Caroline Fox / Toronto / 03.26.16
My relationship with my body is complicated and often feels like a fight. I feel bigger than I am, taller, like I have broader shoulders and hulk about. I feel rectangle shaped and clumsy.
To elaborate I am a transgender woman and I was fortunate to be able to transition when I was in my late teens to early twenties, but that also means I experienced puberty as a very drawn out almost double phase of my life where my body became lanky and always an awkward size. I feel that reflects on how I see myself, even though I know that as I type it out right now, I am not my perception of myself, but I see the bone structure, the previous shapes in my body that are only there in my head, because I know to look for them.
It makes my body a strange land that at times I have the energy to make a point of feeling empowered with through self care, and at other times it feels exhausting, because no matter what it is, the self awareness of my identity is always on, always an active thing, even the feeling of being casual is an active choice and decision to be enforced.
It means that my body has to be a team mate in my life, one that I work together with, that I give regular self care, regular sleep, regular meals, regular little things that make me feel good, because without making a point of doing those things there isn't the energy left over to not 2nd guess everything and to not force the perception that I look like a life I left. To have enough energy left over to own myself.
That's really where it gets complicated, your relationship with your body is steeped in so many other things, like your socio-economic status, your privilege, essentially whether or not you have to think about the layers of society critiquing you, or how many of those layers were made to help you so you don't notice they're even there. Whether or not your identity is already on it's own palatable to others. It's a struggle where your body and identity are the battlefield of someone else's war and so at what point in your perception of yourself, does the image you've created with your agency meet the images that have been consumed from billboards, television, commercials?
At the end of the day, nobody is what we think they are, or has a clue what their doing in life, but we only ever choose to put our best foot forward, because we want the best image of ourselves, to be closest to what we want ourselves to be. Comparing our bodies to the bodies of others is a trap, because our bodies have lived our experiences and are unique only to us, but it's hard to remember that, harder still the more layers of society systematically telling you otherwise.
So I, just like most everyone else, need compassion for our bodies, and to change and influence them only with our own agency, because for me it's my opinion that matters the most, and for you, it's worth a grain of salt in the sea.