Dear Body

 

By Alicia Hochstatter

Our relationship nowadays is complicated. Just like with every other relationship, we must constantly work on ours. Funny thing is, there was a time when we got along so well. I only realise now how precious that time was! We would do whatever felt good, run around with friends, be active outside, and just thrive in whatever we aspired to do. We were supportive of each other! I appreciated you in your own unique form. I was still able to understand you, when you said to me with the most natural urge – hunger. But, with time, our relationship shifted from ‘eating to live’ to ‘living to eat’.

 

I remember clearly the first time someone said to me: “Don’t eat too much, you might get fat!” It sounded like the worst thing that could possibly happen to me. At that moment, something inside me changed and so did our connection. Suddenly I began hearing these little whispers from outside, telling me what a ‘good’ body is supposed to look like and how I should shape you to fit the ideal, because somehow, I felt that you were no longer good enough. These subconscious voices soon transformed into a constant buzz in my head. I could not stop comparing myself to picture-perfect body images, because they were everywhere I looked… on television, adverts, social media platforms. The image of the woman; fragile and skinny (yet curvy in the right places), and the man; the super tall, muscular and strong man, somehow became my perceived reality in a world so dominated by visuals.

 

These ideals are sold to me as the equivalent of health, goodness and desirability. If my body doesn’t conform to society’s expectations, I am not worthy. Before, I had accepted and appreciated you, dear body, living my life without caring about whether I had a fucking thigh gap or not. Now, I felt discontentment, shame and self-hatred when I looked at you in the mirror. Yet, letting my life be ruled by my BMI, calories, exercise schedule and insufficient eating habits, led to huge self-imposed restrictions instead of the ultimate, holy, healthy body, and the contentment that is promised by the ‘fitspo’ lifestyle.

Puberty hit us all like a truck. You’re changing, you’re confused, you’re somehow trying to figure out who you are and where the hell you fit in. All of this sensitivity and uncertainty is a fantastic breeding ground for a toxic mindset. I think that the economy and society played a very perverted trick on us! Infusing these unrealistic norms with the promise of confidence, happiness and fitness, well-aware that these ideals are so far removed from reality that you will spend a lifetime (and a fortune on gym memberships and protein shakes) pursuing them. It took me years to realise that I had been chasing an unattainable goal, constructed as a vicious cycle of dissatisfaction.

 

My dear body, I promise you that I will make it up to you. I will make you healthy again by giving you the love you deserve and you deserve all of it in the world just because without you, I wouldn’t exist! I will learn, once again, to listen to your needs accurately and I will feed you proper food so you will have the power to do whatever we want in life. It’s a pity that we live in such an image-driven and shallow world! If our characters were visible, would we work on improving those instead?

 

So, dear body, I want to apologize to you for the discontent I harboured towards you – for not looking like the unrealistic body form which only exists after photoshop. I am so sorry for letting this toxic society interfere with our relationship. Everybody is unique and diversity is much more interesting than one boring stereotype! The definition of beauty is as versatile as the people out there and the only one you should aim to please is yourself!

 

RAW

An attempt to recreate the experience of being human, stripped of all superficiality.

An exploration of the human body from head to toe, delving into the differences which tie us together.

A journey towards uncovering layers, creating connections through stories.

This is Raw – Untold – Unfiltered.

 

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