Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Thursday, August 18, 2022 — Houston, TX

"Love your body”: Hard advice to follow

screen_shot_20171018_at_122541_pm

By Ben Johnson     10/18/17 12:27pm

I think it is unfair to ask everyone to love their own bodies. For some of us, that truly seems like an impossible feat. As someone who used to have an eating disorder, my default setting for years was to hate my body. I generally feel very detached from the common discourse surrounding body positivity. “Love your body!” “All bodies are beautiful!” These are great, inspiring phrases, but I suffered from a mental disorder for years — the patterns and thought processes of which have left some lasting marks on me. No one can or should expect me to accept myself in the blink of an eye.

Do I love my body? No, I definitely do not with any sense of that word. Do I hate my body? Not anymore. And that is what matters. I once hated my body enough that I normalized unhealthy cycles of fasting and binging just to try to lose some weight. I wasted time and energy for years hating my body. I kept my eating habits as secretive as possible, yet fervently recorded every detail of what I ate. It was my obsession.

I am sure I am not the only person who is immensely proud of the progress they have made with their own self-image, though much remains to be done. More often than I should, I still self-police what I eat and how I exercise. I still sometimes opt for less comfortable clothing because I look “less fat” in it. I still feel like my self-confidence can often be too closely linked to my body image. But I know these are unhealthy things now. Unlike in high school, when I tried to normalize all of these things for the joys I assumed would come with losing weight, I now recognize them as unhealthy and self-harmful, and I try my damndest to keep them in check. Those voices have quieted over the past few years, but I don’t know how long it will be before they cease completely. Perhaps never.



If someone tells me “love your body,” it honestly means next to nothing to me, though I recognize the intention. I have zero reference for what “loving your body” looks like. Should I be considered a failure in the eyes of the body positivity movement? No. I know just how far I have come. Progress has not been linear, straightforward or quick. But I can honestly say that I do not hate my body as I once did. I will admit that I do not love my body either — and, for right now, I am fine with that. I want this for myself one day, and for everyone else who is not at that point yet. But I will not deceive myself by saying that reaching the point of self-love will come easily or soon. So, to anyone else reading this who feels that loving your body seems insurmountably difficult, I want to tell you there is nothing wrong with that. If you are on a road toward self-love — that nonlinear, complicated, long road — then that alone is worthy of celebration and pride. Do not feel pressured to love your body right now. The journey you have taken to get to this point is enough. I hope that it ends with a complete, self-sufficient, amazing love of yourself and your body. But, for now, I congratulate you on how far you have come.



More from The Rice Thresher

OPINION 5/12/22 4:05pm
The Wellbeing Center should be transparent about its true confidentiality policies

Before you attend a counseling session at the Rice counseling center, you will be told that “the RCC maintains strict standards regarding privacy.” You will find statements from the university that your mental health record will not be shared with anyone outside of extreme situations of imminent harm, and only then that your information will be shared with only the necessary officials. This sounds great, except that these assurances bear no teeth whatsoever — no enforcement agency ensures that Rice follows its public confidentiality promises, and there are no penalties for Rice if they break them. The Wellbeing and Counseling Centers should more directly communicate the limits of their confidentiality policies when compared to unaffiliated counseling centers, and students in sensitive situations should take the necessary precautions to protect their information.

OPINION 4/19/22 11:11pm
We’re in student media to learn

This week marks the last issue of the Thresher for the year, and for the seniors like myself, our last issue ever. I have been a part of the Thresher since freshman year. And it would not be an exaggeration to say it has defined my Rice experience. As someone pursuing a career in journalism after graduation, there has been no better place to learn than at this paper.

OPINION 4/19/22 11:02pm
Philanthropy doesn’t excuse slavery

In January, the Rice Board of Trustees announced plans to move the Founder’s memorial to another area of the academic quad as part of a whole redesign, adding additional context of his “entanglement” with slavery. This comes despite continual calls from the student body to not have the enslaver displayed in the quad regardless of the context provided. It would be just for these calls to action and the majority of the Task Force Committee who voted to not keep it there that the Board of Trustees decide to not keep the memorial prominently displayed in the quad at all.


Comments

Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.