Body Bound

You may recall that a couple of years ago during the Deathly Hallows Campaign, we fought the Body Bind Horcrux.  That particular Horcrux of that campaign was before my time on staff (by, like, a month), but it was one of the Horcruxes I was most excited to see the HPA fight.  And the reason why is pretty simple — it’s a Horcrux I fight almost every day of my life.

Me in June 2009

Why am I bringing this up now?  To be honest, I’m not really sure.  It’s likely because I’ve been dealing with more weight and body image issues over the last several months than I have in most recent years, but in any case the Body Bind Horcrux has been one that’s been on my mind.  I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to write about all of this, because it’s so deeply personal to me, but at the same time I know it’s something that needs to be discussed, if for no other reason than it hasn’t really been in a little while.

And the truth is, it’s a story I want to share.  The media tells us how we’re supposed to look, forgetting that we’re all different, and that’s, I think, where this Horcrux starts.  So turn away from the media for a moment and listen to a real person.

A small backstory: I’ve always struggled with my weight, and struggled with how I see myself.  I’m not the most self-confident person, even if I pretend to be.  A few years ago, I lost a significant amount of weight on an intense physician-monitored diet (and by “significant” I mean about 100 pounds).  In the years since, I’ve struggled with keeping my weight where I want it (often failing), and then struggling to lose the weight again.  I’m in one of those trying-to-lose-weight-again phases, and I’ve noticed over the last few months that I’ve been judging myself in the mirror more than I usually do.

Me in the summer of 2010

Here’s the thing, though.  Am I saying that everyone has to be skinny?  Am I saying that anyone who is over a certain weight needs to go on a diet?  Most.  Certainly.  Not.  I’m saying the body image issues are real problems, and the way we see ourselves needs to be in a positive light.  I had a terrible body image of myself before I went on my initial diet, which is why I took that step in the first place.  That was how I tried to resolve it in the safest way possible.  And if you’re happy with your body, then stay happy with your body.  We all come in different shapes and sizes and we’re all happy with different images of ourselves.  That’s something the media in particular chooses to ignore, which leads to such serious body image issues in people (likely in me too).

I lost weight because I wasn’t happy.  And, to be honest, I’m not happy again.  When I look in the mirror currently, I see all of what I don’t like about my current body, rather than what I do like.  I see that my stomach has flab I wish it didn’t and that my arms aren’t the shape I’d like and that my thighs are bigger than I’d prefer.  I rarely choose to see the things about my body I like—like the fact that my calves actually look good now (that’s what you get when you Irish dance for three and a half years), or that my fingers are a smaller ring size, or that I can sometimes see part of my collarbone (something I never used to see before).

So what do I have to do?  I have to remember those things about my body, and about myself as a whole, that I actually like…and then I have to work on being secure with my body image again.  In a safe way (as in…eating disorders are bad.  Never take that route, because it’s severely dangerous to your health).  The Body Bind Horcrux will always be the one I fight the most in myself, and there are times that it wins, but every so often I win.  And that makes all the rest of the struggle worth it.

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