Trigger warning. There are some parts of this post that may be difficult to read.
This challenge was originally posted for week #22. Since the next couple of weeks of The Erotic Journal Challenge are all about catching up on those you’ve missed, I thought week 22 would be a good one to revisit since it follows on nicely from my previous post.
The prompt was:
What parts of your body do you love and what parts do you have trouble accepting? Our bodies tell a story, what tale does yours have to tell?
I decided to answer this prompt by not discussing what I love and hate about my body but rather by telling you a story about what it’s been through.
In my teens I had what’s considered by some, especially teenagers, to be the perfect body. I was skinny. Not just slim but rake thin. The reason for this was because I was a tomboy. I trained as a long-distance runner and played for just about every team you could play for at school. I spent my evenings out playing with my sisters and I was almost always active, when I wasn’t reading. I was teased for being skinny and called a stick insect and anorexic. I hated my body and wished I had a curvy, sexy one that all the boys seemed to fancy.
In my late teens I experienced a sexual assault that left me despising my body even more. I couldn’t bare to be touched or even looked at. I stopped doing sports and buried my head in studying and going to University. I put a lot of weight on, to the point where I can’t bring myself to look at pictures of myself from ages 16-18.
I went to University and lost a lot of weight but I still wasn’t happy. My friends were perfect or so it seemed to me; slim, intelligent, accomplished women and yet they seemed obsessed with losing weight and I constantly compared myself to them.
I left University and for a while I was happy with my body and didn’t really give my size or weight much thought. I was too busy thinking about what I was going to do with my life and working my arse off.
Then I went on holiday and picked up a stomach bug which left me ill for months afterwards. This was followed by some of the most crippling depression I’ve ever experienced.
My body showed very little sign of the years I spent in my late 20’s struggling and suffering with severe IBS and panic attacks. The only physical sign was the slow weight loss, when eating anything meant feeling nauseous. It doesn’t tell the tale of how I was almost house bound because I couldn’t get on public transport without having a panic attack.
Where I completely isolated myself from friends and family because I felt guilty about constantly cancelling plans we’d made. How my sex life was non-existent because I was so embarrassed about constantly needing to use the bathroom. When going out for a meal meant days of worrying beforehand to the point where eating out became a complete nightmare.
Outwardly, my body will tell you none of those things nor will it tell you that slowly I managed to make a recovery, helped mainly by going back to University to study for a Masters and having something to take my mind off it. By having a group of friends I could confide in and who didn’t judge or berate me when I cancelled plans.
When I was in some of my darkest moods, I didn’t give two shits that I have cellulite on my thighs, that I have a dimple on my huge arse, that I have more chins than I’d like and more stomach rolls than a baker.
I still struggle with my body now but it has less to do with my weight and size and more to do with suffering with severe sleep apnoea. This is a condition where I essentially stop breathing when I sleep. It causes me to get up constantly in the night and wake up in the morning covered in sweat because my heart is beating so fast to compensate for the oxygen it’s not getting when I stop breathing. I fall asleep at work, have mood swings and almost constantly feel tired. Once I was diagnosed I was given a CPAP machine which is essentially an oxygen mask that makes sure I continue to breathe throughout the night.
But it’s given me a new-found appreciation for my body. It’s also shown me that I have far more important health matters to worry about than what the scales are saying.
One other thing that has really helped with my body confidence is my Instagram account. It initially started off as a way to promote this blog and show off the lingerie I loved as well as the sex toys I was buying. I never planned on putting myself on it and it took a lot of courage for me to do so. But now it’s something that I really get a lot of joy from and the nice comments, whilst not the reason I do it, do help on days when I feel anything but sexy.
I love my body because it’s imperfect…well except, for my boobs. They’re pretty damn perfect.