Story: Love Without Self Punishment – 03/09/19

With her eyes closed, she felt serene and free. Acceptance swirled within her like a welcoming mist, a self-love that had taken many years to grow, for herself to believe. Standing there with her curvaceous figure clad only in a bikini, she knew that years prior she wouldn’t have been comfortable in this size of clothing, wouldn’t dare to be seen. Now she felt a sense of quiet confidence. An accepting of who she was, what her image had become, so different from who she had once been. Unlike the yesterdays where she would shy away, embarrassed by a single stomach roll popping through her clothes, she had learned over time to simply appreciate and love herself. She had not always been so kind to herself, so many precious years had been wasted, pure happiness missed, completely wasted in the process.

She’d lived through years of feeling pressured to conform to society’s norms, to be toned and thin, wear revealing, tight clothes, they were not only the pressures of society but a decision she had also thrown upon herself. She’d control and obsessively count her calories, exercise excessively, measure the deficits, plan out every meal to each macro and calorie, all for the need to be beautiful to herself and all, because she knew of the attention she’d draw, and she essentially wanted to be seen. She had been invisible for too long in her life up until now, a quiet girl, a wallflower of a woman, barely noticed by the world.

But there came a time when she couldn’t control her world any longer, everything became far too difficult, she felt her mentality being somewhat snowed under. Her disordered thoughts and life became too tiring and too physically exhausting to keep up the effort and the pretenses, thus she allowed herself, reluctantly, to slip, and this did cause her much distress. But she couldn’t continue without risking breaking herself, in this life she had been abusing herself, and she knew that it was only a matter of time before her body broke internally, for the doctors with their worried expressions to shake their heads sadly.

Then came the slow weight gains, then faster as she binged to subconsciously make up for the restrictions, and faster still her body would grow until she had regained to her original size, original weight, and then some more as well. She was dismayed, heartbroken because of all her prior control and hard work, there was nothing anymore to show for it, her memories she might as well throw unwanted, useless into the welcoming dirt. Her photos which she’d taken of herself over time were like a collage, a catalogue of attractive to not, in her eyes, she couldn’t accept herself, because this shape, this new form, was something she wished to be rid of. She couldn’t muster the energy to recommence with the tactics of shrinking again though, her secrets, her techniques, it was as though they were meant to be leaving her, this was the correct thing to do, it must be so.

So, she carefully learned to love food again, she learned to enjoy every single bite. Not hating herself for wanting more, and reaching for the second serve, her body needed the vitamins, the sustenance, the help, to be healthy and alive. And no matter how many kilograms she was gaining and would gain, she understood that this was simply the course of Nature, and to not fixate upon the negatives, but the positives, such as improved health and happiness, this she would again and again. Sure, she was now classed as medically overweight but aside from a health factor what did this matter? As long as she had learned to be happy within herself, that was the feeling that mattered the most. It was a welcoming interior picture.

Because for the first time in years she could enjoy a glass of regular Coca Cola, not fearing that one sip that may lead to another and another, and she could eat a slice of pizza without concern or care, and she could dress herself in a bikini and parade around the shop where she was trying it on there. There was no sign of her wanting to hide within the change room, calling over her friend to view her while she was still enclosed in it, a closet view, she was able to stand outside, look in the communal mirror from which she used to, when previously gaining, shy away from and hide, and now she closed her eyes again, breathed in and out, a deep sighing. How far she’d come from those years of great starvation.

Never again would she punish her body, she would feed it whatever it so desired, she would provide it anything she wanted, without a single shred of guilt to be had. There was nothing to be self-conscious of, no matter whether her curved, bulging stomach was on show, in fact, this was a form of wondrous beauty in itself. In this bikini, her thick thighs and curvaceous hips were displayed, rather than hidden within a one-piece instead. And she somehow liked it this way, understanding in her heart that she must accept this was her body’s way of making her love what it had become, and to not alter herself again with any sense of unhealthy methods or desires or needs or wants. She didn’t care that her arms were now thicker, that her thighs rubbed against each other when she walked, pressing firmly together, that her chins were more prominent, because inner beauty was what she should prize the most.

And appreciate herself for her interior that she did, no more worrying about what others would think of her, how she’d be viewed, judged or seen. She loved every part of herself, even her two wonky side teeth, and that was the end of the tale for this little former wallflower who had finally bloomed so delightfully.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.

 


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