relationship with body (n). always a little complicated, hesitant and begrudging. most importantly, ongoing.
can i decisively point to the moment where the grapple between body and self began? not with any honesty. all i know is that it happened, and continued to happen for the next two decades. something triggered that contention. and we are still here today. learning, unlearning. breathing, trying. sometimes gloriously wonderful and deeply fulfilling. other days darker, messy; to be tolerated as best can be, shrinking and hiding.
re-emerging, waving. “i am still here.” affirming.
what does the world say? faster, better, stronger. most importantly? lesser. be smaller, therefore more attractive, better than. consistently thinner. non-negotiable and to-be-obeyed.
youthful foundations: discipline, timeliness. acceptance and grace. there was this body, so good at navigating the world. shiny medals, flying the flag, excelling. even in the midst of all that celebration and joy, the mind always reminding: thinner, smaller, better- never forget. careless to forget.
what was this desire to disappear, to be less visible even while becoming more? less and therefore more desirable? where did that yearning come from? forever grappling with that question. thinner echoed consistently. running, sinister whisperings. running, disappearing. obsessively striving to be less, to not be too much. much too much to ever be loved even as i was loved for being so much. navigating.
“i see you’re not on this perpetual mission to destroy yourself any more.i’m glad you finally think you’re worth saving.” upile chisala.
at some point, impasse. sheer exhaustion from over a decade of mutterings. an enduring affair began in lieu of therapy. a little peace followed. then a lot of it. then the strength. smaller, certainly, but no longer cruelly demanded. what mattered was no longer smaller but stronger, faster. a relief to add happier, kinder, softer, more honest, committed.
life from what was once so desperately sought to be destroyed. a jealously guarded home.
learning to sit quietly, to listen deeply. to let go of the fear and whisperings. fear of failing. not enough. too much (from and to all the men i purported to love- thank you).
“what about this theory. the fear of not being enough. and the fear of being too much. are exactly the same fear. the fear of being you.” nayyirah waheed