"For so long, I’ve felt that my body wasn’t mine..."

In the first few weeks of the sixth grade, my gym teacher had every student weigh themselves in front of the class, write it on a graph next to our height and calculate how many pounds we were underweight or overweight by. At eleven years old, my weight had never been anything more than something that the doctor recorded during my annual check-up. That day, after having been told that I was twenty pounds overweight in front of my class, I quickly shifted gears and became painfully conscious of how my body could be viewed by those around me.

Seeing and hearing a constant flow of noises, on a day-to-day basis, telling me to look a certain way in order to have any worth in this world, I have felt an overarching sense of inadequacy for years. I’ve felt that I am worthless because my body isn’t the same, sexualized body that is shown on a billboard or on the covers of magazines that I have to see every time I’m cashing out at the grocery store. It’s been so deeply engrained in me that my physical appearance has a higher value than anything else that I’ve gone through spells of depressions, self-loathing, eating disorders and feeling completely disconnected from my body.

For so long, I’ve felt that my body wasn’t mine anymore and was instead another thing for others to approve of or disapprove of; a thing to be catcalled at, or a thing to be made fun of in gym class. Though I feel I have plenty of work ahead of me in learning to be comfortable in myself, participating in Fully Disclothed has reminded that my body is mine and I am my body - which is a bigger gift than I could have imagined.

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