We Are All Unruly
The body on the other side of self-hatred
This is the first time that I am writing about my body from the other side.
At 15, I came home from school and marked all of my “problem” areas with a marker before crying myself to sleep. The marks began with my chubby cheeks, expansive forehead, and my nonexistent belly fat and ended with my right arm and its bent fingers and my right hip and leg. By the time I finished pointing out my problems, there was no unmarked space left. I was my first tormentor, eager to hate my body as much as I believed the world did. This hatred was a thing that the world and I had in common. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, as the saying goes. I knew hatred and self-pity like the back of my hand; we moved in sync, like a carefully choreographed dance routine. Together, we were destructive, tearing ourselves and our self-worth down. Admitting that there is comfort in pain is a strange but necessary truth. Happiness and acceptance still take more work for me, and that is also a necessary truth. The art of actually trying when you spent years sitting and marveling in the pain you inflicted on yourself is a whole new ballgame.
This other side of self-hatred is appreciation, care, and positive affirmation, and it is new territory — the cute new shoes that hurt because they haven’t been worn in yet. There is so much about it that feels foreign enough to frighten me. Each day is like dipping my toe into uncharted water, but I press on. You see, there is no going through trauma, even self-inflicted trauma, without emotional and physical scars. My scars and I have a new relationship despite how old most of them are. We are figuring out our new dynamic the way that you must when you want to grow with someone or something, and change is the necessary catalyst for growth. The other side looks at the reflection in the mirror and smiles; it winks at her scars like old friends with inside jokes. The other side doesn’t give a fuck, not anymore. I am both here on the other side and I am the other side itself. There is power in both being in a place and knowing you yourself are that place, in being saved and saving yourself.
Saving myself was not easy. There were times when those markers that marked those problem areas were blades. I cut myself open just to see what was inside, in…