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I haven’t loved my body in a while.
I haven’t loved my body once in my life.
When I was nine years old I hated my legs. I would stand in front of the long mirror in my parent’s room in my underwear and stare into my own eyes. I’d wonder things like why can’t my thighs be more muscular? Or, why don’t I have bony kneecaps? Or, why can’t I have slimmer calves I guess, since fourth grade, I wondered why I couldn’t be prettier. I thought if I stared at myself long enough in the mirror, or flexed my thigh muscles hard enough, that maybe my legs would morph into something I loved.
Realistically, at nine, I had great legs.
The self-deprecation didn’t stop there though. In middle school I used to sleep with leather belts tied around my torso thinking they would make my waist smaller.
And in eighth grade I remember running from Algebra II just to find a safe haven in the bathroom where I keeled over to the tiny-tiled floor. Erin Sullivan’s words echoed between the cobalt bathroom stalls and buzzed in my ears—Why is she wearing that shirt? She looks fat.
I wasn’t fat. I was a thirteen year old with a retainer and too much hair to know what to do with.
I can tell you one thing though. Ever since I was six and found out my best friend’s brother molested her, I promised myself that I would do everything in my power to lessen the suffering of others and to learn something new with every opportunity I was handed.
And I was handed a lot of opportunities. Many of which went sour, or left me feeling empty.
Now, at twenty-five and a half I find myself acting like my nine year old self. I stand in front of my own mirror this time. It’s on my buttered-yellow walls of my 400 square foot apartment in Lambertville, NJ along the Delaware River. I think about the mountains as I look at my curvaceous legs, wide hips and broad shoulders. I want to climb their dirt beaten paths. I want to find a cave. I want to be alone.
The difference about being twenty-five in comparison to being nine is that I can very rarely look myself in the eyes.