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The Coveted Collection part 3: Body Image

Growing up I was always trying to figure out my body, what I liked, what I didn’t like, who I wanted to look like or did I want to be different. In all honesty, as a pre-adolescent, I wanted to have the coke bottle figure that most black (and other) women are known for. I went through some random, completely unsuccessful means to do so: exercises that I saw in magazines, stuffing bras with tissue, and I’m sure other ridiculous methods, to no avail. However, after some intense observation of those around me, I noted that I was the smallest girl in my immediate and extended family, and as I aged, I realized that I liked that. Now if you read part one of this series, you know that I wanted to be white. While I eventually grew to love my brown skin, I actually started to dislike my brown body, if that makes any sense. I believe this came from the realization that having a certain body type attracted unwanted attention from guys. It would require a whole ‘nother post to get into the specifics, but depending on what was going on in my life and mind in my mid-20s, I really didn’t want to deal with men objectifying me. I began to think that if my body was different, I wouldn’t get the catcalls or whistles or random conversations at the gas station, to name a few. So what did that mean for me? In hindsight, I think I subconsciously developed some version of an eating disorder. I can’t say that I was diagnosed with anorexia or bulimia but what I can say is, completely without trying, I went from a size 8 to a size 0/2, in about a year. I noticed that my clothes were getting bigger; that when I went shopping, I was purchasing smaller sizes; but I honestly don’t know how it happened and really didn’t see the weight loss or a problem with it. Other people did, but I felt okay, mentally and physically, yet obviously something was going on with me. Maybe it was psychosomatic, or a physical reaction to a mental issue that was plaguing me; maybe it was demonic (again, another blog post); maybe it was intentional and I blocked out my actions. I really can’t tell you, but I know that I liked being thin. Super thin. Almost invisible. Because now no one could see me, and in particular, men didn’t seem to see me and, therefore, didn’t bother me. But I wasn’t healthy, not only in a physical or mental way, but also spiritually. It literally took a seven-day fast for the Lord to reveal to me that I was dealing with some very deeply ingrained issues that were manifesting themselves in my physical body. We often talk about the root of bitterness, yet trauma, and hurt, and certain experiences can torment us in ways that we don’t even recognize. I had to be honest with Jesus about what was afflicting me, and allow Him to truly heal and deliver me in the depths of my soul and mind. I still catch myself sometimes when it comes to body image - I should be smaller, thinner, more tone - but I trust God and believe that I am His temple, and that He is pleased with me, just the way I am.

Be blessed, Dr. S #BeYourBestYou

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