#MyBodyStory is a weekly series of reader submitted pieces about what it’s like to live in your body.
If you have a story to share, please email : Story@DoTheHotpants.com
Remember, every body has a story.
Please Note: The opinions expressed in #MyBodyStory articles are the writer’s own.
And now, without further ado,
Here is Mary’s story.
You’re so much shorter than I thought you were.
Your face is pretty but you need to be taller for someone to notice you.
You’re a really great dancer/runner/swimmer, but you don’t have the body for it.
How old are you, like 12?
I think I have always been very lucky in my life. I have an amazing, loving partner, a supportive family, and great friends. However, like most people I know, so much of my time and energy has been wasted trying to slim down or appear taller, just so I could fit in.
Years of my life have been spent working hard, and denying myself foods I deemed “unhealthy,” while in fact I’ve always been within my ideal BMI.
I tried to eliminate everything from meat and dairy, to sugar, carbs and anything else dieting sites told me to do. I’ve had weeks of my life where I was in constant hunger, not living for my own experience but just hoping my outside was shiny enough to compensate for my uncomfortable state of existence. As a medical professional, looking back at how I used to deprive myself, I realize how unhealthy I was.
During college I would work out up to three hours a day, everyday, seven days a week. I was able to keep this routine up for almost two years until I tore my meniscus and could not work out in the same way anymore. Not only could I not run, but it was hard to even walk. I realized that the lack of appropriate nutrition, combined with the purging type workout routine I was doing, was the definitive cause of my life-changing injury. But just like almost everone knows, people still love to comment on what you eat, and how much you eat.
My body continues to be up for discussion for friends and strangers alike.
At 5’0″ I’ve always been underestimated, not taken seriously. I always feel like I need to be louder, shine brighter, to get noticed professionally. At my summer job in college, when up for a promotion for a management position, I was told I didn’t possess the appropriate “leadership skills” and the job was given to a timid male who had just been started with no experience. Meanwhile I had been leading backpacking trips for my university during the school year for two whole years.
In my role as a nurse, I have learned that I have to compensate for my short stature.
I wear heels…every day.
When I walk in a room, I stand tall, ready to do the best treatment possible. And even though I believe trust is earned, not granted, I find that I have to prove my credentials with my patients and my supervisors much more often than my taller counterparts.
Now I’m in my 30’s, I’m married, and I feel like the goal has shifted to staying healthy.
Consistent, gentle workouts keep my knee from causing me pain on a daily basis, and also improves my mental health. Even though the voices I mentioned earlier still haunt me, my point of view on them has shifted. Even though I still feel like I have to work harder than my taller counterparts to get noticed, I know I am enough and I know I can do almost anything I set my mind to.
I have had to work harder than many to get respect in my field and in my daily life, but the inherent confidence I have in myself now is unshakable.
Through the years I have learned that I’m not perfect, and I never have been. But I also learned that I am enough, just the way I am.
And while it was hard work to learn to love myself, I hope everyone may feel this way someday.