Self Care to Self Loathing and Back Again

Bodies change.

This wouldn’t be a big deal if society wasn’t so caught up on making a person’s weight and body the forefront of “who a person is.” The constant scrutiny that people, and specifically women, deal with when it comes to their weight and bodies triggers low self esteem, depression, and anxiety. As someone who already has depression and anxiety, I found that one of the cheapest ways to help me deal with symptoms was by going to the gym on a daily basis.

And it worked — at first. When I first began going I almost immediately felt less anxious. My depressive episodes came less frequently and lasted shorter periods of time. At long last I felt empowered in better managing and controlling the relationship I had with my mental and emotional health.

But unexpectedly, the more I went to the gym, the more I found myself beginning to dislike my body.

What had became my solace and remedy for my disjointed mental health was becoming a practice of self hate. I found myself staring at the mirror and questioning why my body was not responding quickly enough to working out, why my arms still “looked fat” and why my belly was still soft.

Meanwhile, at work and in conversations with my sisters, I was telling young woman that they were perfect and to love all parts of themselves. The lies depression and anxiety told me were compounded by the lies of patriarchy.

And then a fellow badass Latina feminist, Kat Lazo, posted Princess Nokia’s new song, “Tomboy.”

The lyrics spoke to me immediately.

Princess Nokia owning and declaring that, with her “little titties and her fat belly,” she was a badass amped me up. Her body acceptance anthem confirmed what I already knew and worked so hard to believe: It’s okay — a celebration! — to love your little titties and fat belly. I’m a badass, amazing no matter how I look.

But just like healing from trauma, body acceptance isn’t linear. Although I have grown to accept my body in many ways, the pressures of society and the weight of patriarchy make this a journey. A journey that has it’s ups and downs. A journey that I’m invested in continuing.

I’ve begun going back to the gym. Managing my symptoms is becoming something that empowers me. This time I’m (trying) not to listen to the lies patriarchy tells us. I’m (trying) to tune into the truths of feminist anthems like Tomboy.

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