I saw a picture of myself and I didn’t scream and look the other way. The picture was taken shortly before I got pregnant and I was wearing tight jeans and a tiny little cardigan. I was out hiking with my dogs and I didn’t have on my usual heels and my makeup was a little worn through, although I did have a nice healthy flush to my cheeks, a natural blush brought on by physical exertion.
I looked closer and thought the strangest goddamn thing, I thought, “I was fucking thin, I really was.” I have gone through my entire life in a constant state of unease with my own physical appearance. Thoughts of, “I am fat”, “I am hideous”, “I am huge”, “I fucking hate myself”, have gone through my head on a continuous loop, over and over, ever louder and more demanding of my complete attention.
I never once felt content with my body, not one single part of it. I hated my thick thighs, my wrinkled knees and less than feminine calves. My strong shoulders and muscled back from too many years of lifting gallons of milk and bags of coffee beans. My skin, covered in freckles and other such bumps and spots, a mottled mixture of pinks, reds, yellows and even some blues. My stomach that even an hour of pilates a day never achieved anything close to toned or flat. My ass, oh god, my fucking ass, my giant dimpled ass. The more I worked out the bigger it got, more sturdy and shelf like, two distinct cheeks moving independently as I walked like they were trying to get away from each other, two separate entities seeking their own personalities. My small, child like breasts could not have been more out-of-place on my solid 5’9″ frame. I even hated my hands, my short bloated fingers and reddened knuckles.
The fucking battles that have gone on between my body and myself. I tried to starve it to death. It won. I tried to purge myself inside out, until my bowels floated in the toilet bowl along with undigested food speckled with blood. It won. I tried to drown it in vodka and cheap red wine. It won.
And now I am pregnant, a massive exaggeration of a woman, my stomach protruding further and further every day. My breasts now those of a woman, nipples swollen and waiting, anticipating. My hips and thighs growing larger, stronger, carrying both myself and child. My ass has successfully taken on the personalities of both Mother and whore. My arms eagerly await the weight of a baby. My body is no longer something to hate, to destroy. My body has created love, a love I never knew existed. A love I never thought I could deserve. A love I feel with every kick, with every wiggle between my ribs.
After I give birth and return to my “normal” size, I wonder if I can manage to be somewhat accepting of my body, to possibly be able to see the girl in the photograph instead of the girl in the mirror. Because those goddamn mirrors are tricky ass liars and they always will be. Will I still have a little bit of love for myself, for my body? The body that created something so beautifully alive and real? Or will I return to my old ways of self-hatred, name calling, restriction, purging and all the other destructive means I have construed to torture myself? I would like to think that all that shit is behind me or at least most of it; splattered on the wall behind a filthy toilet, scrawled into the door of a rest stop bathroom and spit into the sink like a mouthful of twenty-dollar cum.