Learning Body Shame
When I was a little girl, up until age 11 when I got my period, I was not fat. I was healthy and active and while not boney skinny, I was not by any means fat.
Puberty is a cruel thing. As soon as I got my period, I started gaining fat. And I was mercilessly taunted by my classmates for it. But worse than that, my body started developing and I wasn’t quite ready for it. I remember that the boys used to find it high entertainment to hit us girls in the chest…Laughing as we flinched in pain from being hit on our tender developing breasts.
And then I had one of those sort of momentous growth spurts…The kind where you go to bed flat chested and wake up the next morning a C cup. (Okay…it wasn’t quite that fast, but it sure felt like it!) Talk about body betrayal! And I was the first girl in the class to sport breasts like that. If being teased for getting fat wasn’t bad enough, I was ogled and tormented and teased for those grown-up sized breasts on what I still saw as a little girl body. (I am sure my body was not little girlish anymore, but my brain had not caught up with the puberty, I still felt like a little girl.)
I spent grades 6, 7 and 8 burning with shame and being exposed to unrelenting teasing every day. I hated my body. I hated my breasts, I hated being fat and I was ashamed…So overwhelmingly ashamed.
Eventually, the other girls’ body development caught up with mine and I wasn’t the only one with breasts. Nor was I even the fattest girl. But it didn’t matter at that point as the damage had already been done and I had already learned to be ashamed of and to hate my body.
I still hate my body, which you already know. But I also feel that betrayal of my body too…The body that developed too fast and left the little-girl me behind and pushed her into the ogling limelight. The body that (long before it developed) was enticing to a child molester. The body that subjected me to torment in high school. Even in adulthood, I feel like my body has betrayed me. It has just been one betrayal after another.
How do I ever reconcile all of that? How do I ever grow to like my body? Can I even do it?