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Body Image

August 30, 2011

    I’ve always hated doctor’s visits. Every since I was a little girl, I would rue the annual inspection, particularly after age ten. I would go every year without overtly protesting, sit anxiously in the waiting room, holding back tears. My stomach would lurch as soon as the nurse called my name and said those wretched words–“The doctor will see you now.”

    I’d follow my mother and the nurse down the seemingly endless hall decorated with brightly colored wallpaper, adorned with a banner of teddy bears. The doctor would ask my mother routine questions about my eating habits, sexual activity, grades in school, health concerns, special needs, friends and classmates (neither of which I had) as I attempted not to squirm in the uncomfortable paper gown, wearing only my undergarments beneath it. My skin would be prickling with a combination of fear, anxiety and a chill that I couldn’t quite shake. 

    My weight, height, blood pressure, hearing and vision accuracy were recorded. I would lay stiffly on the paper-covered, cushioned board as the pediatrician examined my skin, genitals, teeth, and bone structure,  followed by one of the things I hated most–the breast examination. The pediatrician would painfully knead the sore, newly forming tissue with her cold hands as I stared blankly at the ceiling, trying to mentally place myself anywhere except for where I was at that very moment.

    I’d be relieved as soon as the pediatrician would say, “Ok, you can sit up; we’re all finished here,” and shake my hand. Before exiting the office, the physician would give my mother a thin stack of papers outlining the diet she’d like me to follow strictly, explaining the particular exercises I was to do and the foods was allowed to eat— as well as those that I was to altogether avoid. And listening to this, did horrible things to my young mind. 

    Growing up, I led a very healthy life, being taught that I was a beautifully perfect creation of God, having gym class with my three siblings and mother almost daily, eating whole, organic foods, taking a multivitamin, etc. Yet, the pediatrician would always tell me that I was unhealthy. I felt inadequate because my three older siblings seemed to receive perfect reports from their physicians every time and I did not. I didn’t fall under the benchmarks of what children were to be, according to statistics and I hated that. I didn’t understand how it could be that I was such a wonderful God-created being and yet I wasn’t what seemingly every physician said I ought to be.

    Looking back at photos of younger myself, I realize that I was never fat, but I also wasn’t skinny, nor I wasn’t shaped like my older siblings. My older siblings are lean and I am curvy–just like my mother. Even when I was younger, I noticed the differences and found myself comparing my appearance to theirs. I would stand in the mirror next to my sister who would frequently tease me about my round face, curved hips, and shapely legs–calling me “chubby” or “fat”. I internalized it and although I have a mother who would tell me to ignore her and that I was beautiful just the way I was, I still focused on the things my sister said.

    I can’t exactly say that I’m fully satisfied with my physical appearance now, but I’m working on fostering a healthier, more realistic idea about myself. Honestly, I can only hope it’ll work.

Loving oneself can be a challenge
If all you were taught is wrong
It can be a difficult road to travel
And it often seems all too long
I speak from personal knowledge
That I am sharing with you
Though I am not a scholar from college
All that I say is just as true

I’ve been learning to love my curves
Since I was about aged ten
I wasn’t so sure of what happened
Because I couldn’t quite fathom it then

My sister would call me fat
And other things I will not say
It was one of those things I never shared
But held inside unto this day

Developing at an early age
Wasn’t what I thought it to be
It got me more attention than wanted
As I tried to hide my body

I dealt with the looks, the whistles, the stares
I just learned how to ignore it
Though even now at age sixteen
I still find it abhorrent

I no longer hate my body
For what it is and what it is not
Though sometimes I behave indifferently
People tend to call me hot

Today I am still learning
To love my body and the way it looks
Hopefully this time I’ll succeed
Rather than retreat back to my books

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. SaraPey permalink
    August 31, 2011 6:30 pm

    I stopped by your blog to check it out and I was so surprised with this post because I’m sometimes I feel like you: got to thank to the mom’s genes as well! This world makes us feel that we’re never good enough, but we can’t listen to it, otherwise we’ll never fell good about ourselves… I figured that out not so long ago and I think I’m also still learning how to love my body the way it turned out to be. Thank you for remind me that 🙂

    • August 31, 2011 8:35 pm

      Wow, I thought I was the only person who felt that way; but it makes sense considering today’s society. I’m thrilled to hear that my entry reminded you to love yourself (we all need a little reminder every now and then). I wish you success on your journey! 🙂
      By the way, thanks so much for taking the time to read, like and comment on that post. I appreciate it!

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