I am More

Jan 24, 1:15pm

I just weighed myself and weigh **0.7. Two days ago I was **1.7

I looked at my weight loss tracking app.

I saw that my weight loss has been .29% per week since December 3 2019. 3 pound weight loss in almost 3 months.

I stepped back from the scale and said aloud to myself as I was picking up quarters ($3.50 to be exact) to go to do laundry in my near-empty apartment where my girlfriends sleeps soundly in the next room.  

I said aloud:

“ I am more than that. I am intelligent. I know words. I am compassionate, I am beautiful because I have freckles on my beautiful brown skin.”  

 I started to tear up when unconsciously I said words in which I don’t believe “ I am more than that number on that scale. I am worthy of love. Of receiving it. Of Giving it.” A voice that spoke words as if they didn’t come from me lovingly cascaded out of my mouth because I don’t believe them. But this was a gentle reminder or rather affirmation from deep within. A truth I push away because instead the lie that I am “fat” beats me over the head daily and rips me apart, tearing my self-esteem and any possibility of self-love away and out of my grip.

So. I am more.

I am more than the names that I was called thought elementary school and the nickname they gave me about my body. The name that the popular girls at the sleepovers branded me with at the parties I used to get invited to. I am more than the hurt that still haunts me from the boy that told me he’s “seen uglier” when I was 11 at a party in a hot tub when it was time to play “who would you date” I am more than the trauma that began when the boy who told me to “sit down Rilen, nobody wants to see your fat” when my pre-pubescent, lanky, tall 5’5, size 6 body rose from my desk and I outstretched my arms above my head to simply stretch and my favorite magenta shirt rolled up, betraying me by exposing my then, non-existent “muffin top. I am more than the permanent message that from that moment forward that my hips were bad, gross, disgusting and the eventual stretch marks that showed up in adulthood were wrong and something to humiliated about. I am more than that debilitating fear that forces me to wear leotards when I perform out of sheer terror that my shirt might fly up and my “fat stomach” and “hips” will fall out mid-performance, leading me to be self-conscious and unable to stay in the moment during a scene because that voice will scream at me how disgusting I am and how embarrassed I should be. 

I am more than the deleterious nickname my mom gave my breasts in high school that mocked the color of my skin and the shape of my body. Goddamnit, I am MORE than any mean word and slur that anyone believed they had the agency or permission to pass judgment about my childhood body and my body now in my adult years.

I deserve nothing but respect and admiration for my body. For its shape, its color, the ripples on my thighs, the scars on my skin that I self- inflicted because I needed to feel something in moments of distress. The freckles that litter my face that seem to multiply every year, my 3 tattoos on my body inked in by a stinging needle with each holding deep meaning and representing a piece of my identity. 

My mind deserves to be respected for its intellect and capabilities. My gifts to express myself through word, song, and acting deserve acknowledgment, not my untoned arms and stomach. My mind needs to accept that I am everything I need to be at this moment. Would I like to lose weight to feel more confident in my body? Yes. Does that mean that because of weight loss I need to do in order to be healthier that was unfairly added to my body as a side effect of psychiatric meds to help with other aspects of my mental health that debilitate me equal me being gross, a failure and lazy because it hasn’t happened yet?  Does that fear that freezes me from making changes cross my mind that even if I lose weight I will still hate myself as much as I do now? Undoubtedly. But when all is said and done, I am enough. I am all that I need to be. A number on a piece of glass with batteries and a number on a size of pants or shirt has absolutely no merit or any standing in who I am as a human. I am more. So, so much more.

Reclaiming my Body

“How am I reclaiming my body?” I am asked by my friend, Haley for a challenge she started. This challenge is the whole reason you are even reading this right now. I ponder the question. A few answers pop up, then push them away thinking they are too personal, so I say I will go to back to thinking about it later. I mindlessly watch Tv, zone out, but the tantalizing question keeps whispering in my ear and finally an hour later I finally confront it.

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Just now- posting that first picture of my mostly naked body…I could stop typing right now is reclaiming my body because I feel like I am going to throw up and my body is hurdling through space and my head is spinning. Am I going to post this? My grotesque body for the world to see? We will see if this post ends up on the internet. But I digress and push all feeling of utter detestation, distaste and revulsion for my body and I’ll post what I originally wrote:

I reclaim my body everyday that I no longer cut it’s beautiful, unique shade of carmel- honey-brown-sugar and in return, the counter on my phone applauds me by tallying another day clean. I reclaim my body with every morsel of food I eat to nourish my body. Is it fun to have to force yourself to eat sometimes? Or realize it’s 10pm and you’ve gotten though another day without food and find satisfaction in that, but also sadness because it’s not fair to yourself? Absolfuckinglutly not. With every sip of water I drink my body silently thanks me. Every cigarette I don’t smoke anymore and pollute my lungs with is a victory after 7 years of wasted money, stinking clothes and rotting breath. I reclaim my body when I remind myself that it is mine and nobody else’s and that *I* am in control from here on out. It’s revolutionary when I have the small “it wasn’t your fault” moments and feel that I no longer have to feel like a victim- they are few and far between but those are moments to be cherished. I reclaim my body when I see myself as more than my physical body and include my beautiful, brilliant, creative, afflicted mind as part as my whole self. I am not the sum of my physical parts.

Even in the moments when I all I can see are is damaged parts; the fat, hideousness, disgust, shame, laziness, loneliness, mental illness and sickness that swallow me whole, I try to salvage the idea that I am not a failure. I am intelligent, well spoken, educated and have an alacrity and appetite to learn more and more about the topics that interest me. I always say, (especially when it comes to dating) “I would rather be respected for my mind than my body.” Body shapes and sizes are ephemeral, intelligence is forever.

I reclaimed my body and soul when I declared my trans identity and express that in a plethora of ways because of the fluidity of my gender expression is infitie. On August 8, 2016 I surgically reclaimed my physical body.

I reclaim my body when I write because all the neurons and synapses in my brain are firing at once. When words surge at the speed of light out of my fingertips and onto a page and simultaneously thoughts erupt out of my brain like lava exploding out of a volcano–I must find a way to express myself because spoken words won’t suffice. My body is reclaimed when I speak about my mental illness because I can use my brain, (a seemingly endless mocking dichotomy of strength and weakness) as a beacon of hope for others because I am articulate, open and honest. I can show my scars, tell my stories, share the trauma and what lead me to who I am today. I use my lips that I once hated because people, men, used to make sexual comments about them to share my message of hope.

I am reclaiming my body when I go to therapy 2 times a week to work on the skewed and sometimes illogical beliefs I hold about myself and my body. I am challenged by a brilliant therapist to really look at myself and thoughts and notions about myself and the world and question if what I am thinking or feeling is coming from an emotional place or a place of logic.

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I am in a perpetual state of evolution.

#ReclaimingMyBody