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Feel free to scroll down from here or select a name to see the photographs and words of that person. Names in quotes are pseudonyms.
What's been on my mind a lot lately has been how much interfacing with screens and with social media has taken me out of my body, and it's been a real task of constantly coming back to being present in my body. I feel scattered. I feel like I'm not present at the moment either.
I feel so grateful to be in a place in my life where I can love living in my body and be present in it. I think growing up, especially being a middle schooler in the early 2000s, is a vulnerable time where we're having that relationship with our changing bodies. Probably all through teenagehood I thought of my body in terms of how it was perceived by other people and did I look good, you know, is my body acceptable to others.
It first started brewing when I was about 16. I lost some weight. I had a dairy allergy that I discovered, and I stopped eating dairy and I lost maybe 20 pounds. And people were constantly compliment me, and it was like this positive feedback of, "Oh, if you keep losing weight, we like you more, we approve of you more." And even then, I wouldn't say I had an eating disorder... and then I was sexually assaulted for the first time.
Looking back it's so clear to me, the timeline of, "That happened, I pushed it down and didn't acknowledge it, and then immediately developed an eating disorder." A lot of what I know about it now is it's about control and wanting to have control over your body.
A few days before I turned 18, my dad, who raised me as a single dad, died in an accident. And my whole world got flipped upside down entirely. And the eating disorder went away, and it felt so superficial to me. It felt like it... didn't even matter– who gives a fuck? That's how I felt.
The thoughts were so focused on controlling what I was eating and feeling better because I was thinner, and it just seemed so stupid after that. And I've had a couple other folks I've met who've had really life-changing losses and experiences like that [who] have also changed the way they think about their body in that way.
My view of the body in general as very mortal, like I am hyper aware of how temporary all of our bodies are. Yeah. And I didn't necessarily believe in our spirit existing outside of the body until somebody I knew so deeply, and love so deeply, was no longer in his body. He's made it very clear to me he's still around. I don't know. I think that has maybe shifted my relationship to my body as just, "This is not me, but it's my vessel." You know. It’s what I’m in.
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