said about my body. It doesn’t matter that I basically never was without a partner. That I had people hitting on me. That I had people telling me I am beautiful. All those positive experiences seem to mean nothing in comparison to the bullying and negative comments. I guess we always remember pain more than we do happy moments.
I wish people understood how much hurt one comment can cause. How one nickname, one joke, one look, can forever be stuck in someone’s mind, and make it impossible for them to embrace body love, or even body acceptance.
I am doing the A to Z challenge during the month of April (and apparently beginning of May). My theme is Body Love. So you will get 26 posts from me, following the alphabet, related to the topic body love. You can check out more about the to A to Z challenge by clicking on the banner. You can find a list of sexbloggers participating in the challenge on Mrs Fever’s site.