Ayesha / Toronto / 09.25.14
My body issues started with the widening of my hips around 16 years old. I was a ballet dancer, and it was extremely devastating to watch my body balloon into that of a woman- when the ideal was to look like a 10 year old boy. Though now, at 39, I do love my body, I still suffer with that knee-jerk reaction, still idolize the ballet physique- which is wholly unrealistic and near unattainable in the ‘real’ world. But as of late I’ve realized the deeper issue I’ve been carrying around for over 20 years. That of pain. Of broken-ness and anger. After a car accident at 16, I was riddled with injuries, as I pursued my dance career. Having never properly taken care of myself, never allowing enough time to heal, I was always in pain. I am always in pain. This caused me to lose dance at 26, to be angry at my body, to throw my hands in the air and ask the universe ‘why??’. My body and I have been at odds with each other for quite some time. Though I profess to love her, it is only very recently that I’ve begun to understand what that really means. The significance that the two changes in my body both happened at 16, is not lost on me. Somehow they merged together to form one big monolith, erected to the utter dissatisfaction with, and disassociation to, my body. The easy out was to blame my hips, but they were just the gateway. The superficial issue. I was the one at fault. I didn’t take care of this vessel. I didn’t listen to her, didn’t respect her, didn’t appreciate all she had done- and was trying to do- for me. I pushed her and damaged her. And now she is so loud. Screaming at me for all the years I closed my eyes, shut her out, and didn’t let her heal. But my body and I are going to be together for quite some time more, we are going to age, more problems may arise. We have to come to some kind of truce. An agreement. I see my neglect, and how I complained and railed at her, like she had done something wrong. We focus so much on how we look, on loving the outside appearance, but what of the inside? The nuts and bolts? I know it’s time for a major shift. To make healing and strengthening a priority. Because after all, if I don’t put her first, I won’t have a leg to stand on.