I changed my tag from “fat acceptance” to “body acceptance” tonight. I feel that better reflects my personal struggle because while fat is a part of it, sometimes it has nothing to do with it.
Take yesterday for example. My previous entry on here was talking about how great kickboxing was after using my inhaler and how fantastic I felt. Then I woke up yesterday with a killer sore throat and a body that was so sore I could barely walk without limping. I stayed in bed and slept all day. Well, not quite – I dropped my car off at the mechanic in the morning and picked it up in the afternoon, but other than that, I was lying in bed in my pajamas, my heat pad clasped to my chest to try to ward off the chills that kept shaking my body from head to toe, and sleeping. All day.
I still went to martial arts. After missing all last week with my stomach flu / IBS attack / not-quite-sure-but-didn’t-like-it, I didn’t feel like I could afford to miss another class. I didn’t accept that I was sick and not capable of performing in class. So I sucked it up and I went.
Last night was the night that Sensei decided to give us a pretty killer class, and I failed rather spectacularly. We did drills like lying on one’s back with one’s legs 6 inches off the floor, and I couldn’t do it. My legs kept falling, my back hurt, and my abs just were not able to keep my legs up. My feet would hit the floor, I would bend my knees to give my back a split-second break, and then try again. Repeat that over and over and over.
Next drill – holding a push-up position. Again, my back was hurting. My wrist was hurting. My entire body was hurting from the kickboxing class. I kept almost falling over so I modified the position to take the strain off my wrist but it didn’t help. I would fall down, rest for a second, then get back up. And repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I was the highest ranking person on the floor and I couldn’t do the drills that everyone else seemed to be doing with ease. I was almost crying because I was so frustrated with my body.
Acceptance? There was none. I disregarded the fact that I was recovering from a hard kickboxing class after being in bed for a week in a fairly debilitating condition. (Anyone who has had ongoing diarrhoea knows what I’m talking about.) I disregarded the fact that I had spent the whole day in bed, feeling miserable and sleeping. I disregarded the fact that sometimes I have more to give and sometimes less but that doesn’t mean that I am any less for it. Instead, I felt like a failure.
It’s hard to write this because I try really hard to be accepting of my body. I try to love myself for who I am, flaws and quirks and all. I was bullied as a kid and made fun of for certain physical characteristics but I try to not let that affect my self esteem. I am not and never will be thin enough for our society to consider me attractive but I consider myself to be attractive. I will never have a six-pack stomach but I work hard at strengthening my core so that my body can function at its best. I can look at myself in the mirror and see a beautiful body that belongs to me.
And yet, I can consider myself a failure because I cannot always achieve the same level of physical endurance. That hurts. That’s hard. I don’t know how to get around that. The feeling doesn’t last – as soon as I can get some distance and perspective, I realize the truth of the situation. But in the moment, I have thoughts like, “I hate this body.” And it’s that thought in the moment that I have to work on. This is the only body I’ve got. It is not separate from me. Me – that is my body and my mind together.