I Wasn’t Born Hating My Body — I Was Taught To.
Have you ever loved someone, but hated them at the same time? Hated the way they make you feel when you’re around them? I never thought I’d be able to admit this to anyone, but I hate the way I feel when I’m with my sister. She is where I learned to hate my body. It’s not her fault that that happened; it’s not mine really either. It’s just what happened, and what is.
My sister and I grew up as best friends. She’s six years older than I am, so she was also a huge role model for me. I looked up to her, watched her and learned from her. Unfortunately, she’s where I learned to hate my body. We look a lot alike, I get it all the time, but she’s always been just a little bit prettier… she’s always had the body that I’ve always wanted, and for a long time she hated on her body in front of me. She’d lift up her shirt and examine her stomach CONSTANTLY. She’d suck in her minuscule amount of tummy chub and criticize her looks while I watched. Meanwhile, I’d look at my own body (6 years behind developmentally) and think… well damn. If her body isn’t good enough, then mine CERTAINLY isn’t. Little me with a small chest, big thighs and a chubby stomach. I learned to hate my body from watching my sister hate hers.
My other two sisters were no better… one an alcoholic/bulimic the other addicted to self harm. My mother was clinically obese and incredibly insecure. No wonder I have such a problem loving my body… no wonder it’s so hard breaking these destructive habits and thoughts. When it came to health and self-love, I literally had no good female role models growing up.
But I digress…
I just spent the evening with my sister, and as much as I would have liked to enjoy it, I hated almost every second of it. I always feel inferior to her. I often fear that I will never feel good enough when I’m around her. No matter how well I’m doing, once I see her my insecurity sky rockets and all I want to do is put on sweatpants and eat everything just to feel something. This sucks, because I’ve actually been doing pretty well at loving my body these past few weeks. I’m trying to be patient with it and accept it as my own to love no matter what it looks like. Then I saw my sister and her long legs, big chest and tight waist, and suddenly I wasn’t good enough anymore. All my progress felt washed away in her presence.
The thing about my sister too is that she’s incredibly sensitive and very perceptive. She’s in school to be a social worker, so she has a knack for knowing what people are thinking and feeling without them even having to say anything. She knows something is wrong, I can sense that too. But I could never tell her. She’d either cry, get defensive, or want me to go into more detail. But how could I? How could I tell someone I love so much that I’m really harboring a boiling resentment towards her? I’m at a loss as to what to do. Thankfully I don’t see her that often. But even that sucks to say. Of course I want to see my sister, she’s a huge part of me. But right now it’s just too damn hard… I just can’t handle it right now. I can’t handle people talking about her and her perfect boyfriend and perfect sense of style and her perfect everything… but the thing that’s become the hardest to handle is the fact that that’s the truth. That right now I feel like being around my sister is hurting me, and I don’t know what to do.