Awakened by the unmistakable sound of what should otherwise be the calm and gentle break of dawn, she hastily reaches for her alarm clock whilst mentally relaying all the ways her life would be different if she were slimmer, smaller – less obvious to the world.
Finally making her way out of bed after giving into the fear of living life as a ‘big girl’, she carefully counts the calories in her açai bowl before racing the sunrise on her way to a gym empty enough for her to leave her self consciousness at the door.
Whilst the rest of the world lays asleep in silent slumber, recharging their minds and souls in anticipation of the day ahead, she sweats away the guilt and regret from last night’s fast food binge, telling herself she’s only 12 weeks from the life of her dreams – complete with a job she loves, a body she’s proud of and a partner who loves her. And, why wouldn’t she? Living in a world entirely focused on making sure she takes up as little space as possible to protect anybody threatened by radical self-love, it seems reasonable she spends each day forcing her under-nourished body through regimes designed to sooner kill her than strengthen her.
As another day passes in purgatory, she survives on the promise of one day being as happy as the Instagram models whose tiny waists and small limbs she has mistakenly affiliated with happiness and serenity. Whilst bathing gloriously in a bath filled to the brim with self-hatred, she tells herself she too will one day achieve that kind of happiness. Even if it means trading in the nutrients her body so gravely needs, and deserves. Even if it means hiding herself from her friends and family until she is ready to be seen in the light. Even if it means surrendering her freedom everyday she is alive in the name of resurrecting herself when she is closer to death – either emotionally or physically.
If only someone told her what she should already have known – that she does not need to aspire to be more, when she is already enough. That she deserves to share her presence with a world that knows what to do with it. That she deserves to feel sexy and quirky and eat a pretzel without guilt. That she deserves to run a business, start a family, own a home. And that she doesn’t need to lose 20 pounds to do it.
I wish so many women didn’t see themselves in her. I wish so many women didn’t find familiarity in her story. I wish so many women weren’t her. Even though, more often than not, I certainly am.
But today? I choose not to be.
No longer will my alarm clock ring at an ungodly hour to remind me to hate myself today in the name of loving myself tomorrow. No longer will I trade in calories now for self-esteem later. No longer will I hide myself behind insecurities given to me by a world that cares no more for me than it does for itself.
Not me. Not her. Not you.
Not today. Not ever.