me and my past life body

"each individual woman's body demands to be accepted on it's own terms." -gloria steinem


the other day patrick and i were talking about when we were young, and i thought it might be a fun/funny idea to look at my first diary.

i noticed it sitting on our bookcase recently, and i'm always flooded with memories when i look at it.  it's a totally early 90's look- with a plastic squishy cover, ballet slippers on the front, and a little lock and key on the side to keep snoopy siblings out!  i thought it was the coolest!  the pink, yellow, and blue lined pages broke from the binding, so now i can just slide the writings on out and read some of my early life observations...

i was expecting pretty innocent stuff, this diary is from 1992-1994 ish.  i was only 9, 10, and 11... i haven't revisited this diary in years and years, so i kinda forgot what was in it.  i've been keeping a diary- a journal i began to call it as i got older- most of my life, from age 9 up until now.  i have loads of pretty journals, their various styles marking what i was into at the time, at my parents house in my old bedroom closet.  i don't look at them that often because their honesty and immaturity sometimes are just too much for me!  i feel embarrassed for myself- a strange concept.  

so the journal started out typical enough, me talking about what i do every day, playing with dolls and swimming in brooks, very nondescript and unrevealing.  then i don't write in my journal for about a year, while i'm 10 years old.  i pick up where i left off at age 11, but abruptly my writing topics are changed completely.  now, at only age 11, i am writing about all the boys i have crushes on and how i need to go on a diet.

i had no idea i began young adult life at age 11.  i was saddened and bummed to picture me, a little girl- not even a teenager yet- thinking i'm fat and i need to look a certain way so that the boys i like will notice me.  i felt my heart ache and swell when i read the words 'summer is coming, but i don't want it to because i don't look good in a bathing suit'.  ugh, at 11 years old i began to hate my changing body.

and this is nothing unique.  so many young girls today grow up with such fucked up ideals of what think they need to live up to.  how could i have been helped?? 

so much of my precious youthful energy was wasted on worrying about my appearance.  i'd say from age 11-23 i did not like or feel comfortable in my own body.  i began my first "diet" at age 11, yo yoing all over the place for 12 years with eating super healthy and with stuffing myself with junk.  i'd try juice fasts and only eating raw, in hopes of having this ideal body as quickly as possible.  after a few days of barely eating i'd binge on cake and pizza, etc.  i'd always try to lose weight fast, so that i could have a day of eating anything i wanted a few days/weeks later.  i began obsessing about eating- what i would eat next, and if it would be a little or a whole lot.  i lived in an extremes only world when it came to nutrition and health.  all or nothing, black or white, fat or thin.

i was never 'fat', but i'm pretty short, so putting on 15-20 lbs makes a huge different on a 5' tall body.  i also felt like my thighs were always too big and muscular, and that my body was disproportional.  i wanted to be long and lean, like the girls i admired in magazines.  

as i mentioned above, this is the tale of many many girls.  and it doesn't have to be!  we can raise our girls to love, honor, and respect their bodies!  


so how did i come to love my body?

i slowed down, found passions in life, and started to work with what i had rather than against it.  at age 23 i'd screwed with my body so much, overfeeding it and underfeeding it constantly.  my metabolism was stuck in starvation mode so i had trouble staying at a normal healthy weight.  i pinballed from 96 lbs- 120 lbs.  i knew i had to make slow gradual lifestyle changes after so many "quick fixes".  i began practicing more and more yoga- but just a little at a time so i didn't burn myself out.  i started a daily running regime- i run everyday or every other day as far and as long as i feel like it.  no pressure, no extremes.  i also began eating normal meals again, and not putting any foods off limits.  i began cooking for my boyfriend patrick more often, so i learned what ingredients are healthy, nutritious, and tasty.  i finally figured out that oils and fats and red wine in moderation are good for you, and that anything i put restrictions on i usually will want more of.  and dessert after dinner is a good thing!!, something i can indulge in with awareness and joy.  no limits, no rigid rules.

most importantly, i learned with practice to love and accept my body AS IS.  i'm short, but petite; my legs are muscular, but strong; and my butt is round and plump, but pleasingly so.  i will never be long and lean, i will never have a six pack.  but i love my ever-developing muscles in my shoulders and in my calves, i'm proud of my running stamina and my enthusiasm for yoga.  i've worked hard to finally and deservedly love what i've got.


moderation has set me free.  it took a few years of this healthy non-extremist lifestyle to settle in, but now i feel like i truly live free and with a harmony in body and mind.  i love and cherish my body more than i ever have, and no longer have the desire to hurt or disrespect it.  i've found so much comfort and stability in my health, i only wish i had found this peace sooner.  it's sort of like i have a second chance at youth now, my body feels like when i last knew it and loved it at age 8.  i finally feel happy in my own skin.  what a blessing!

i would never want my daughter, or anyone else's daughter to start "dieting" at age 11.  young girls today need, in addition to sex ed, some sort of yoga/meditation/body love class.  too many young girls will suffer for nothing, for an empty hopeless ideal.  i would never wish what i struggled with on anyone else.  it's a waste of life and time.  

let's all support and encourage any young girls we know to love and accept themselves, while forming a sustainable lifestyle of good health and moderate exercise.  

namaste.     


3 comments:

  1. Hey Hells Bells! I read your blog and love this post. Your writing is so admirably honest - and this post was such a great description of that missing sense of self in the teens / early 20s - I felt exactly the same way.
    I'm living in Thailand this year (and maybe India next year) so you should definitely come visit!
    Alofa,
    Kelu

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  2. aw kelu :) you are the sweetest. thank you so much for the kind words! haha remember how nuts i was with eating in samoa?! oh boy- very funny. i try to keep it honest, and i feel good when i can reveal who i am to others.

    wow youre in thailand?!?! and then perhaps india!! so awesome! what are you doing there? i miss traveling, i havent gone anywhere in a long time. seriouly, i might take you up on that and try to visit. you would be such a fun person to hang with in thailand :) how much longer will you be there? do you love it??

    miss you dude! so many great memories with you :) youre really the only person from the team i ever saw again after samoa :) special :)

    so much alofa to you kelu!!!!

    heli

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  3. Hey! You should definitely come - I'll be in Thailand til June and then India from August on. You would love it - lots of culture and beautiful landscapes. Waaay more fun than Samoa as a place to live :)

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