CW: food stuff, body image, references to addiction and eating disorders
I’m sitting at my job, and realize that I’m hungry. I’m hungry. What a sensation; I don’t feel hungry very often.
I want to scream out to the world: I ate substantial food today! Things with nutrients! I felt hungry and handled it in a good way!
It seems like such a strange thing to be so proud of, especially now that my brain is cataloguing every calorie in that sandwich and thinking about what I can do to burn it off. My partner says I’ve lost weight again. I don’t see it but I never do. I don’t believe it but I cut another hole in my belt, so maybe.
Body shit is a hard thing in the kink scene. On one hand, the kink scene can be a really amazing place to tackle and deal with body image issues. Seeing other bodies doing awesome, badass things, inspiring us to see the capacities of our own bodies in new ways. But it can be hard- so fucking hard- not to constantly compare yourself to the people around you and find yourself lacking.
Comparisons are an inevitable part of the human experience; we measure the world through our own experiences and catalogue where we fit into the grand scheme of things. But it’s what we do with those comparisons that get tricky.
The idea of “better” or “worse” implies some kind of inherent ideal that we are all striving to reach. When we measure ourselves on this slippery, moralistic scale, that’s where we get into trouble.
Rephrase: that’s where I get into trouble.
I’ve had body images issues for as long as I can remember, leading me to engage in active addiction to manage my weight in my late teens/early twenties. I’m more careful now, but body image is a pervasive beast that is hard to shake.
It’s not about vanity; it’s about an inability to see the reality of what is right in front of me. My perspective is immensely skewed to the point that I have a hard time accepting objective, quantitative evidence that my lived experience is inaccurate. Scales that read numbers I don’t expect must be broken or need to be recalibrated. Pants that fit that didn’t used to must have stretched.
It’s the experience of hunger, or lack thereof. I came home and told my partner, “I ate so much food today!” and told them what I ate and received the most exasperated expression in response.
“That’s a normal amount of food for one meal, not one day,” he said.
I strip and lay naked next to people with flat stomachs and defined musculature and feel every fold and curve of my skin poignantly. I bend in a tie and cringe at the forming rolls.
I know that weight is not always an indication of health (and I know that I eat like a 6 year old ran amok in a candy store sometimes). I know that my perspective of my weight and the reality of my weight are disjoint. I know that others see me in ways that I cannot fathom. And I know I still struggle- with that donut I’m going to eat this morning, with the holiday season full of rich foods and delicious sweet things, with my understanding of what a normal amount of food for a day is.
I talk about this because I think it’s important. We all have our demons, those things that live in the back of our minds that haunt us. I manage it, I deal with it, I handle it. But doing those things doesn’t make it less real in my mind.
What you see and what I see are vastly different sometimes. Maybe you see someone that you can’t imagine would think twice about these things. But even the courageous are afraid sometimes. Even the fearless fight the demons in their minds.