Christine / Toronto / 01.18.16
What is your relationship with your body?
Too thin. Too skinny. Scrawny. Spindly. Lanky. Willowy. Wiry. Waif.
I’ve been hearing these words, from others and from myself, my entire life. I was a skinny kid, I was a skinny teenager, I’m a skinny 34-year-old woman. I’ve been virtually the same shape for the past 20 years. And for 20 years I have been trying to convince people that I do not have an eating disorder. Because I don’t. This is my body. It just is what it is. I am tired of having to defend it. I am tired of assuring people that I eat. I am tired of feeling self-conscious if I don’t finish everything on my plate. I’m tired of being told I need to “eat a sandwich”. Of being told, as some sort of compliment, “You’re so skinny, I hate you.”
I wanted to be a part of this project because I wanted to address that in some way, but I can already feel myself fearing it’ll look like the lady is protesting a bit too much. Because I get it. I see images of myself and think, “Yep, too skinny.” I look frail. I look sick. And I can’t seem to do anything about it. My body is a machine that burns through fuel faster than I can consume it sometimes. And that is the constant relationship I’m in with it. When can I eat? When can I feed this body? Pack snacks. Bring two lunches to rehearsal. Make sure there is time after doing this thing to eat before I do the next thing. Do I have a headache? Eat something. Am I having trouble concentrating? Eat something. Am I about to burst into tears for no apparent reason? Eat something.
This body. I feel like I can never quite keep up with it.
I spent a long time hoping that it’d slow down someday. Hoping that I’d fill out, that I’d someday develop the curves I’m told Real Women are supposed to have. But it’s not going to happen. I accept that, and I own that.
This is it. This is me.