It took me many years to even begin to unravel my eating disorders and the associated issues I have around them. And I still struggle daily, in little ways.
The poison that I most want to remove from my body is the lie that women are supposed to look the same all the time — that our bodies should not change with time, with the consumption of food, or with the cycle of our periods.
That is a disgusting lie that causes so much pain for so many women. God forbid we want to indulge in a piece of cake or an extra pat of butter. God forbid we change with age. And god forbid our beautiful, miraculous, amazing bodies grow plumper and rounder when we menstruate.
In my circle, this time of the month has always been treated with such shame and derision. So many women have been so successfully brainwashed that we now dread getting “period belly.”
In my forties now, experiencing the last years of my period, I am learning to love and appreciate every moment of it. It’s not always easy to see the extra fullness on me, but I constantly look to find ways to love myself through this time.
Yes, my belly gets bigger and I feel heavier and thicker. So what? That is beautiful in its own way.
My breasts get larger and rounder and harder — even perkier, if that’s possible for someone with DDs. I used to feel so self-conscious of this, but now I try to enjoy it, even when they are achy and sensitive.
I look at myself like an earth goddess at this time of the month. I remind myself that I do not have to look like actresses and models. I cannot look like them. Because I am me.
I remind myself that believing in the lies of Diet Culture is just another way to keep women distracted with inconsequential bullshit when we have real work to do.
I look at myself like an earth goddess at this time of the month.
As a woman, my body is biologically designed to cycle through changes every month. Why fight a losing battle?
More importantly, why consider that a battle? How about we say “Fuck you,” to Diet Culture and embrace our monthly changes as the blessing that they are?
The strength that I want is no longer the ripped muscles of my 90s celebrity sheroes.
I want the strength to see beauty in my own body no matter our culture’s beauty standards.
I want the strength to have completely uninhibited sex with a lover without a second wasted on worries about how I look.
I want the strength to wear a bathing suit — a bikini — in public for the very first time since I was 12.
I want the strength to dance on Instagram and let my ass shake.
I am determined to reclaim that 12 year old girl — to rebuild her and strengthen her, to set her free from trauma, from violence, from obsessions and compulsions around her body.
I am determined to be free.
© Yael Wolfe 2020